The World Surf League (WSL) men's North America Qualifying Series (QS) moves from Cocoa Beach, Florida, to the island nation of Dominican Republic for the Cabarete Pro presented by Surf and Wind City Cabarete QS 3,000. The second-consecutive year of competition at Encuentro Beach, Puerto Plata, begins March 15 - 19 with raised stakes from its inaugural, QS 1,000 in 2022 and now provides a momentum-shifting platform for competitors looking to stake their claim for 2023 Challenger Series qualification. But, North America's best will have to deal with explosive, local talents, including defending event victor Manuel Selman with a promising forecast on the horizon.
"We are so excited to host the Cabarete Pro in its second edition, and in general our goal is to expose local surfers professional event and create awareness that Dominican Republic is a surf destination," said Event Director Brian Meija. "The local surfers are excited to surf against some of the best surfers and I'm personally excited because the surf industry will experience Encuentro Beach with the conditions we have. Everyone is pumped on the forecast, buoys are signaling 8-to-12 foot and optimal conditions through the week."
Selman's dream run through the 2022 Cabarete Pro ended in exaltation for himself and the community of Dominican Republic, keeping the first-ever WSL event title on home soil. Now, Selman returns to defend his title at the wave he learned to surf at and keep inspiring the next generation of the island's surfers that are looking to follow his footsteps.
"I can't believe it's been a year, it feels like it happened yesterday," said Selman. "Once again, it's a dream come true, the event is back and upgraded with the government coming through after they loved last year's event. The forecast that I can see right now looks like it's going to be an epic event. The mentality that surfers here have after last year, it was a wake up call seeing all the guys come here, and they've been training really hard so they could be pretty dangerous this year."
A talented local field including the likes of Gian Marco Oliva, Max Self, and more await their chance to earn redemption from early eliminations in 2022. For Oliva, last year's event sparked the Dominican to take on more events and continues to be an early round threat to some of the region's top competitors. Now, he looks to hold firm at home and deliver a big performance for his local community.
"It's really exciting to have this event back and bigger," said Oliva. "There's more money, more points, so I'm really stoked for the first heat. I'm looking forward to surfing in front of my hometown. This has been my first full year on the QS and I really want to make it to the Final here."
But, they will have the all-encompassing, North America contingent returning to the reefs of Encuentro Beach including 2022 runner-up Evan Geiselman, reigning North America QS Regional Champion Michael Dunphy, current No. 1 Dimitri Poulos, recent Ron Jon Quiksilver and ROXY Pro victor Jett Schilling, and many more looking for a big result.
Event organizers will convene at 7:30 a.m. AST for a possible 8:00 a.m. AST start.
The Cabarete Pro presented by Surf and Wind City QS 3,000 will run March 15 - 19 at Encuentro Beach, Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic.