The shores of Los Cabos welcome back the World Surf League (WSL) Women's Qualifications Series (QS) and, for the first time, opens its arms to both the Women's and Men's Junior Tour.
Hurricane Blanca passed through Los Cabos over the weekend with little impact, as its force weakened drastically approaching the Baja Peninsula. However, the storm's leftovers will leave plenty of fun swell to be had for the competitors and all of them are looking forward to a great week.
Coco Ho (HAW) returns to Los Cabos in search of a back-to-back title after an incredible performance at Zippers last year. Dropping only one heat en route to her victory, Ho looks to stay on top of this competition with fond memories of the wave. "Coming back as defending champion is definitely exciting," Ho said. "It brings that little bit of extra fire that I need to want to back it up. It was so consistent and so fun with priority I forgot I was even competing and that's always when I do my best."
After a Round 4 exit in Fiji just last week on the WSL Championship Tour (CT), Ho looks to come back to the QS with the vigor that sparks her competitive spirit. "The QS is much more of a grind and some times that is better for me - as I find myself thinking too much in heats on tour. In the QS it's about just hurrying up and surfing. But Zippers last year being so perfect it all just fell into place."
Malia Manuel (HAW) will make her first appearance at Zippers and is looking forward to what could be on hand after an exciting event last year. "I haven't been to Zippers before," Manuel said. "I watched online last year and it looked so fun. Hopefully Hurricane Blanca will give us some nice waves this week for us."
Coming from the heavy left reef-break of Tavarua, Fiji, Manuel has her mindset set on what she needs to do to perform coming into Los Cabos. "I haven't really experienced back to back events in totally different waves like this before, but I think the most important thing for me would be being prepared with good boards," Manuel said. "I always respect every opponent but I usually just focus on myself and that moment in time. Being on the CT, the level raises every year so I'm always having to push my surfing."
Parker Coffin (USA) is excited to be back in Mexico for the newly added Junior Series and the venue with all its prestige. "I went to the event last year and had such a memorable trip," Coffin said. "I had so much fun surfing and being a tourist. Zippers is an amazing wave and I'm super grateful we are given the opportunity as Juniors to compete there."
Coffin returns to the lineup for the first time since suffering a significant ankle injury nearly three months ago and has been putting in the time to get back in the water. "I have been slowly gaining momentum in the water over the last 3-4 weeks," Coffin said. "I'm waking up at 6 every day and going to gym, and then straight from the gym into surfing for 2-3 hours. I'm feeling better every day and I am really excited to get a jersey back on."
Mahina Maeda (HAW) is fresh off her experience as a wildcard at the 2015 Fiji Women's Pro and is set to put that knowledge into her QS campaign. "The girls are always prepared," Maeda said. "I'm going to learn from my mistake, to have a wide range of boards for each condition to help me battle through heats and having confidence on my boards to ride in each heat. I got to learn from Sally and Carissa and they always had plans if things didn't go as plan, and a good mental game would help me throughout the future."
Maeda will be busy at this event, competing in both the Junior Women's and Women's events as well to keep her surfing at the highest level. "I think the Junior would be great practice for the main event," Maeda said. "My sole purpose is to do good for the QS, but I would love to win the Junior as well. There will be the difference of scratching for waves in the Junior compared to the QS where you can pick and choose your wave. It will be an interesting view."
The contest window opens tomorrow, Tuesday, June 9th with the first call at 10am MDT. Look for the live broadcast later in the week at loscabosopenofsurf.com.