- WSL / Andrew Nichols

Opening day of the World Surf League (WSL) SLO CAL Open at Morro Bay hosted by Surfing For Hope, a men's and women's North America Qualifying Series (QS) 1,000, awaits at one of California's Central Coast's gems, Morro Bay. The venue will test competitors' ability to read the deep water, rock-reef break in its cold waters with a mix of solid swell and wind on the forecast. This marks the women's eighth regional event alongside the sixth men's event as the race toward Challenger Series (CS) qualification narrows.

David do Carmo (BRA) Former event runner-up and 2023 Semifinalist David do Carmo returns to challenge the hefty walls of Morro Bay once more. - WSL / RunAmuck Photography

"The Central Coast is fired up to host the 3rd annual SLO CAL Open at Morro Bay," said Event Director Andy McKay. "Morro Rock is one of the most challenging spots on the North American QS schedule. Late February is always cold and ominous and usually has solid swell. To win at Morro Bay, you have to be a well rounded competitor."

Since its inception in 2020, the event continues to bring a live broadcast to showcase some of North America's emerging and veteran talents looking to earn valuable points, and an event title, to their name. And, with the recent SLO CAL Open at Pismo Beach QS 3,000 still fresh in competitors' mindsets, this event offers the opportunity to build on that success, or make up ground lost.

Full Spectrum With Sage Erickson, SLO CAL Open at Morro Bay Defending Victor
Reigning SLO CAL Open at Morro Bay victor Sage Erickson talks all things competitive surfing, new life goals, and her immaculate career memories to share with the next generation.

Former Championship Tour (CT) star Sage Erickson returned to winning form last year at this event with her first WSL victory in three years. The now 32-year-old still maintains the competitive fire to show the next generation what it takes to compete among the world's best, while enjoying the process and keeping the jersey on.

"I've always loved and thrived on surfing in California," said Erickson. "Even though Morro Bay is not my hometown, it's not far from Ventura and I just love being in the cold water, I love the raw element to it. I'm so stoked we have this California series with Pismo and Morro Bay, it's just super cool."

Erickson will take on the likes of former event winner Izzi Gomez, QS threats Autumn Hays, Ella McCaffray, Makena Burke, 2022 Challenger Series competitor Havanna Cabrero, and more.

North America No. 1 Dimitri Poulos Prepared For Next Challenge at Morro Bay
The Ventura, California, competitor is fresh off his SLO CAL Open at Pismo Beach, maiden WSL win, and sets his eyes on Morro Bay.

Ventura, California's Dimitri Poulos surged through the SLO CAL Open at Pismo Beach and now looks to keep that momentum through Morro Bay. The 20-year-old's maiden WSL victory catapulted him atop the North America QS rankings as the former ISA Gold Medalist now looks to solidify his spot within the Top 7 for his chance at the 2023 Challenger Series.

"Honestly I feel like [that win] was a relief and that I know I can do it now which translates to confidence," said Poulos. "I'm feeling good for the rest of the year and definitely learned a lot, but now I'm really excited for Morro Bay. Going into this event, it's the same guys pretty much, and I'm just trying to put that last result out of my head and kind of forget about it in a way." 

A heavily-contested field awaits Poulos in the cold waters of Morro Bay with the likes of returning event victor Kei Kobayashi, 2022 Challenger Series notables Jett Schilling, Nolan Rapoza, Alan Cleland, Crosby Colapinto, and Kade Matson, alongside emerging threats Will Deane, Cannon Carr, Wheeler Hasburgh, and plenty more.

Event organizers will convene at 7:00 a.m. PST to determine a likely 7:30 a.m. PST start to competition.

Watch LIVE The SLO CAL Open at Morro Bay hosted by Surfing For Hope will open on February 23 and hold a competition window through February 26, 2023. Once called ON, the event will be broadcast LIVE on WorldSurfLeague.com, WSL's YouTube channel, and the free WSL app.

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