With only a day left until the inaugural Jeep International Hainan Open kicks off in QuingShui Bay in Lingshui County, 100 of the world's best male surfers have arrived in China ahead of competition. The event is the final World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) 3,000 event of the season meaning there is important points up for grabs for competitors hoping to improve their seeds for 2018.
The World Surf League has been running competitions in China for more than six years and is excited to be showcasing a new location in 2017. Lingshui is known for its surfing potential and its beach break peaks are perfectly suited for an event of this kind. WSL Asia Regional Manager Stephen Robertson is excited to see what the week has on hand for everyone involved.
"Year after year I have been blown away by the consistency of the surf here in China," Robertson said. "The WSL is stoked to be in a new region of the island of Hainan and can't wait to see what it has to offer in the way of surf. It looks like the forecast is promising late in the event window so we can't wait to get competition underway."
Competitors who have come to China are looking to gain important qualifying points to improve their ranking on the WSL Qualifying Series. Once they break into the top 100 they are able to have a good run at qualifying for the elite Championship Tour. Being a QS3,000 event, the Jeep International Hainan Open is one of the most important events for competitors like Chilean Manuel Selman, who are sitting just outside the top 100.
"Coming to this event is super strategic for me," Selman said. "It's a really important event for me as a good result could put me inside the top 100 next year. There is a great opportunity for a lot of guys here so we are all hoping we get some waves in the next few days and get a good go at it."
Another way competitors can get a seed into the higher-ranking QS events is to finish on top of their regional QS rankings. At the moment, young Indonesian superstar Rio Waida is sitting in No. 1 on the rankings and will be hoping to leave China as the regional champion.
"This has been a great year for me," Waida said. "I have had some great results so it would be really special to finish on top of the Asia QS rankings. It was never a plan for me this year but if I can achieve it and get a spot in the big QS10,000 events next year it would be a dream come true. I'm stoked to be in China so let's hope the waves turn on and we have an amazing event."