Bryan Lopez Air | Photo by David Haefele (IG)
On January 14th and 15th, Melaque Skim Magia took place at Laguna del Tule, a spot nestled in San Patricio, an area locals often call Melaque. Bryan Lopez, a local from Melaque, took first place in the professional men’s division, and Chabe White of Mazunte, Mexico took the win in the professional women’s division. The contest featured 29 professional riders, with 21 men and 8 women. Riders in attendance included those from Brazil, Portugal, Mexico as well as Delaware, Florida, and California.
This contest was the first time the UST has returned to Mexico since 2015. Further, this is the first international stop ever for the professional women’s division of the UST.
Chabe White Backside Wrap | Photo by David Haefele (IG)
Day one kicked off with a large swell of about 4-7 feet. Clean conditions in the morning provided the best opportunity for the pros. It was evident in the early rounds that the local riders from the Melaque area were clear favorites on their home turf. Pepe Lopez stunned the crowd with huge air drops. Tule scored a solid overhead in-n-out. And Bryan Lopez showed off his clean style with a mix of airs, tricks and casual barrel riding. Yahir Valencia, who finished 2nd on the UST in 2022, also put up an amazing first round heat which included the biggest backside barrel of the contest.
The early rounds in the pro women saw Ashley Poshard with a solid early performance, attacking 4 foot waves with power. Alex Yokely took her solid backside turn to Mexican waters and made it through. Similarly, the goofy footer Chabe White was able to sneak into barrel after barrel.
Tule Cortez In-N-Out | Photo by David Haefele (IG)
On day two, the swell was forecasted to pick up dramatically, which had riders and organizers concerned about whether the conditions would be contestable. However, conditions were just a notch bigger from day one, about 4-8 feet with occasional 10 footers. The conditions were very similar to day one, except occasional large sets would overwhelm the competition area for as long as 8 minutes at a time.
Newport Beach local Chad Wadsworth defeated both Dane Cameron and Yahir Valencia on his way to his first ever UST final. On the other side of the draw, Bryan Lopez took out Tim Gamboa and fellow Melaque local Tule Cortez to secure his spot in the final. The final saw both riders Chad and Bryan tackle overhead sets. Ultimately, local Bryan Lopez took the win, mixing in a variety of tech tricks along with solid barrel riding. In the final, Bryan combined both tech tricks and smooth barrel riding, lining up the best waves in the 12 minute heat to snag his first ever UST victory.
Timmy Gamboa Frontside Wrap | Photo by Johnny Salta (IG)
On the women’s side, Ashley Poshard kept up her momentum from day one and continued to impress the crowd with her backside rail grabs, solidifying her spot in the final after defeating Alex Yokley. Chabe White also kept her momentum and secured her spot in the final after scoring over 19 points in the semifinal against Amber Torrealba. In the final, Chabe White kept finding big backside turns and tucking into solid barrels on the south end of the beach. In the end, Chabe took the win, giving her an early lead into the 2023 season.
Alex Yokley Backside Turn | Photo by David Haefele (IG)
“I’m really happy to have this moment right now,” said Chabe White after her win. “This is the first international stop for females, and I’m stoked for the female community. We’re more united. Because of Gerardo’s idea, all of the community of Melaque is able to see how they can compete with professionals from America and all over the world. It’s a good thing for Mexico in general. The skim community in Mexico and all the kids here can think bigger.”
“Thank you to everyone who made this happen in Mexico,” said Bryan Lopez after his win. “I really appreciate the special touch of the pro trophy being a local piece of art.”
Special thanks to the Skim USA team and Gerardo Valencia for making the event happen.
Pepe Lopez Crowd Pleaser | Photo by David Haefele (IG)
- Bryan Lopez – San Patricio, Mexico
- Chad Wadsworth – Newport Beach, CA
- Yahir Valencia – Barra de Navidad, Mexico
- Tule Cortez –San Patricio, Mexico
- Chabe White – Mazunte, Mexico
- Ashley Poshard – Santa Cruz, CA
- Alex Yokley – Dewey Beach, DE
- Amber Torrealba – Palm Bay, FL