Ichinomiya Chiba Open

Top Seeds Set Sights on Victory in Japan

Keanu Asing No. 1 seed for the Ichinomiya Chiba Open Keanu Asing free surfing during the recent Rio Pro CT event - WSL / Daniel Smorigo

With only one day until competition gets underway at the Ichinomiya Chiba Open Men's Qualifying Series (QS) 6,000, Women's QS1,000 combined event, anticipation is growing amongst the world's best surfers to see what Shida point will have in store for them over the next week.

Coming into the event as the No. 1 seed is Championship Tour (CT) competitor Keanu Asing (HAW). Asing has had a tough start to the year on the CT and is hoping to gain some all important qualification points this week at the Ichinomiya Chiba Open.

Keanu Asing placed second in his round two heat. Asing showing his power at the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro - WSL / Kelly Cestari

"I've had a bad start to the year so I really want to try and make some heats at this contest," Asing said. "No matter what rating a contest is I take them all as seriously as one and other. Every time I pull on the contest jersey I'm aiming to win. I competed at an event in Japan a few years ago and loved it. There is such a cool surf scene here, it's unlike anywhere else I've travelled to so I'm really stoked to be back here."

Current QS ratings leader Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) has had a strong start to the year with a second place finish at the first two QS6,000 events of the year. Coupled with a Quarterfinal birth at the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro CT event, the young Italian is full of confidence coming into Japan and aims for another strong result as he looks to qualify for the 2017 CT.

Leonardo Fioravanti during the Quarterfinals. QS rakings leader Leonardo Fioravanti on his way to an equal 5th at the Drug Aware Magaret River Pro CT event - WSL / Ed Sloane

After a busy start to the year, competing in events in the USA and Australia, current world No. 48 Reika Noro (JPN) is the top seed for the Women's event. Noro is excited to compete in her home country. Although she is enjoying the relaxed feeling of competing in Japan, Noro is aiming for a win at Shida Point this week.

Reika Noro (JPN). Pantin 2015 Reika Noro hacking a left late last year - WSL / Laurent Masurel

"I'm glad that there is a QS event like this at home," Noro said. "Competing nn Japan with Japanese and overseas competitors is going to be an amazing experience. I want to make sure I enjoy this competition but most of all I am aiming to win. I can't wait to see the international men and women surf at Shida point, I just hope everyone will enjoy their time in Japan."

The Ichinomiya Chiba Open will run from May 23 - 30 and be webcast live on the event site and the [WSL App](www.worldsurfleague.com/app.