The world's best longboarders have arrived in Taiwan ahead of the 2018 WSL World Longboard Championship, which will run in conjunction with the Taiwan Open of Surfing. 36 men and 18 women competitors will be feasting on the peaks of Jinzun Harbour with epic conditions forecast for the opening day of the event window.
Returning to Jinzun Harbour in Taitung County for his seventh consecutive year is reigning World Longboard Champion Taylor Jensen. Jensen has a strong affinity with the waves in the Taitung area as it was the place where he clinched his third world title.
"I've been coming to Taiwan for close to 10 years, it's always really nice to get to come back and see all the friends I've made here over the years. When I showed up at the beach yesterday I took a minute to kind of relive winning last year and that was pretty rad."
After a long gap between winning the Championship, the San Diegan native was relieved to get the monkey off his back in 2017 with another title win. Jensen hopes his knowledge of the waves at Jinzun will allow him to take his fourth title in 2018.
"I had a 5 year gap in between my second World Title and my third and I don't think I finished below 5th in that time. It's definitely relieved some of that frustration. I feel like I had a learning year here last year, I made some silly mistakes and it nearly cost me the title but I've learnt from them. The waves here are really consistent and it looks like we're going to have some good swell this week so I hope the winds stay light and we get a few magic days."
Honolua Blomfield made her mark on the surfing world in 2017, taking her maiden World Title at only 18 years of age. The Hawaiian born prodigy is back in Taiwan and has been preparing to go back-to-back for a shot at a second title.
"It's so good to be back here in Taiwan," Blomfield said. "This is one of my favourite waves in the world, especially for a contest because it's so consistent. I've been here practicing for a few days and am really excited for the event to start. Although last year was so special for me I know I've got a lot of work to do if I want to get another win here - it's definitely my main goal though."
WSL contest director Will Hayden-Smith is excited to be back at the Taiwan Open of Surfing and is confident that the event will see awesome waves in the opening days of the window.
"The forecast is looking really promising for this week," Hayden Smith said. "We always score good waves here in Taiwan and this week looks no different. If we can luck into a few days of light wind, we will be crowning our Longboard World Champions in amazing waves. It's bound to be an exciting week of surfing and I wish good luck to all of our competitors."