25 November 2017, Taitung, Taiwan: Today at the beach awarding of the Taiwan Open of Surfing at Jinzun Harbor in Taiwan, Indonesia’s Rio Waida received the WSL Asia Region trophy from the WSL’s Steve Robertson and Tosh Omi for his Number 1 ranking in the WSL Asia Region Qualifying Series for 2017.
Waida tops the rankings list of 165 other Qualifying Series surfers registered in the World Surf League (WSL) Asian Region for 2017, which will entitle him to compete in the highest rated Qualifying Series events around the world next year, giving him the chance to get a big step closer to qualifying for a World Championship Tour berth in the future. He is also currently ranked
The opportunity to compete in these QS 6,000 grade (6,000 points and $150,000 USD prize purse) and QS 10,000 grade (10,000 points and $260,000 USD prize purse) events around the world means that good results will bring big points and big prize money to reward this talented young soon-to-be 18-year-old surfer who hails from Bali, Indonesia.
Waida has been a standout performer in Asia’s competitive surf scene since he started competing in local Bali grom comps, and thanks to his sponsor Quiksilver and the support of his family including the Padma Boys surf club he’s competed internationally in Europe, Australia, Japan and all around Asia, and surfed with such surf legends as Kelly Slater, Jake Paterson, and many other pro surfers.
Waida came to Taiwan fresh off a 4th place finish at the QS 3000 (3,000 points and $75,000 USD prize purse) Jeep International Hainan Open last week, and followed it up with an equal third place finish here at the QS 1500 (1,500 points and $25,000 prize purse) Taiwan Open of Surfing.
“For sure this a dream come true,” said Waida after receiving his trophy and 3rd place winner’s check. “But I know it will be more hard when I have to compete in the 6,000’s and 10.000’s, as it’s a lot higher level with even better surfers, so my plan now is to go home and train to make my surfing better to prepare for next year. I just want to get better and do better.”
When asked how he felt about his performance in the last event of 2017 Waida replied, “I came into this event with a good result in China, so I was just having fun out there in every heat because the waves were so good, so I’m really happy getting an equal third and to finish the year in the number 1 spot. Thanks so much to all the people that are supporting me!”
The ASC’s Tipi Jabrik was delighted with Rio’s result and the milestone that his accomplishment represents, saying “What we‘ve been doing for the past years with first the ISC and then the ASC is creating a pathway for surfers in Indonesia and in Asia towards getting on the world’s surfing stage, so this is a great reward for our efforts. Now with the WSL Asia it’s getting easier for surfers like Rio and the next generation coming behind him to make their dreams of getting on the World Championship Tour become closer to reality. Hopefully next year Rio can travel with Oney (Anwar) on the QS tour and maybe in the next 2-3 years we can see one of them on the WCT.”
“However, this work we’ve been doing has basically been pushed along by just a couple of people, but what we need now is to build a team with more people involved now that we’ve got some momentum going, as it can’t just be done by as a solo almost charity like thing. As you know, you can’t just depend on one person to do everything anymore, so when guys like Rio and Oney need support, they need to have a team behind them to give them advice, encouragement, and all that they need to be a success. So yes this is a big moment for Asian surfing and for us at the ASC, as we’ve created this path for kids like Rio since they were tiny groms, but it’s also a call out that everybody needs to do even more if we want these kids to get to up to the world championship level.”
WSL Asia’s Steve Robertson was also excited about the results and very optimistic about the future, saying, “This has been and amazing inaugural year for the Asian regions, and to see an up and coming surfer like Rio out of Indonesia win the rankings for the season, well it couldn’t be a better start. And the future looks really bright, with more events, more surfers and a broader region next year, so I couldn’t be happier.”
With more WSL Qualifying Series events planned for Indonesia and around other parts of the Asian region for 2018, the opportunities for Asian surfers to realize their dreams of being professional surfers has never been closer, but they will also need financial support and other types of sponsorship from both governmental and private sources.
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The Asian Surf Cooperative is a professional surfing organization with over 13 years of experience in the organizing, managing and supporting of surfing events around the Asian region, from local boardriders club competitions to WSL World Championship Tour events. The ASC currently works with World Surf League in organizing and running events in the Asian Region.
The ASC provides services including event management, live scoring, ISA certified judges, contest directors, digital photography and videography, event media packages, rankings data, media coverage and distribution, consulting and more to the Asian surfing market, as well as assists the ISA in organizing Surf and SUP Instructor and International Judging courses around the region.