Nearly every year since 2012, the Surf Open Acapulco has provided a platform for Mexican surfers to compete alongside upcoming QS threats from around the world since 2012 -- and Puerto Escondido local Jhony Corzo is gearing up for the 2018 Hurley Surf Open Acapulco 2018 July 20 - 22.

The 19-year-old is still looking to breakthrough on the Qualifying Series (QS) level, with a Quarterfinal result as his best in his young career, but showed he has what it takes to face some of the world's best. Last summer, Corzo went head-to-head with second-year Championship Tour (CT) surfer Joan Duru in the ISA World Surfing Games Final and emerged victorious, earning Mexico's first-ever Gold medal in surfing.

Since then, Corzo's been back on the QS grind and learning every step of the way. WSL caught up with one of Mexico's top upcoming QS threats before competition ensues Friday.

Jhonny Corzo (MEX) winning  his Round Two heat at the WRV Outer Banks Pro QS1,000 pres. by Pacifico. Corzo's backhand attack has proven to be one of his strong suits when needed most, earning him a few big heat wins around the world. - WSL / John Ferguson

World Surf League: What does this event mean to you and your fellow countrymen?
Jhony Corzo: It's a great motivation for a lot of the local and Mexican surfers since it's one of the few events we have to get a chance to compete with some of the best QS surfers from around the region -- and even a few internationals. This event also gives us an opportunity at some points which are super important for us to get a footing on the QS.

Also, I think it helps local surfers to see where we are at with what type of talent we have.

A pre-event press conference was held with the Secretary of Tourism, the Surf Open Acapulco President, and QS competitors before tomorrow's start. Last year's Surf Open Acapulco garnered great reception from the press, providing a platform for Mexican surfers to showcase their talents to. - WSL / Andrew Nichols

How well do events like these provide exposure and experience?
I think it's important to keep this event going every year because it's a good chance for Mexicans to prove to the crowd the level of surfing we're at and see what kind of potential we have. It's a great opportunity to get recognized on the international level as well. I think we have the talent, and the waves, to make this type of event bigger and start more events around Mexico. I hope we get more events every year.

You've been a full-time QS competitor for two years, what have you learned so far?
It's a long learning process that can be pretty frustrating at times when you have to travel to every event and then lose in the first round. It's tough and you want to give up at times, but it's important to not get down on yourself and just learn from your mistakes to improve. This is a long career type sport and you have to enjoy it, that's the most important thing.

Jhonny Corzo From rippable breaks around the world, to barrel hunting in Siargo, Corzo is making his way through the ranks. - WSL / Tom Bennett

I'm very fortunate to be able to surf and travel as my job so I don't take anything for granted. It can be easy to get caught up in the moment when you lose and forget how lucky we are, which makes you want it that much more.

Jhonny Corzo The 19-year-old has his ambitions, and his stoke, always high. - WSL / Tom Bennett

What something you take away from each event moving forward?
You have to be confident in yourself and feel that you have the potential to do anything. This year especially, I've felt a lot more confident on my boards and in heats which makes me feel that I'm getting on even ground with a lot of competitors. When you first start out at these events you're really nervous, but now I'm more comfortable out there and I think that comes with time for a lot of us.

The Hurley Surf Open Acapulco QS 1,000 begins July 20 - 22 at Playa Revolcadero, Acapulco, Mexico.

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