The World Surf League (WSL) Men's Qualifying Series (QS) is back on the shores of Playa Zicatela, Mexico, for the first time since 2011 for the Oaxaca Pro QS 1,500 pres. by Corona beginning October 17-20. Some of the area's top competitors join North America's contenders at one of the world's most renowned beach breaks to battle for 1,500 crucial points toward their 2019 qualification campaigns. A solid forecast is on the horizon with six-to-eight foot swell already showing prior to the event's start.
North America QS Title Race Comes to Puerto Escondido
No stranger to bigger conditions, Santa Cruz, California's, John Mel comes into this event hunting a big result to stay in the North America Regional QS Title race behind current No. 1 Noah Schweizer. The 19-year-old has proven himself in waves of consequence, surfing at waves such as Mavericks, California, and El Gringo, Chile, and thrives when conditions prove critical. Mel knows what he must accomplish here in Puerto Escondido but returns to the iconic beach break with fond memories and good mindset.
"I used to come to Puerto every summer with my family and some other friends from Santa Cruz so it's sick to have a contest here," Mel said. "I caught some of my first waves here with my dad on the inside whitewashes so it's super cool to come back after a few years and enjoy the place again - it has a special place in my heart. I'm looking forward to having fun and trying to get barreled. I'll have to make the Final to better points I believe, so I'm not really gonna put pressure on myself to do that and my main goal of this trip is to get barreled."
Southworth Brothers Set to Compete Alongside Countrymen
Joining a plethora of Puerto Escondido natives Dylan and Travis Southworth will don a WSL jersey once more after their appearances at the Surf Open Acapulco - this time a little closer to home. The brothers, Sayulita, Mexico, natives, join the Mexican talents on hand to try and hold a QS title on home soil for the first time in the WSL era. For Dylan, 29, the opportunity to compete in two events close to home means more than just experience.
"It's so cool to have two QS events this year in Mexico," Southworth said. "Acapulco is always fun but Puerto Escondido holds its own and is for sure the most sought after and well-respected wave in Mexico. All the competitors from far and wide want to be in this event and get a crack at the win. It's always nice to compete against the top surfers and push yourself a little more in every heat. If the waves are pumping it's anyone's game but guaranteed everyone will score epick waves."
The younger of the Southworth competitive duo, Travis, continues to find his footing in competitions - getting his experience in the Mexican Surf Open League circuit that offers competitors a chance to earn prize money for bigger events. Now, the 26-year-old looks to capitalize and make his presence known as he did in Acapulco last season.
"It's a golden opportunity for us Mexican surfers to showcase our potential against some of the top QS surfers and have a great time doing it at such a spectacular break," Travis said. "We're looking forward to many more events like this next year and want to thank Gustavo, as well as the WSL crew for this chance."
Event organizers will convene at 7:00am CDT for a possible 7:15am start to Round 1.
The Oaxaca Pro QS 1,500 pres. by Corona will run October 17-20 at Puerto Escondido, Mexico.