Tony Silvagni (USA) rides the nose on the way to an impressive opening round heat win in China today. Photo: ASP/Robertson
WANNING, Hainan Island, China (Monday, November 25, 2013) - A large spread of internationals won their opening Round 1 Heats on Day 1 of the Riyue Bay ASP World Longboard Championship hosted by Wanning in China today.
Defending event champion and two-time ASP World Champion Taylor Jensen (USA) lead the charge by posting the day’s highest scoring heat win with a combined two-wave heat tally of 16.15 to comprehensively shut down his two opponents, Emillen Fleury (FRANCE) and local surfer Zhuang Tie (CHN).
“That was a good start for me. I’m not that used to surfing left point breaks as I usually surf rights so there’s a little more pressure on me here, but this a fun long peeling left and right now I’m confident,” said Jensen.
“It’s a great place to be with plenty of waves, warm water and great accommodation, so I’m feeling good here and hopefully can go all the way.”
Jensen is chasing a unique hat-trick of ASP World Longboard Titles and as this event is the only ASP World Longboard Tour event for 2013, whoever wins here will be the 2013 ASP World Longboard Champion.
Not all the high seeds advanced today with relatively low seeds Piccolo Clemente (PERU) and Thomas Kibblewhite (NZL) surprising by winning their heats and advancing directly to round three at the expense of number five seed Harley Ingleby (AUS) and seventh seeded Edouard Delpero (FRA) who both fortunately go into repechage Round 2.
“It’s my first ASP World Longboard Tour event and I was really nervous before the heat and didn’t know what to expect,” said Kibblewhite who resides in Aukland New Zealand.
“I just concentrated on surfing my best, I had nothing to lose as the unknown guy here and I think it worked for me – It gives me confidence but not too much because there’s great surfers here and I’ll need to surf my best to keep advancing.”
South Africa’s Matthew Moir returned to competitive surfing after a two year hiatus and won an entertaining duel defeating French pair Antoine Delpero and Timothee Greignou in a heat that saw all three surfers score high with multiple lead changers.
“A great way to return to competitive surfing” said Moir.
“We shared the waves out there, no hassling just surfing to our best and it felt really good. I surf a very similar wave at home in South Africa and I’ve been practising there a lot so I’m ready and prepared for this event.”
Late in the day Ben Skinner (Great Britian) took a close win over Australia’s Jared Neal.
Hawaii’s Nelson lll Ahina (HAWAII) and Brazil’s Rodrigo Sphaier added to what was a very multi national day of heat winners.
Surprisingly, for the Australian contingent it was not a good day with all three representatives forced into Round 2 when the event resumes.
The forecast here is strong for waves all week and organisers will reconvene tomorrow morning for a possible start to Round 2.