Japan’s Arashi Kato (JPN) wins through to the Round of 16 at the Taiwan Open of Surfing. Pic ASP/Will H-S
TAITUNG, Taiwan (Friday, November 15, 2013) – Today marked an historic day of surfing as athletes battled for ASP World Ranking’s points in Taiwan for the first time at the ASP 1-Star rated Taiwan Open of Surfing hosted by Taitung. Pulsing two-to-four foot peaks provided the perfect playing field for the 48 international surfers to compete in the opening two rounds of competition.
Dede Suryana (IND) took out the most exciting heat of the day over Rahtu Suargita (IND), Nobuyuki Osawa (JPN) and Takkesh Mizoguchi-Thorne (AUS). All four surfers held either first or second at one stage of the heat, with positions shuffling all the way until after the final siren sounded.
“At the beginning of the heat I didn’t know what to do I was a bit lost,” Suryana said. “For us Indonesian’s the conditions were hard, we don’t surf waves like this very much. The other guys in my heat were surfing really good so I just tried my best and I’m stoked to make it.”
Harley Ingleby (Coffs Harbour, NSW/AUS), 2009 ASP World Longboard Champion, was on fire on his shortboard today, advancing through his Round of 48 and Round of 32 heats in first position. This is Ingleby’s first time competing on the shortboard ASP World Tour and he’s looking right at home.
“This is the first time I’ve competed on a shortboard in a really long time,” Ingleby said. “I’m really enjoying this event, I was just looking for waves with little pockets and I’m stoked to be through two rounds. Taiwan is really beautiful, I’ve had friends tell me how good this place is and I’m happy to be here and experience it for myself.”
Raditya Rondi (IND), reigning Taiwan Open of Surfing event champion continued to impress in the Jinzun Harbour lineup. Rondi defeated Putra Hermawan (IND), Kento Takahashi (JPN) and Wolf Wertheimer (HKG) in a very tight heat and is keen to claim another event win as he is also in the running to claim the ASC championship at this event.
“It was a very hard heat against those guys,” Rondi said. “I’m glad to win that heat because I want to keep going in the event. I feel a bit of pressure being last year’s champion, but I also feel like I know the waves here well and could maybe win it again. I’m really enjoying Taiwan, everyone is really nice and looks after us very well.”
Naoto Takanashi (JPN) put on one of the most impressive performances of the day, selecting multiple right-hand runners and using his powerful backhand attack to post some solid scores. Takanashi won the final heat of the day and will surf again tomorrow in Heat 4 of the Round of 16.
“I’m a goofy-footer and really like waves like this on my backhand,” Takanashi said. “The tide is coming up and the rights kept on getting better and better so I really enjoyed that heat. This is my first time to Taiwan and I’m really enjoying the waves, the food and the people.”
Taylor Jensen (San Diego, CA/USA), reigning two-time ASP World Longboard Champion, won through two heats at the Taiwan Open of Surfing today and is surfing with style and power in his non-preferred, shortboard division. Jenson advanced into the Round of 16 where he will take on Raditya Rondi (IND) and Dede Suryana (IND).
“I competed in the shortboard division at this event last year, but before that it has been about six years so I’m a little rusty,” said Jensen. ” I’m used to surfing longboard comps where everyone just cruises and out there it was intense, just like what you hear about, pretty gnarly. I had a really windy and tough heat this morning so I was glad to get a heat with clean waves at the end of the day. I just caught one good one, but it was getting dark and I couldn’t really find a second score. I’m loving this event, it’s firing me up to compete again.”
Matt-Lewis Hewitt (NZL), New Zealand’s only surfer at this year’s Taiwan Open of Surfing and the event’s number one seed advanced into the Round of 16 behind Japan’s Arashi Kato (JPN). Hewitt picked off multiple long rights and surfed with speed and power and will be one to watch in the business end of the event.
“I had a free surf this morning and it was really fun, but the wind came up and made conditions really tricky,” Hewitt said. “The waves are still really fun, it’s just the wind that made things hard. I just tried to find a few waves with clean faces and it worked for me. I’m the only Kiwi here, there’s only a few of us that do the circuit and the others are in Hawaii so I thought this was a great chance to come here. I’m loving Taiwan, it reminds me of Japan, the people are so nice and always willing to help you out. ”
ASP have partnered with the ASC (Asian Surfing Championship) for this year’s Taiwan Open of Surfing and on top of the ASP 1-Star division there will also be women’s shortboard, men’s and women’s longboard and junior divisions.