PUERTO ESCONDIDO, Mexico – Campaigners looking to establish themselves on the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Qualifying Series (WQS) and big-wave barrel hunters are gearing up to compete in the inaugural ASP WQS 3-Star Quiksilver Puerto Escondido Pro at the infamous break of Playa Zicatela, or the Mexican Pipeline, which will run from August 12 through 19, 2009.
Surfers competing on the ASP WQS are out to gain the valuable ratings points on offer towards qualification for the 2009 ASP World Tour, with only 15 surfers advancing from the grueling series on to the prestigious ASP Dream Tour each following year. Once qualified, surfers earn the right to battle the world’s finest 45 competitive surfers in an attempt to claim the title of ASP World Champion.
Angelo Lozano (Playa Zicatela, MEX), 22, will be leading the mass of local talent bred at the heavy beachbreak and is the top Mexican seed competing in this year’s Quiksilver Pro Puerto Escondido. The hard-charging surfer claimed an ASP WQS 3-Star event in front of his home crowd in November last year, marking his career-best performance, and now the young Mexican is hungry for a repeat win.
“Winning at Puerto last year was the best competitive result of my career,” Lozano said. “It has really helped me out and a lot has come from that result for me. Winning again would be pretty amazing!”
Since Lozano is competing in front of his home break, there is more at stake than the ratings points towards qualification for the ASP Dream Tour, but also the important opportunity to donate a strong performance in front of his local crowd. Lozano is also out to utilize his local knowledge to navigate him through the intimidating power held by Playa Zicatela.
“It feels great competing at home and you just have this sense of relief,” Lozano said. “Since you know the wave, it gives you more confidence in the way that you surf it and you feel you can beat almost anybody if you get the waves.”
The hungry competitor is now amidst a full push towards eventual qualification for the ASP World Tour and is dedicated to earning the precious ratings points towards qualification for his chance to join the elite. Lozano has mapped out a four-year plan that includes a full attack on The Grind in an attempt to achieve his goal.
“I am out to qualify for the ASP World Tour,” Lozano said. “Last year was my introduction to the WQS and it was great to win an event of the ‘QS in my first year. I´m planning on competing full on for the next four years and hope to achieve my goal by then.”
Lozano’s repeat performance will be no easy task however, as he will have to battle an international field of talent including big wave legend Peter Mel (Santa Cruz, CA), 39, Hawaiian free surfing standout Clay Marzo (Maui, HI), 20, and Hawaiian junior talent Tyler Newton (Kauai, HI), 19, as well as current ASP World No. 22 Tim Reyes (Huntington Beach, CA), 27.