World Surf League is proud to announce its 2016 European Qualifying Series, twelve events taking some of the best up-and-coming surfers across Israel, Spain, the Caribbean, Portugal, France, England, Morocco and the Azores.
While the regional season is well underway with already three events completed since its inception in January at the Pro Netanya, through the Basque Country with the Pro Zarautz and more recently the epic second edition of the Martinique Surf Pro, summer will definitely focus the QS world's attention with its traditional long leg of back-to-back events.
Surfers will next meet at the inaugural Pro A Coruña, the first European Surf Festival of its kind, mixing men and women athletes from all divisions in QS, Longboard QS and Junior QS combined events from July 5-10 in A Coruña, the second largest city of Galicia nested in the far-western tip of Spain.
Athletes will then take their act a little further down the coast, for the Santa Cruz Pro in Portugal, a beautiful quieter beach in between the highly frequented surf meccas of Peniche and Ericeira. Both men and women will compete in a new QS/1,000 from July 20-24, as the very last warm-up run before the back-to-back seven events of August and September.
A long-standing European event returning to the Qualifying Series this year, Stop N°6 will see surfers fight it out in the birthplace of British surfing, Fistral beach, during the Boardmasters, Cornwall. One of the UK's largest music festivals, the Boardmasters have a long history going back to the 1980's of hosting surfing and skateboarding competitions. In 2016, in addition to the longboarding divisions, Boardmasters will again host Europe's best QS contenders at Fistral.
Following a highly successful first edition held in classic conditions last year, the Pro Anglet will play host to Stop N°8, with again a men and women's QS/1,500 at la Chambre d'Amour from August 23-28. The event will also feature young talents, with the event wildcards given to the recent winners of the Junior Pro Biscarrosse, Titouan Boyer (MAF) and Ariane Ochoa. Anglet will be the last French event before the annual showdown of the Quiksilver and Roxy Pro France in October.
Moving on to the Iberian Peninsula, surfers will experience the wild and powerful conditions of ‘la factoría de olas' for the 29th annual Pantin Classic Galicia Pro from August 30 - September 4. This season, Pantin upgrades its men division to host a combined QS/6,000 event that will see some of the World's best surfers fight it out for the highly precious ranking points on offer and prize-purse.
From Pantin, heading South-West across the Atlantic, surfers will then hop onto the Azores archipelago for the Azores Airlines Pro pres. by Sumol, a men's QS/6,000 and women's QS/3,000 on the idyllic Sao Miguel island from September 6-11. A new addition this season, the women division will see some of the world's most talented athletes compete again in Azores for the first time since 2012.
The following week from September 13-18, Morocco will host its second consecutive Qualifying Series event at the Quiksilver & Roxy Pro Casablanca, adding a women's division as well. Co-sanctioned by Africa and Europe, the event will awards regional ranking points to surfers from both regions.
Finally, the European Qualifying Series will come to an end in Cascais, Portugal at the men's QS/10,000 Cascais Billabong Pro, featuring the very best of the QS crowd alongside the Elite Top17 women athletes for an intense 9-day of high-performance surfing action and sideshow entertainment.
This season-long leg of events will offer a diverse choice of waves and conditions across the Old Continent to help the next generation of professional athletes gain experience on their way to the Championship Tour elite events.
The European Champions will again be decided based on their best rankings in all events excluding the QS/6,000 and QS/10,000 categories, favoriting the up-and-coming talents and dedicated regional surfers. Perks for the winners include a wildcard into all the major events of the following season worldwide.
This season, another highly coveted prize will be awarded to the highest-ranked French male surfer on the international Qualifying Series after the Cascais Billabong Pro, as a wildcard into the Quiksilver Pro France is up-for-grabs.