KUTA BEACH, BALI / Indonesia (Sunday, June 4, 2023) – Rogelio Jr Esquievel (PHL) and Natsumi Taoka (JPN) have both claimed their second LQS victory today, winning the PADROL Longboard Classic, World Surf League (WSL) Longboard Qualifying Series (LQS) event, gaining them entry into the 2023 WSL World Longboard Tour (WLT). Halfway at Kuta Beach provided great conditions for most of the day with waves in the two-to-three foot range, as well as some challenging low tide conditions during the Finals.
In the women’s Final, Natsumi Taoka (JPN) started strong with a 6.00 (out of a possible 10) point ride on her second wave, quickly up on the nose for a hang 5 to hang 10 combination, displaying amazing control on a fast righthander. The low tide beach break didn’t allow for many maneuvers, but she found a decent lefthander to add a 7.17, leaving Hiroka Yoshikawa (JPN) needing an excellent 8.14 score to overtake her, which proved to be too much.
“I was watching the previous heat carefully, so I knew I needed to find the right waves to get a score,” Taoka said. “I started out trying to build up scores and take some chances, either right or left as it wasn’t really consistent where the good waves might be. But I’m so happy to win and get back onto the WLT, and it was so good to compete here in Bali and seems like I’m always in the final with my friend Hiroka, which pushes me to be my best. I’m so happy to have made it.”
The men’s Final win was icing on the cake for the Philippines Rogelio Jr Esquievel (PHL), as he had already taken the top spot in the rankings and his ticket to the WLT, courtesy of Taka Inoue (JPN) being knocked out by French competitor Roland Lefeuvre (FRA) in the Semifinals.
Esquievel got off to a good start, posting his first significant score of 7.17 for a Hang 5 to Hang 10 combination and finishing with a nice floater. He was threatened along the way as Lefeuvre put up a 6.50 for some good nose riding on a righthander to take the lead briefly. Eventually, Esquievel found an open lefthander and went straight to the nose to hold a long Hang 10 and finish cleanly, his excellent 8.00 score wave was enough to secure the win.
“I’m so happy to win this event and get on the WLT, as there are so many surfers here like Roland and Augusto, and others from Japan, Indonesia, Korea, and of course the Philippines, that are so good,” said Esquievel. “Thank you so much to all the people that have supported me, so I can make this dream come true. In this final it was really hard, as the tide was super low, and the water was knee-deep, so I decided to wait and choose the waves I thought would get me longer rides where I could finish with maybe a floater or something. Luckily I got a couple of chances, and could win the final.”
This is the first time there will be a competitor from the Philippines on the World Longboard Tour, and from the talent on display during this event, there will no doubt be other Asian representatives in the future, following Japan and the Philippines. Indonesia, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Malaysia all have growing longboard communities and were represented in the event.
“We are beyond happy with the results and how the event turned out,” said ASC’s Tipi Jabrik. “We had great conditions, a field of amazing talent, supportive sponsors and a great team putting in a lot of hard work to make it all happen. Thanks to Padrol, Bintang, Mamaka, and BGS, for their support, to the Halfway Kuta Boardriders for organizing the venue, and of course to our ASC team and the WSL. ”
PADROL’s Kei Arimoto was over the moon, saying “This has been such a great event for us at Padrol and for all the surfers and surf fans, thanks so much for all that made it possible. We are so happy to see all these surfers from around Asia coming together, like a big family, it has been amazing. Congratulations to Natsumi and Jay R and all the surfers for their great performances at this event. We are looking forward to continuing our support and hope to do it again next year.”
For more information head to www.WorldSurfLeague.com or download the Free WSL App.
The 2023 PADROL Longboard Classic LQS 1,000 at Halfway Kuta Beach in Bali is sponsored by PADROL, Bintang, Mamaka by Ovolo Resort, and BGS and organized by the Asian Surf Cooperative and Halfway Kuta Boardriders.