SIHEUNG, Gyeonggi-Do, South Korea (Friday, November 17, 2023) – A huge day of firsts for the WSL was topped by mother nature as a snow flurry took centre stage on the opening day of competition for the Siheung Korea Open World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) 3,000 and Longboard Qualifying Series (LQS) 1,000 events.
Snowflakes began to fall midway through the morning, and soon a full-blown flurry turned Siheung Wave Park into a winter wonderland; the crisp turquoise lines of swell standing in stark contrast to the falling snow. For many competitors, especially those from Indonesia and the Philippines, it was their first time ever seeing snow, including Men’s QS 3000 Round of 48 standout Dhany Widianto (INA).
“This is my first time in Korea,” Widianto said. “It’s been cold, and it’s my first time seeing snow. The wave is good, just having fun.”
Caption: The razor-sharp forehand of Sky Brown (GBR) is well-suited to the unique waves of Siheung Wave Park. Credit: WSL / Miers
Sky Brown (GBR) is no stranger to wave basin technology, having previously shared many viral clips of wave pool antics. The 15-year-old delivered a strong opening performance today, building across her four allotted waves to an excellent 8.25 (out of a possible 10) in her Round of 32 heat, her sharp forehand attack matching the pace of the wave with ease.
“It felt really good,” Brown said. “It’s definitely nice to be in Korea and seeing Korea, because I’ve never been here before, and eating the good food and being in this wave pool with everyone. It’s been really fun. And yeah, it snowed, it was honestly so magical. It’s amazing here.”
Current Asia regional QS ranking leader Sara Wakita (JPN) and Minami Nonaka (JPN) also both found waves in the excellent range, while Nanaho Tsuzuki (JPN) and Kyan Yang (USA) doubled the excellence, each collecting two 8-point-plus rides to earn excellent heat totals.
Caption: One of the first surfers to represent South Korea in a WSL event on home soil, Jinhyuk Yang (KOR), takes a moment in the snow. Credit: WSL / Miers
The first heat ever surfed in a WSL event in South Korea was also the first ever LQS heat to be held in a wave basin. Jomarie Ebueza (PHI) kicked things off with a flying start, opening with a critical, stylish tight-5 that earned an 8.25. The 2022 Philippines National Champion immediately backed it up with an 8.00 to easily claim his first LQS heat win and collect the highest heat total of the LQS for the day, 16.25 (out of a possible 20).
It was a historic day for the South Korean surf community, with many local surfers competing in a WSL event in their nation for the first time. Dongcheon Yu (KOR) claimed the honor of being the very first when he surfed in the Men’s LQS. Seohyun Jun (KOR), Dohoon Yun (KOR) and Hajin Mok (KOR) progressed to the Round of 48 in the Men’s QS 3000, while Kim Viju (KOR), Nala Lee (KOR) and Im Sujeong (KOR) each had great showings in the Women’s QS 3000 Round of 32.
Competition will continue at 9:00am on Saturday, November 18 with the Men’s LQS, followed by the Women’s LQS, the Men’s QS 3000 and the Women’s QS 3000.
The Siheung Korea Open will be broadcast live on Korea’s largest network TV stations, MBC and OBS, for 3 hours on each day of the competition. The entire competition will be broadcast LIVE on WorldSurfLeague.com, the WSL’s YouTube channel, and the free WSL app. Check out more ways to watch from the WSL’s broadcast partners.
For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.