Jennifer Smith (USA), two-time ASP Women’s World Longboard Champion walking the plank. Pic ASP/Robertson.
WANNING, Hainan Island/China (Wednesday, November 21, 2012) – The SWATCH Girls Pro China 2012 hosted by Wanning got off to a flying start at Riyuewan Bay today, with Rounds 1 and most of Round 2 completed in small 1 – 2 foot (0.5 – 1 meter) long left handed waves. The competitors were forced to put it all on the line to win their heats as this is the event that will decide the 2012 ASP Women’s World Longboard Champion.
Kelia Moniz (HAW), last year’s SWATCH Girls Pro runner-up kicked off the event with a dominant performance posting two scores in the 7-point-range. Moniz’ combination of style, power and flow was the ideal display, setting the bar high in the first heat of the event.
“I was so nervous I was shaking out there,” Moniz said. “It was the first heat of the contest, first heat of the day and this is our first and only event of the year so it feels great to start off well. In the morning free surf I kept falling off, so it feels great to go out in a heat and complete some waves.”
Ophelie Ah-Kouen (REU) survived a scare in Round 1 today, sitting in second position as the heat faded away. In the last minute she snared a wave and was able to amass the score required to jump into first position and steal the heat.
“I’m really happy to be back here,” Ah-Kouen said. “We are like rockstars here, and the hotel and island are very beautiful. I won that heat with my last wave. It was hard because the surf is small, but it was still fun.”
Chelsea Williams (AUS), last year’s SWATCH Girls Pro event champion was on point once again at Riyuewan Bay, posting the day’s highest single wave score, an 8.00 (out of a possible 10). Williams’ powerful carves and superior ability to read the waves helped her easily advance directly into Round 3.
“I really wanted to get off to a good start,” Williams said. “I didn’t want to be left chasing the other girls. The conditions got tough just before my heat, so I’m relieved to win and be into Round 3.”
Jennifer Smith (USA), two-time ASP Women’s World Longboard Champion mixed a variety of moves to post some big scores and cement herself as a serious contender for this year’s ASP Women’s World Longboard Title.
“I’m stoked that Round 1 is non-elimination,” Smith said. “It takes so much pressure off. You get to find your China sea legs under you. I’ve been really enjoying myself on this trip and it feels good to post a couple of scores in the first heat. The surf isn’t perfect, but when you get a wave it’s a long wave so you’ve got time to set something up. You can find moments out there for sure.”
Kassia Meador (USA) used her trademark style and flow to win her opening heat at the SWATCH Girls Pro China 2012. Meador finished equal 3rd at this event last year and on current form will be one of the favourites again in 2012.
“It was slow out there,” Meador said. “The combination of low tide and wind made it tough, but there’s still fun waves, it’s just about picking the right ones and staying on your feet. At the end of the day it’s all fun. No one gets eliminated in the first Round and we are all out in the same conditions. Competition is all about getting the best waves and doing what you can with them.”
Lindsay Steinriede (USA), reigning ASP Women’s World Longboard Champion put her competitive prowess to work in today’s testing condition. Steinriede picked off the best waves in her heat, an used her unique and graceful surfing to easily advance to Round 3.
“It’s a little bit of luck and a little bit of skill out there today,” Steinriede said. “So I’m happy that I had luck on my side and be able to work with what I’ve got and win the heat. Swatch put on a great event, the Chinese people are very welcoming. I’ve been looking forward to coming back all year.”
UPCOMING SWATCH GIRLS PRO CHINA 2012 ROUND 2 MATCH-UPS: HEAT 10: Wen Ling Chou (TPE) vs. Fernanda Daichtman (BRA) HEAT 11: Darci Liu (CHN) vs. Crystal Dzigas (HAW) HEAT 12: Georgia Young (AUS) vs. Nava Young (AUS)