Finalists have been decided across all divisions of the Taiwan Open of Surfing hosted by Taitung County government. The 3rd day of competition has bought with it some of the best conditions in the event's history with clean 4 foot A-frames at Jinzun Harbour.
The first person to make it through to the Men's Qualifying Series (QS) 1,500 Quarterfinal was Australia's Jackson Baker. Baker had a shocking start to the heat as he didn't make it out the back until 3 minutes had past on the clock. Once he did make it out there he found a long right-hander and threw down one of the most solid combinations of the event. The crowd went wild and Baker was rewarded with a near perfect 9.80 (out of a possible 10) and the heat win.
"That was definitely the best heat I have surfed in a while," Baker said. "It didn't start that well though -- I barely made it past the shore break. When I finally got out there and composed myself that one wave came through and was just perfect. I had so many epic sections on it. I'm really happy with how I surfed it."
The Taiwan Open of Surfing also makes up part of the Asian Surfing Championship (ASC) tour. As this is the final event of the ASC tour it also decides its champion. Dede Suryana came into the Taiwan Open in front on the ASC rankings and was able to flare all event taking the Asian Surfing Championship and landing himself in the Quarterfinal of the World Surf League QS1,500.
"I'm so happy to do well here in Taiwan," Suryana said. "The waves are good today, they're a bit bigger which is good for me. It's always good when the waves turn on for a contest so everyone gets a shot. I'm looking forward to the finals tomorrow."
Victorian ripper Cody Robinson continued his searing form at Jinzun Harbour today dropping the biggest Heat Total of the event so far - 17.65 out of a possible 20. Robinson moves into the Quarterfinals for the biggest result of his career.
"I've been feeling good on my backhand so have been going for these lefts all event," Robinson said. "This is the furthest I've been in a contest of this size so I'm super keen to keep going and am confident I could take it out."
As the event is co-sanctioned between the WSL regions of Australasia and Japan, it is the event that decides the regional QS champion for the two. Reo Inaba was able to take out his heat and therefor the Japan QS. This enables Inaba a spot in all of the QS6,000 and 10,000 events for the first half of 2017.
"I'm so happy," Inaba said. "All I want is to surf in the big QS events and in the Hawaiian Triple Crown and now I can. I came really close last year but just missed so this feels so good. It would have to be my best achievement."
Young American Longboarder Kevin Skvarna put on an amazing show in his Longboard Qualifying Series Quarterfinal. Riding a more traditional style single fin longboard, Skvarna finds it more appropriate to ride the nose. He did this with spades of style and through the critical sections of the wave to win his way into the Men's LQS Semifinal.
"The waves are so pumping out there, just perfect," Skvarna said. "I ride a single-fin so when I need a score I find nose riding to be my best tactic. That was just so fun and I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings."
Hailing from Reunion Island, Justine Mauvin is no stranger to long left-handers, not to dissimilar to the ones on offer at Jinzun Harbour today. Mauvin comfortably moved into the Women's LQS final as she enjoyed the pumping surf on her first trip to Taiwan.
"I absolutely love it here, it's beautiful, the people are nice and the waves are so perfect," Mauvin said. "When I arrived this morning I could not believe it, I didn't realize the waves go this good here. It was so perfect for both longboarding and shortboards, it's a great event."
Although he came just short of making the Quarterfinals of the QS1,500 event, Shane Holmes' equal 9th means that he has finished on top of the WSL Australasia QS rankings. Winning the regional QS has given Holmes a seed into all of the QS6,000 and 10,000 events for 2017, something Holmes was not setting out to do at the beginning of the year.
"I'm so stoked to have taken it out," Holmes said. "This was not something I ever really planned on doing but started to get a few results. Now it is time to head home and get stuck into some training and get serious for the QS next year. It will be a big summer of working and saving for all of the travel next year but I'm so stoked."