The World Surf League (WSL) Men's Qualifying Series (QS) contingent will take to the shores of Mexico once again in 2019 for the inaugural Oaxaca Pro presented by Corona beginning October 17 - 20. This marks the first time mainland Mexico will host two events since 2011 and provide competitors more opportunity toward regional, and international, points. The event is set to be held at the renowned stretch of sound known as Puerto Escondido.
The beach break is known for its big wave capacity and is open to any direction of swell, making it an ideal running place for the maiden event.
Native Puerto Escondido Contingent Revel
A crew of local Puerto Escondido competitors are reveling in the opportunity to contest for 1,500 points at home. One of Mexico's top performers Jhony Corzo looks to rebound from a tough 2019 season in home waters after an equal 17th at the Vans Surf Open Acapulco and 65th in Virginia Beach. The former ISA Gold Medalist will join fellow natives Sebastian Williams and Angelo Lozano as they represent their hometown.
"It feels incredible to have this event back at my hometown," Corzo said. "I remember that I used to always watch and support my brother Angelo Lozano and cousin Christian Corzo at this QS event. It was insane watching all the international surfers compete at my home and feel all the amazing vibes from the crowd at the beach. I always kept saying to myself that I hoped this event would keep running so I could get prepared and when that moment comes I would be ready to compete in it next to my brother and international competitors. Finally that moment is here and I feel so honored and motivated to be part of my first ever QS at my home playground."
William's successful Pro Junior career, including a maiden WSL victory, concluded last season and now he finds himself looking to bring that experience to the world stage. The 19-year-old spent time between home and South Africa honing his talent and also earned his best QS result at the Buffalo City Surf Pro in 2017 with an equal third but has yet to match that result since. Now Williams can capitalize at home and showcase his potential in a place of comfort in his first full year on the QS. "It means a lot especially since it'll only cost me a couple bucks in gas to get to the event instead of a plane ticket out of the country (laughs)," William said. "But in all seriousness competing is fun and competing in front of your friends is even better. But to be able to compete at home in front of the friends that rarely get to see me compete will be even more special.
"I haven't had a full year on the QS yet since I only hurt myself at the end of last year," Williams added. "I think after the Oaxaca Pro I'll have a better idea on how my year has gone. I've definitely learned that the ones having the most fun on the QS are the ones doing well! And it almost looks like a freesurf with a jersey on."
For many Central American surfers, competing around the world can be difficult without the support of sponsors and they have to rely on nearby events to make a name for themselves. For Lozano, 32, that was the case but when he wasn't in the jersey, he was taking on maxing Puerto Escondido and continued making appearances when the WSL comes to Mexico and doing his part to mix it up with some of the region's top threats. Though he's begun transitioning out of the QS competition mindset, Lozano is no stranger to the jersey and leaves everything in the water - especially when it becomes life or death in XXL days at home.
"It's really great to finally have a QS again in Puerto after a long wait," Lozano said. "Hopefully this one will stay for years to come. There's a new generation of very good Zicatela surfers that will also get a chance to perform at this level right at home which is a great opportunity. Also, I think it's great for the QS to have Puerto back on board because I know a lot of friends that do the QS are stoked to be back. Puerto is one of the most consistent waves in the world, so even a bad day of waves here it's a good one almost anywhere else. We feel more confident competing in waves that we know so for those of us that are looking to better our QS ranking this is it."
Event director Gustavo Duccini and his team are taking the success of three-straight years of the Surf Open Acapulco QS 1,000 to continue opening doors for the Mexican contingent as many look to get their careers started or regain their points among the QS elite.
"Just as this event was achieved in 2011, today we are very happy to be able to develop this type of WSL event through the Surf Open League platform," Duccini said. "We hope to be able to hold two more events next year, totaling four WSL events and keep building history. We'd love for surfers who come from other countries to be part of this Mexican surf history as we build Oaxaca as a surfing capital."
The Oaxaca Pro QS 1,500 presented by Corona will begin October 17 - 20 at Puerto Escondido.