JINZUN HARBOR, Taitung County, Taiwan (Wednesday, November 8, 2023) – After strong wind forced a lay day yesterday, competition has resumed at the 2023 Taiwan Open of Surfing, World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) 5000 event. Jinzun Harbor turned on fun, clean surf in the two-to-three-foot range as some top seeds stepped up and others fell on Day 2 of competition.
The best performance of the women’s Round of 48 came from Australian Charli Hurst (AUS), who was in great touch on her back-hand to post a 13.10 two-wave total (out of a possible 20). The exciting young goofy-footer comfortably overcame Piper Harrison (AUS), who progressed in the second spot and will now take on veteran Philippa Anderson (AUS) in the Round of 32. Hurst will be looking for a big result in Taiwan this year to back up her third-place finish from 2022.
“That was a super fun heat,” Hurst said. “It’s good to get the first round nerves out of the way, and it turned out to be a good performance, so I’m stoked. I was going out there looking for rights, and they ended up coming my way, so I ended up getting my scores going right. It’s so good to be back in Taiwan. I had such a good time here last year, so I’m really happy to be back here. It’s such a beautiful place with amazing people and food. I’m travelling with Piper (Harrison), so it was great that we both got through that heat.”
Japanese competitor Shino Matsuda (JPN) was a standout in the Round of 48, posting a solid mid-range total of 12.34 for an impressive display of backside surfing on the Jinzun Rights. With a few Finlas Day finishes already in 2023, Matsuda is hoping to go all the way here in Taiwan to jump up the rankings and into Challenger Series contention in 2024.
Aussie duo Saxon Reber (AUS) and Oscar Berry (AUS) put on commanding performances in the second heat of the men’s Round of 64. Berry posted a 13.00 point heat total, while Reber took the win with a 13.23, which included an excellent 8.00 point ride (out of a possible 10). Berry took to the sky while Reber found one of the longer lefts of the day and went to town, smashing a series of massive backside turns to take the win. The two Aussies progressed while John Mark Tokong (PHL), who was fresh off a win in the Philippines, was eliminated.
“Oscar got off to such a good start in that heat, and I felt like I was kind of left behind,” Reber said. “I finally started to find a few, and then that left came. It just kept giving me sections. I’m enjoying my time here – we’ve got a good crew, and everyone is having a lot of fun in and out of the water. Taiwan is a sick place.”
Earlier in the day, reigning event winner Jarvis Earle (AUS) was eliminated in his opening heat, leaving the door open for a new Taiwan Open of Surfing men’s winner in 2023.
The last two heats of the day saw the two top performances of the event go down from 2023 Challenger Series competitors Sheldon Simkus (AUS) and Joel Vaughan (AUS), who both found excellent scores on their way to posting the top two heat totals of the event so far. Simkus posted a 14.33 and Vaughan a 15.83 as the pair of Aussies showed they are the ones to beat at Jinzun Harbor in 2023.
The 2023 Taiwan Open of Surfing QS 5000 will run at Jinzun Harbor in Taitung County from November 6 – 12. For more information and to watch the event live, head to www.worldsurfleague.com or download the free WSL App.