Japan’s Yujiro Tsuji (JPN) flies into the Semifinals at the Taiwan Open of Surfing. Pic ASP/Will H-S
TAITUNG, Taiwan (Saturday, November 16, 2013) – The field that started with 48 surfers was today reduced to just four Semifinalists after the Round of 16 and Quarterfinals were run and won at the ASP 1-Star rated Taiwan Open of Surfing hosted by Taitung. Jinzun Harbour turned on the goods for the second day of competition with clean two-to-three foot waves consistently pulsing throughout the day. The Semifinals and Final will run tomorrow and Taiwan will crown its first ever ASP World Tour event champion.
Arashi Kato (JPN) eliminated the event’s number one seed, New Zealand’s Matt-Lewis Hewitt (NZL) in an exciting Quarterfinal. Kato got off to a quick start in the heat and never let the lead go, mixing fast progressive surfing with powerful turns.
“I was nervous because Matt (Lewis Hewitt) is one of the top surfers in the event,” Kato said. “The surf was a little inconsistent so I just tried to focus on the good ones. I’m so excited to surf in the Semifinals, the surf is really good in the mornings. It should be a fun day tomorrow.”
Dede Suryana (IND) defeated fellow Indonesian surfer Putra Hermawan (IND) in a back and forth battle that saw the pair exchange the lead multiple times. Both surfers put their aerial skills on display, but it was Suryana who picked off the best waves and locked in some excellent scores to advance into the Semifinals.
“I was worried at the end because I know Putra (Hermawan) surfs good in waves like that and can easily get big scores,” Suryana said. “I was lucky I got some really good waves and Putra missed priority on a good set. Knocking him out means that Raditya Rondi wins the ASC championship, I wanted it to be me, but maybe next year.”
Taylor Jensen (San Diego, CA/USA), reigning two-time ASP World Longboard Champion, was forced to settle for equal 5th place at the Taiwan Open of Surfing today after being eliminated by Japan’s Yujiro Tsuji (JPN). Jensen won through three rounds of competition which is an impressive feat considering he usually only competes on a longboard.
“That was my seventh heat of the day after going in the ASP event in the morning and going through a couple rounds of the longboard and nose rider divisions. I’m going to go home and crawl into bed, I’m so tired. I’ve really enjoyed this event. I surf shortboards all the time, but usually only compete on longboard and it’s been fun to mix it up. It’s great to see the Taiwanese surfers and surf fans getting behind the event. The beach was so crowded with fans and photographers that I could barely walk up to the tower. That must be how the ASP WCT guys feel.”
Matt-Lewis Hewitt (NZL), New Zealand’s only surfer at this year’s Taiwan Open of Surfing was one of the most impressive surfers at this year’s event, but had to settle for an equal 5th place finish.
“It wasn’t really the result I was looking for, but I’ve had a great time in Taiwan,” Hewitt said. “I had a tough time in that heat finding the good waves, but that happens. I’m going to go for a freesurf now and the go out on the town tonight.”
Japan’s Yujiro Tsuji (JPN) and Jun Shiiba (JPN) also advanced into the Semifinals and will be fighting to try and take the first ASP 1-Star Taiwan Open of Surfing title back to Japan.
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.