Encinitas surfers compete in WSL Qualifying Series

Encinitas surfer Ella McCaffray.
(WSL/RunAmuck Photography)

Encinitas surfers Ella McCaffray and Levi Slawson are putting in strong performances on the World Surf League Qualifying Series circuit.

On the women’s side at the SLO CAL Open at Morro Bay on Feb. 24-27, McCaffray turned in one of the upsets of the event, advancing to the semifinals and eliminating North America No. 2 Caitlin Simmers and wildcard threat Zoe Benedetto. McCaffray’s aggressive forehand led the way to securing her win before a battle in the quarterfinals. She would finish in third place.

“The surf’s so fun out there, the waves have gotten a lot better in the last few days,” said McCaffray, 18, in a news release. “I’m definitely looking to get the best result I can and get back into the Challenger Series. I know I need a couple good results and this is looking like it could be just that.”

Levi Slawson surfs at the Cabrete Pro in the Dominican Republic.
(Courtesy WSL/ Wolf Photography)

Encinitas’ Levi Slawson, fresh off a runner-up finish at the SLO CAL Open Pismo Beach, showed near-perfection in his Round of 32 heat with a turn-to-lofty air-reverse combination, turning in a 9.25 (out of a possible 10). The North America No. 5 would earn a back-to-back quarterfinal appearance, finishing fifth.

At the Cabarete Pro in the Dominican Republic on March 3-6, Slawson
decimated the lineup with a ferocious backhand attack to post a 9.00 (out of a possible 10) and 16.15 (out of a possible 20) heat total. Slawson continues to find his footing in a WSL jersey this season and has his eyes set on another finals day appearance.

“That wave felt great and before I paddled in I just took a deep breath,” said Slawson in a news release. “I’m stoked to get that first heat out of the way and I love it here in Dominican.”

Slawson then went on to make it through to the Round of 16 however, the 19-year-old’s run came to a halt in one of the more heavily stacked heats of the event.

He now looks for another result at the Ron Jon Quiksilver Pro in Cocoa Beach, Florida on March 9-13.