Jinzun Harbour, Taitung/Taiwan (Thursday, November 23, 2017) - The final World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) 1,500 event for 2017, the Taiwan Open of Surfing, has kicked off today at Jinzun Harbour. In super fun but wind affected 3-to-4 foot peaks the event ran through all of Round One and 12 Heats of Round Two.
Japanese surfer Shun Murakami (JPN) was a standout on Day 1 of competition posting the highest heat total of the event so far. Murakami's excellent 17.76 (out of a possible 20) came from a display of powerful rail turns and progressive aerial surfing. He even posted a near perfect 9.46 (out of a possible 10) for a giant backhand air-reverse.
“That was a super fun heat,” Murakami said. “The waves just kept coming and I was able to find a good rhythm. The waves here a similar to some places at home so I’m really comfortable here. At the end of the heat, I already had a good score so went for the big air and landed it – I knew it was going to be a good score when I rode out.”
Indonesian prodigy Rio Waida (IDN) put on a searing display in his Round Two heat posting the highest single wave score of the event so far, a 9.67 for a series of critical snaps and a massive air reverse. With another solid result here in Taiwan, Waida will take out the WSL Asia QS for 2017.
“It’s always good to get a solid score on your opening ride,” Waida said. “Once that is locked in you can feel free to just have fun. That is what I did today and the scores seemed to come for me. I love these waves here they are really high performance.”
Fresh off a second place finish in China last week, Californian Kei Kobayashi (USA) continued his solid form into his opening heat at the Taiwan Open of Surfing. The super fast natural-footer posted a modest heat total of 11.97 to progress into Round Three in top spot.
“Last week in China was my first ever final which was awesome,” Kobayashi said. “I’m hoping to continue this run here in Taiwan. It’s my final event of the season so I’m super fired up for a good result. The waves are so fun out there today, it’s a really cool place for an event so I’m stoked to be here.”
Australian charger Riley Laing (AUS) was another top seed to progress through Round 2 with a solid heat win. Laing utilized both the lefts and rights of Jinzun Harbour to post his winning total of 12.96. After a tough event in China, Laing was pumped to be in Taiwan and scoring some pumping waves,”
“Although it’s windy the waves are pumping out there,” Laing said. “It was cool to have a heat with Nick (Callister), he surfed really well. After tough conditions in China, it’s nice to be here and getting waves like this, you’d take waves like this for any contest.”
The 2017 Taiwan Open of Surfing QS1,500 runs from November 23 - 26, 2017. For more information and LIVE ACTION of the head to www.worldsurfleague.com and on the WSL App.