OMAEZAKI BEACH, Shizuoka, Japan (Monday, August 28, 2023) – Japanese duo Riaru Ito (JPN) and Sumomo Sato (JPN) have claimed victory at the 2023 Omaezaki Pro World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) 1000 event. The pair overcame a field of over 90 competitors in super fun surf at Omaezaki as Asia’s best up-and-comers look to lock in a spot on the 2024 WSL Challenger Series.
Riaro Ito (JPN) showed excellent form all week at Omaezaki but had a massive challenge in the Final as he came up against one of Japan’s most established competitors, Hiroto Ohhara (JPN). Ohhara took an early lead and looked in control of the heat. Ito was eventually able to find rhythm, posting an excellent 8.00 point ride (out of a possible 10) for a committed air-reverse which he followed up with a couple of turns. Ito then backed it up for a heat total of 14.80 (out of a possible 20), which was enough to give him the biggest win of his career.
“I’m so happy to be able to win here in Omaezaki,” Ito said. “I’ve been competing for a long time, and this is my first win, so it feels amazing. To get a win over Hiroto feels great – he is one of the best ever from Japan. I knew if I could land an air and back it up with maneuvers, I’d get a good score, and I’m glad I made it happen. I’m enjoying all of the support from my friends and am looking forward to the next QS 5000 in Nias.”
Fresh off a Semifinal finish at the recent Tamil Nadu International Surf Open in India, Sumomo Sato (JPN) came into her home event in Omaezaki, hoping to continue her solid run of form. To claim her maiden WSL victory, Sato would have to overcome Mirai Ikeda (JPN), who had been the woman to beat all week, posting the highest heat totals in every round. In the Final, Sato’s local knowledge showed as she found multiple set waves and got busy on her backside to spot a winning two-wave combination of 11.75.
“I really wanted to win the event because it is my hometown,” Sato said. “I was so exhausted after my Semifinal and had to focus on my breathing and reset. I was able to settle myself enough to surf how I wanted and get the win, which feels amazing. This is such a good experience for me as I have a few more major events this year that I’d love to do well at – including the World Junior Championships. I’m so happy to win in front of my hometown and get all this support.”
The Omaezaki Pro QS 1000 ran from August 24 – 28, 2023. For more information, head to www.worldsurflague.com or download the Free WSL App.