The World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) is preparing for the return of what many regard as the most high-performance event on tour. Following a two-year hiatus, the 2015 Oakley Lowers Pro is back on the Qualifying Series, and a stacked field of 96 of the world's best surfers are confirmed to compete. Twenty-three Championship Tour (CT) competitors, alongside the top QS campaigners will be in Southern California from April 28th - May 2nd tearing apart the famed cobblestone point-break of Lower Trestles in San Clemente, Calif.
The Oakley Lowers Pro is the first of nine QS10000 events on the 2015 WSL QS. As the highest rated of all the QS events, this event will set the stage for early 2016 Championship Tour qualification campaigns, that will ultimately culminate at the end of the year in Hawaii. With 10,000 qualifying points for the win and a $250,000 total prize purse, the Oakley Lowers Pro is sure to be an impressive display of high-performance surfing.
Included in the list of CT competitors are current World #1 Filipe Toledo, current World #2 Julian Wilson (AUS), 2014 Hurley Pro at Trestles Champion Jordy Smith (ZAF), San Clemente's local hero Kolohe Andino (USA) and 2011 Lowers Pro Champion Miguel Pupo (BRA).
Smith, who's originally from Durban, South Africa, has recently taken up residence in San Clemente, and is very much looking forward to putting on a competition jersey again at Lowers. Following his win last September at the Hurley Pro at Trestles, a CT event, he's more than excited to compete in a QS event.
"It would mean so much to win this event," said Smith. "I love competing on the QS; the guys are really hungry and always keep you on your toes. It's exciting that Oakley is giving these guys an opportunity to compete at Lowers again, because it really is one of the best waves for a contest. It's one of the ultimate high-performance waves and because of that, a great venue to showcase all the talent on the QS. A huge thanks to Oakley for bringing this event back."
The event marks Oakley's first title sponsorship at the top tier of the QS. Having been a major sponsor of the WSL Junior Series in recent years, including the Oakley Pro Junior at Lowers, the Southern California-based action sports brand is excited to be taking the reigns at surfing's high-performance center, Lower Trestles.
"Oakley has a long history at Lower Trestles and we're excited to be back at this esteemed surf break to host some of the world's best surfers in our own backyard," said Cuan Petersen, Oakley's Director of Global Sports Marketing. "Lowers is a perfect canvas for innovative, high-performance surfing, which makes for an ideal competitive venue. And, while it can be a picturesque wave, it's a difficult one to master. It's definitely a place that differentiates the good from the great. We're looking forward to kicking off the competition at the 2015 Oakley Lowers Pro."
For the first time ever at Trestles, the Oakley Lowers Pro will feature the new WSL three and four man Priority Rules. Competition on the famous peak at Lowers is renowned for interference issues for the competitors. In 2014, the WSL adapted the Priority Rules from the CT's two-man heat format, and introduced a new system that applies in three and four-man heats.
"Using the priority system for the last year has been amazing, the three and four man heats were a nightmare for the competitors at times, especially at venues with a set take off spot like Lower Trestles," said QS Commissioner Travis Logie. "It makes the results in those heats more performance based by almost completely eliminating the hassling factor. The playing field becomes fairer, with wave choice and surfing ability determining the victors."
The Oakley Lowers Pro will feature an HD-quality live webcast with video coverage and scoring for all five days of competition that can be viewed at www.oakleylowerspro.com.