MANOKWARI, West Papua, Indonesia (Friday, December 1, 2023) – Today, Kana Nakashio (JPN) and Westen Hirst (INA) claimed victory at the 2023 Manokwari Pro Junior as part of the World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) 1000 and Pro Junior event. Day 3 saw Amban Beach offering up more perfect glassy left and right walls to deliver the competitors arguably the best waves of the WSL Asia Pro Junior Season.
Current rankings leader Kana Nakashio (JPN) will start her 2024 Pro Junior campaign on top again after her win today. Nakashio breezed through the Semifinals to meet up with Asia Region’s second-ranked Pro Junior, Cocana Kawase (JPN) in the Final. It was a see-saw battle for the majority of the 30 minutes until Nakashio found the wave she was looking for with one minute to go. She threw everything into each turn on the reeling righthander to earn an excellent score of 8.17 (out of a possible 10) and claim victory.
“I’m so happy for this win today,” Nakashio said. “It’s always great to meet up with Cocana in a final because I know it will be a challenge for me. We were both getting good scores on both the lefts and the rights, so when that last wave came, I knew I had to go for it. I had a good feeling about it. I’m so happy to start the year with a win, and I hope I can continue this form into the World Junior Championships and win that also.”
Coming in Equal 3rd were the Indonesian duo Hanasuri Jabrik (INA) and Jasmine Studer (INA).
Indonesia’s Westen Hirst (INA) claimed his first Pro Junior victory against fellow countryman Made “Pajar” Ariyana (INA) in another evenly matched final. Both goofy footers started off delivering powerful hacks deep in the pocket of the right-handers, then started to look for sections to get their air games in play. Hirst completed a lofty backside air reverse for an excellent 8.00 point single wave score to take the lead, then on his next wave, he went to the air again, netting a 6.67, leaving Ariyana needing a manageable 7.50. Unfortunately for Ariyana, the ocean chose to go quiet for the last two minutes, and Hirst ended the heat victorious.
“That final was really insane; it was the best final I’ve ever had in my life, just me and my brother Pajar (Ariyana), just the two of us man-on-man; it was just amazing,” Hirst said. “We were talking out there and going wave for wave, and I won, so I’m stoked about that. Good job to my brother Pajar. Feels great to start the season with a win, and I’m going to keep it up and keep my focus on the Pro Junior, but I’ll do some QS events also.”
Equal 3rd spots went to Made Mahendra (INA) and Taki Kanazawa (JPN).
After the Pro Junior Final, it was the Qualifying Series competitor’s turn to get out and enjoy the still-pumping three-to-four-foot waves, with the Round of 16 men’s completed to round out the day.
In Heat 4, it was Dhany Widianto (INA) spending more time in the air than on the wave, boosting multiple aerials to earn an 8.23 and an 8.17 for a combined heat score of 16.40 (out of a possible 20). Roi Kanazawa (JPN) earned the first excellent score in Heat 1, an 8.33, to win the heat, and in Heat 3, Westen Hirst (INA) kept up his form, posting an excellent score of 8.00 to win the heat with fellow Indonesian Made Ariyana (INA) also posting an 8.00 point score to come in second place.
Competition will likely continue tomorrow, with a call being made at 9:30 a.m. local time for a possible start.
The 2023 Manokwari Pro QS 1000 and Pro Junior will run at Amban Beach in West Papua, Indonesia, from November 29 to December 3, 2023. For more information and results, head to www.worldsurfleauge.com or download the free WSL App.
The 2023 Manokwari Pro QS 1000 and Pro Junior are sponsored by the Province of West Papua Tourism Authority.