Competition Blazes Through Opening Day at Vans Surf Open Acapulco presented by Corona

Courtesy of WSL North America

  • Anthony Fillingim Drops Near-Perfection In Both Rounds 2 and 3
  • Mixed Emotions of Jubilation and Heartbreak For Mexican Contingent
  • Early Upsets Plague First Day Of Competition 
  • More Available At
CAPTION: Costa Rica’s Anthony Fillingim unleashed near-perfection in both his Round 2 and 3 heats starting with this 9.17.
CREDIT: © WSL / Nichols

PLAYA REVOLCADERO, Acapulco/Mexico (Friday, July 12, 2019) – A scorching day of competition pushed through Rounds 1, 2, and 3 to start the World Surf League (WSL) men’s Qualifying Series (QS) Vans Surf Open Acapulco QS 1,000 presented by Corona. Clean, three-to-four, occasional plus, foot swell pulsed through the morning hours before the winds increased to challenge competitors in the afternoon. Now, only 16 remain heading into an action-packed weekend with an increase of swell on the way to push surfer’s performances even further.

Upsets began early and frequent starting in Round 3 after Matheus Navarro (BRA) helped eliminate an in-form Crosby Colapinto (San Clemente, Calif.) after the Brasilian already took a win in Round 2. Mexican contender Dylan Southworth sealed Colapinto’s elimination, but it was Navarro who took over both of his heats in today’s affairs. Navarro’s return to the QS after a brief hiatus due to a lack of sponsorship has been nothing short of prominent with two wins, in Florida and Argentina, already to name but knows the work to achieve his dream is far from done.

Caption: Navarro came well-equipped with an air-game of his own in the building conditions.
Credit: WSL/ Nichols

“I’m really happy to make it through two heats and to be back here in Acapulco,” Navarro said. “I competed here in its first few years of running and I love it here. Between the hotel we stay in to the waves it’s amazing and the beach break reminds me of home which gives me a sense of comfort. With my two wins this year it’s helped put me in a good place for getting a seed into the QS 10,000s and I wanted to make sure I kept that spot by coming here. I’ve seen there’s supposed to some more swell coming tomorrow so I’m excited for that.”

Caption: Fillingim’s ability to combine major maneuvers earned him his near-perfection. 
Credit: WSL/ Nichols

Current North America No. 1 Noah Schweizer (USA) put on the first dominant display with a 15.83 (out of a possible 20) heat total utilizing his forehand aerial and powerful attack but couldn’t find his rhythm in Round 3 and was added to the list of upstes that include Mexico’s Jhony Corzo, former North America Regional Winner Kilian Garland (Ventura, California), Dylan Hord (Huntington Beach, Calif.), Nick Marshall (Encinitas, Calif.), and Hawaii’s Cody Young.

Anthony Fillingim (CRI) stole the show with a near-perfect 9.17 (out of a possible 10) after soaring through an air-reverse in Round 2 Heat 6. But, the Costa Rican wasn’t done yet and displayed his ability to also launch on his backhand for another near-perfect 9.00 in Round 3 to seal up a brilliant start to competition. The 25-year-old has his goals set for the rest of 2019 and could make them a reality with more performances such as today’s.

“It’s been four years since I’ve been back to Acapulco and to be here again feels great,” Fillingim said. “I’ve been hanging out with all the Mexican surfers and they’re like my brothers so it makes it feel like home I think. I went for an air in that Round 3 heat just before my 9 and fell so I had to tell myself that I had it. I’m just trying to get points and move up into a spot that gets me in the QS 6,000s but also prepare for the Pan Am games later this month so this is a great warm up for that as well.”

Caption: Alan Cleland (MEX) found his early form once more in Acapulco with a clutch Round 3 heat win.
Credit: WSL/ Nichols

There were mixed emotions on the beach for Mexican surfers with many of their key competitors making their way into Round 4 but the loss of Corzo, former event Quarterfinalist Jafet Ramos, top-seeded surfer Oscar Perez, and Angelo Lozano were heavy blows. But, one of the country’s upcoming athletes Alan Cleland was able to pull a heat together in the final stages of his Round 3 battle and take a win with his near-excellent 7.67. The 17-year-old joins Southworth and Adrian Rodriguez (MEX) as the last three remaining Mexicans vying for this year’s victory.

“I didn’t’ get a good wave until the last ten minutes I felt like so I’m just psyched to get through,” Cleland said. “This is probably the most focused I’ve been for an event just being the only QS in Mexico and I always love surfing here. When you see the swell building up like it is, it gets the butterflies going knowing that there could be some good barrels out here and hopefully I can get far into this one.”

Caption: Sam Coffey led the way for his fellow Santa Cruz natives to earn a for a few more heat wins.
Credit: WSL/ Nichols
Santa Cruz, California, was well-represented throughout opening day in Acapulco with victories from Sam Coffey, Ben Coffey, and John Mel – as well as an advancing spot for Shaun Burns. Mel remains the lone contender who can dismantle Schweizer from the No. 1 spot to takeover a place in the Vans US Open of Surfing trials and did so with a heat win in the dying seconds. The younger of the Coffey brothers, Sam, went toe-to-toe with Burns in their matchup but a last-ditch effort catapulted him into the lead and on track for his best result of 2019.

“I’ve been traveling a lot more this year getting to Israel, Australia, and also Europe which has been amazing and it’s great to be back here in Acapulco,” Coffey said. “You just have to be ready for the heat. We’ve just been staying cool in the hotel, drinking lots of water and then you just have to surf a smart heat. I just got back from an ankle injury last week so I felt a little tentative but glad to throw a few airs and know it’s not going to blow out. Between my brother Ben, Shaun, and John we always seems to have each other in the same heat, at least one of us will, but it’s always great to surf against them.”
Event organizers will reconvene at 7:30am CDT for an 8:00am CDT start to Round 4 action.
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The Vans Surf Open Acapulco pres. by Corona will run July 12 -14 at Playa Revolcadero, Acapulco, Mexico, in front of the Princess Imperial Hotel.
About the WSL  The World Surf League (WSL) is dedicated to celebrating the world’s best surfing on the world’s best waves through a variety of best-in-class audience platforms. The organization, headquartered in Santa Monica, is a global sport with regional offices in Australasia, Africa, North America, South America, Hawaii, Japan and Europe. The WSL has been championing the world’s best surfing since 1976, annually running more than 180 global events across the Men’s and Women’s Championship Tours, the Big Wave Tour, Qualifying Series, Junior and Longboard Championships, as well as the WSL Big Wave Awards. The League possesses a deep appreciation for the sport’s rich heritage while promoting progression, innovation and performance at the highest levels, and in doing so crowns the undisputed Men’s and Women’s World Champions across all tours. Showcasing the world’s best surfing on its digital platform at, the WSL has a passionate global fan base with millions tuning in to see world-class athletes like Kelly Slater, Stephanie Gilmore, Tyler Wright, John Florence, Lakey Peterson, Paige Alms, Kai Lenny, Steven Sawyer, Soleil Errico, Carissa Moore, Gabriel Medina, Courtney Conlogue and more battle on the most dynamic field of play of any global sport. For more information, please visit

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