The stage is set and competition now awaits the opening horn at the Rincon Surf Fest WSL North America Longboard Championships beginning November 15 - 17 at Domes, Rincon, Puerto Rico.
Some of the region's top up-and-coming talents join seasoned veterans at the iconic venue with a backup site of Maria's for competitors to showcase their capabilities. Last year marked a historic, 50 year celebration of the World Longboard Championships held in Rincon and event organizers have ensured its return to provide a crucial capstone for regional competitors to earn their place among the Longboard Tour (LT) in 2020.
The Champs Are Here: Defending Event Champs Return
Both Maria Fernanda Reyes and Tony Silvagni are back to defend their 2018 event titles, Silvagni his North America Longboard Regional Title as well, after Reyes earned her first-ever WSL longboard victory. The Peruvian may not have claimed a Regional Title in the process, competing in the South America region, but that made no difference as she earned a maiden chair-up the beach from her fellow countrymen. It's been a tough year for Reyes on the LT as she currently sits at No. 34 and looks to close out 2019 with a great finish once more.
"Returning to Puerto Rico is amazing. It's like being at home because I'm so well received by all the locals and they feel like family. I'm excited to return to such a magical place," said Reyes. "It was something incredible. I just want to have fun surfing and enjoy the beautiful place. I think it's the fourth time I've come back and I can't wait for the moment to be there. It will also be amazing to see all the familiar faces and people I've grown close to over the years here. It's so special and I look forward to another great contest at a fun wave like Domes and Maria's."
Local and Regional Contenders Ready For Their Debut
This event helped do just for the likes of Steven McLean who returns in hopes of claiming a maiden victory. McLean will have to deal with the likes of Silvagni and a slew of talents to make that dream a reality but the Floridian is more than prepared for the task at hand after traveling to each of the Longboard Tour events in 2019 - including the New York Longboard Classic and Galacia Longboard Classic.
"Puerto Rico stands out to me as the ‘Hawaii of the East' and my first real trip out of Florida was to Rincon," recalls McLean. "The quality of the waves changed my perspective. Walking away with a big result or win here would be special being my first WSL event win and at a location I've been coming to for many years and for years to come. It would give me a great deal of confidence knowing I'm on the right track to getting great results on the 2020 LT."
Included in that slew of talents are local competitors Melvin Soto and Robert Ferrer who hope to claim a win and keep the title on home soil this year. Soto faced early elimination last year with every intention of finding redemption to make his compatriots proud after already redeeming himself from troublesome teen years. The now 31-year-old enjoys simple living on his home island to make his income and embodies the true nature of Puerto Rico's hardworking, life-loving culture.
"It means a lot to have the WSL recognize Puerto Rico and to help support surfing in Rincon - it gives local surfers a chance to compete without expenses," Soto said. "Many of the other surfers have more competition experience but the home crowd cheering us on really helps us try to win. I would love to get a good result or even try to get a win and qualify for the 2020 Longboard Tour."
Event organizers will convene at 7:00am AST to determine a possible start for either men or women's Round 1 action.
The Rincon Surf Fest WSL North America Longboard Championships will run on the best conditions beginning November 15 - 17 at Domes, Rincon, Puerto Rico, with a backup venue of Maria's. This event is supported by VoyTuris Teando, Puerto Rico Tourism Company, Sun Bum, El Coqui of Rincon, The Tourism Association of Rincon, Rincon Events, Municipio de Rincon, Island West Properties, Playa Bowls, Isabella Sangria Artesanal, Don Q Rum, Maria's, The Green Room, Roots Restaurant, Mar Azul Surf Shop, Department de Recursos Naturels y Ambientles, Cape Air, Lazy Parrot, Jack's Shack, Villa Cofresi, DRD, COOP Rincon, Queviva, Ricomini, and Surfrider Foundation.