The World Surf League (WSL) Women's Qualifying Series (QS) is back in El Salvador at the world-class righthand pointbreak of Punta Roca, La Libertad for the second edition of the Copa El Salvador Impresionante Women's QS6000. The event window opens tomorrow, June 15 - 19, and the forecast is looking bountiful for some of the world's best female surfers. This event completes the first Latin American leg introduced to the Women's QS and 6,000 more points are up for grabs to help solidify a position into the Top 6 for a chance at qualification into the Samsung Galaxy Women's Championship Tour (CT).
Sage Erickson (USA) returns as defending champion and is ecstatic to be back on the shores of La Libertad. Taking down Keely Andrew (AUS) in the Final helped get her back on track and ultimately earn an equal No. 1 spot on the Women's QS rankings alongside Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW). Erickson will need a good result here once again after an early Round 5 exit at the Los Cabos Open of Surf.
"Winning last year was such an awesome mid-year point for me and hopefully I can still feel that same mojo this year," Erickson said. "You are almost guaranteed a Top 6 finish with a win so it took a lot of pressure off me going into the final stages of my year. I could really enjoy competing and not feel too much pressure."
This event is something special for the Women's QS as a stand-alone contest offering 6,000 points and the lineup to themselves. With the ability to choose the best conditions, spectators will be treated to some incredible surfing over the next few days of competition.
"I love that it gives us girls an opportunity to really show case some high-performance surfing," Erickson added. "It offers a long ride with plenty of sections to open up on. It's also challenging with the rock bottom and hot conditions so I like the obstacles."
Capping off her incredible run at the Copa El Salvador Impresionante with a runner-up last year, Keely Andrew (AUS) has plenty of momentum coming into this event. This was a particularly special event for the Australian as it proved to be the difference for a spot on the CT. Pulling double duty this year as a full-time CT and QS competitor, Andrew is learning what it takes to be a world-class surfer and all that comes with it.
"Last year was my first time to El Salvador and it was really good to get some great waves for the event," Andrew said. "It's a lot of work this year. Since the first QS6000 event at Newcastle it's been full competition mode and double the amount of travel -- as well as number of heats surfed. I still love it though and I'm super grateful to be able to do both tours. I'm treating every heat like it is a CT heat."
WSL North America Tour Manager Brian Robbins has his eyes locked on the forecast and wants to put the women in the best conditions possible. Though with the projected swell coming in, the competitors will have a chance to showcase some of their full potential.
"We're really looking forward to getting this event underway and hopefully get things rolling on the first day of the waiting period," Robbins said. "We know what these women are capable of and, given the chance, can unleash some incredible surfing so we want to give them that opportunity. Punta Roca is a world-class rigthhand pointbreak that reflects conditions similar to J-Bay and Lennox Head, and to have a Women's QS here is incredible."
TUESDAY: Solid SW swell sets up overhead to double overhead waves at well exposed spots as standouts see better sets.
WEDNESDAY: Healthy SW swell peaks with more overhead to double overhead+ surf for good exposures, triple overhead sets for top breaks. Largest in the afternoon.
WEATHER/WIND:Mostly light+ offshore winds for the mornings, followed by light+ to locally moderate afternoon onshores.
Most of the region will see partly to mostly cloudy skies each day. Scattered showers/thunderstorms are possible and keep in mind that passing or nearby showers and thunderstorms can temporarily affect/change local wind conditions.
A 9:30am MDT Call will determine a 10am MDT Start. Look for live updates and scoring throughout the event beginning tomorrow, or download the WSL App to get the information on your mobile device.