22 December, 2018, Cherating, Pahang, Malaysia:  In the exciting conclusion to the final REnextop Asian Surfing Tour (RAST) final event of the year in Cherating, Malaysia on Day Three of competition, the Philippines Jay-R Esquivel and Japan’s Natsumi Taoka won their finals to not only win the event but claim the 2018 RAST Championships in the Men’s Longboard and Women’s Longboard Divisions respectively, joining Raditya Rondi (IDN) and Dhea Natasya (IDN) who also won their divisions and the overall championships in the Men’s and Women’s Shortboard Division on Day Two.

The competitors, organizers, friends and the whole Cherating community celebrated at the Beach Bar last night in a fitting conclusion to three days of great competition that saw surfers from Malaysia, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, the USA, China, and Australia coming to the beautiful beachside town of Cherating on Malaysia’s East Coast for the final stop of the 2018 RAST season, which included stops in Bali, Indonesia and Phuket, Thailand.

In the Men’s Longboard Final it was recently crowned 2018 Philippine Men’s Longboard Champion Jay-R Esquivel from La Union taking the win over Japan’s Kaihamase in a 25-minute dual in 1-2-foot waves.  Both surfers had been racking up great scores and putting on impressive displays of traditional longboarding all event long, but Jay-R had won each one of his heats leading up to the final and wasn’t going to be denied the top spot on the podium, and not intimidated by the two-time Japanese Longboard Champion.

When asked what his strategy was going into the final, Jay-R explained, “I knew that I had to get the first wave and get a big score, so I was nervous while waiting out there, but luckily I got a good first wave and a solid score.  Then I got back to the lineup and just waited for another set,  and when it came it was another good wave and another good score.  That made it hard for him, as he was only able to get the smaller middle and inside waves, so in the end my scores were enough to win.”

“I’m so very happy right now, and so very thankful that I could win here at Cherating for the second time in my life…the first time was at the Occy Grom comp event here in 2010.  I want to thank the REnextop family, all of you guys, my sponsors Surf Town La Union, Gwapitos, Reef and all the others for making this possible for me to be here,” he concluded.

21-year-old Kaihamase from Japan has only been competing on longboards for two years, but has earned two championships already and will no doubt continue to rack up more of them in the future, as he was clearly a standout during the whole event. 

“In the final I was so tired but I hoped to get some good waves, but I just couldn’t find the good ones and get a good score to win, said Kaihamase.   But I had lots of fun and really enjoy my experience here in Cherating as it’s such a nice place with good people and a really long waves…I’m so happy I came here,” he added.

In the Women’s Longboard Division, it was Japan’s Natsumi Taoka, who was a WSL World Longboard Championship Tour competitor for two years, up against perennial finalist Daisy Valdez from the Philippines. 

Natsumi had consistently posted the highest scores during her previous heats, including an excellent 8.17 (out of a possible 10 points) in her semifinal heat to end Aping Agudo’s (PHP) chances for a win and championship title,  and in the final earned first a 6.33 and then a near excellent 7.83 for multiple nose rides to win with a 14.16 ( out of a possible 20 points) final score.  Daisy got her best score on her last wave, a 6.17, but it wasn’t enough as her second score was only a 4.5.

After the final, Natsumi was beaming saying “I’m so happy to come here for the first time, as this wave is amazing and I’m having so much fun!”  When asked about her strategy for the final against Daisy she replied, “I was waiting for the sets because those were my best chance for noseriding, as the middle waves were shorter and had less chance for a good score.  I like going left a lot, so this wave was perfect for getting nose rides and Hang 10’s.  Winning both the event and the championship is such a great way to end my year, so with the prize money I can travel somewhere with my family when I get back to Japan.  Thanks to everyone for this great event!”

REnextop CEO Lillian Chen was over the moon with the success of the event, saying “We were so lucky to be able to come here to Cherating and do this event.  It’s still natural and such a beautiful place for surfing, all the surfers are really happy to have a clean and long wave to surf.  With our RAST events we want to bring surfers to places like this to experience different surfing spots and different cultures, and everybody seems happy with that and so we’re happy too.  Thanks to everyone that is making this possible and involved with our events. Next year we are planning to do another 3 or 4 events, and we’ll be announcing those by around the end of February is our plan, so the surfers can make their plans for joining again.”

Special thanks to Shidy and his Safari Xtreme team, working with Didaqt and all the Cherating Boys and all the locals here at Cherating to make the RAST team and surfers feel so welcome, setting up a great event, and sharing their waves and town for the 4 days!

You can check all the results and heat scores on Live Heats at https://www.liveheats.com/events/1227

Thanks to sponsors REnex, Corona, Trinidad, Heng Tian Cai Fu, M-Graph, Lanche, Sigma, Safari Xtreme, and Cherating Boys.

2018 RAST Champions

Raditya Rondi (IDN) – Men’s Shortboard

Dhea Natasya (IDN) – Women’s Shortboard

Jay-R Esquivel (PHP)– Men’s Longboard

Natsumi Taoka (JPN)– Women’s Longboard

RAST #3  Men’s Shortboard Results

1. Raditya Rondi (IDN)

2. Dede Suryana (IDN)

3. Rio Waida (IDN)

3.  Darma Putra Tonjo (IDN)

RAST #3  Women’s Shortboard Results

1.  Dhea Natasya (IDN)

2.  Daisy Valdez (PHP)

3.  Diah Rahayu Dewi (IDN)

RAST #3  Men’s Longboard Results

1.  Jay-R Esquivel (PHP)

2.  Kaihamase (JPN)

3.  Dean Permana (IDN)

3.  Deni Firdaus (IDN)

RAST #3  Women’s Longboard Results

1.  Natsumi Taoka (JPN)

2.  Daisy Valdez (PHP)

3.  Aping Agudo (PHP)

3.  Min Kang (KOR)


About the REnextop Asian Surfing Tour

Through this series of competitions, REnextop will strengthen the integration of China’s surfing community with the international surfing world to provide more opportunities, communication avenues and interactions. Surfers from various countries in the Asia-Pacific region including Japan, Korea, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia and Taiwan are invited to compete in these events.

REnextop is Asia’s first platform dedicated to helping extreme sportsmen and independent athletes to realize their dreams, and surfing is one of the most important extreme sports in REnextop. China’s top woman longboarder Monica Guo and top men’s longboarder TZ, are high-level surfers that are sponsored by the platform. Now they have become independent professional athletes traveling to surf and compete in the Asia Pacific region, setting an example for other Chinese surfers to follow and realize their dreams. 

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