- WSL / John Ferguson

The World Surf League (WSL) is back on the East Coast for the Ron Jon Quiksilver and Roxy Pro, a Qualifying Series (QS) 1,000-level event, and Junior Pro events. This event was the last to run in 2020 before contests came to a halt and now is back with a special upgrade, adding a women's QS event for the first time since its inception in 2013. A solid forecast on hand could provide great opportunity to start the event and give competitors a platform to showcase their high-caliber talents.

Zoe Benedetto (USA) at the Jacksonville Super Girl Surf Pro on November 13, 2021. Florida's own Zoe Benedetto has a brilliant track record in her home state only lacks a win to her resume. - WSL / Kurt Steinmetz

Former Roxy Junior Pro finalist. and Palm City, Florida's own Zoe Benedetto already has one WSL East Coast win under her belt in the Outer Banks and comes into this event looking for a second. This marks the 16-year-old's sixth time competing at the Pro Junior level and has notched two Finals appearances, but now Benedetto has the opportunity to contest at the QS level close to home.

"Having a QS 1,000 right down the road is so comforting too me," said Benedetto. "It just gives me that extra comfortable level and confidence to do my best and push my hardest. Just looking forward to having fun too maybe get some shaved ice after (laughs). I love this event because it's way closer to home than everywhere else and it's always super fun. I'm looking forward too it and I'm always giving my all looking for that win."

But, Benedetto will have her hands full with the likes of 4x WSL Champion, wildcard, Lisa Andersen, former, two-time Roxy Junior Pro victors Caitlin Simmers and Alyssa Spencer, along with former Championship Tour (CT) competitor and recent SLO CAL Open at Morro Bay victor Sage Erickson, current North America No. 4 Sawyer Lindblad, and more.

Kade Matson (USA) Kade Matson's consistency throughout the 2021/22' season pushed him atop the North America rankings following Dominican Republic. - WSL / Wolf Photographe

Returning to Cocoa Beach for the first time in two years, the men's Ron Jon Quiksilver Pro and Junior Pro are back with some of North America's best. Ther rankings shook following the Cabarete Pro powered by Carambola Surf House with Kade Matson and Nolan Rapoza having a share of No. 1 at 2,150 points. Matson's Quarterfinal appearance in Dominican Republic notched his fourth of the season along with Rapoza's consistent finals day appearances.

"Yeah it definitely feels good to be number one and have some room," said Matson. "My goal coming into this year was to finish at number one so heading into the back couple events there is feeling good. I'll definitely look to better my results here as I feel this event is a strong suit for me. Winning this event before gives you confidence," added Matson. "Especially knowing I'm such a big guy and i can still move in small stuff, but yeah I'm looking forward to getting through some heats here."

Nolan Rapoza (USA) winning his Round One heat at the Ron Jon Quiksilver Pro QS 1,000. Rapoza is no stranger to Cocoa Beach, but hasn't competed at Shepard Beach Park since 2018. - WSL / John Ferguson

"It's a huge deal for me to be in that top spot because there are so many insane surfers in North America," said Rapoza. "It definitely helps reduce stress going into the last two events. But, the job is still not done."

Watch: Ron Jon Quiksilver and Roxy Pro Is Back
A two-year hiatus due to COVID-19 is over and some of North America's top-tier talents return to Cocoa Beach, Florida beginning March 9 - 13.

Though, Matson and Rapoza will have to deal with defending event winner Kei Kobayashi and defending Ron Jon Quiksilver Junior Pro Jabe Swierkocki, along with a plethora of decorated QS elite threats such as Evan Geiselman, Michael Dunphy, Noah Schweizer, Josh Burke, and more.

"It feels great to be back here in Cocoa beach," said Swierkocki. "Waves were super fun this morning, and it feels good coming into this event with experience and comfort from the last event here two years ago. Looking forward to get this thing started"

For more information, please visit www.WorldSurfLeague.com.

A 7:30 a.m. EST call will determine a likely 8:00 a.m. EST start for opening day of competition.

The Ron Jon Quiksilver and Roxy Pro QS 1,000, and Junior Pro will run at Shepard Beach Park, Cocoa Beach, Florida beginning March 9 - 13.

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