The Taiwan Open Of Surfing Hosted by Taitung County Government got underway today with an opening ceremony attended by the international contingent of surfers and local dignitaries. This year's event will feature a men's 1-Star ASP Qualifying Series (QS) division that's co-sanctioned by the Asian Surfing Championship (ASC) â€” as well as men's and women's Longboard Qualifying Series (LQS) events to combine for three ASP divisions in Taiwan for the first time.
Jun Shiiba (JPN), last year's Taiwan Open Of Surfing QS champion is back to defend his title and is excited to get back in the surf at Taitung.
â€œI'm looking forward to competing in the Taiwan Open Of Surfing this year,â€ Shiiba said. â€œI surprised myself last year when I won the event. It was my best tournament of the year and I'm hoping to do well again this time. Taiwan is a great place with great food and now after last year I'm excited to return and see my Taiwanese friends.â€
Nic Jones (Sunshine Coast, QLD/AUS) has been coming to Taiwan for the past three years and is thrilled to be here to compete in both the longboard and shortboard QS divisions. Jones is one of the few surfers in the world who competes on both tours and has been here for a week preparing for the event and will be one to watch as the event gets down to the business end.
â€œThis is an event I look forward to all year,â€ Jones said. â€œWe had a good swell when I arrived a week ago so it's been great to explore and check out some different waves. I've been getting out on both short and longboards, but probably surfing my longboard a little more as the LQS is my main focus here this year.â€
Taylor Jensen (San Diego, CA/USA), two-time ASP World Longboard Champion finished runner-up in the longboard division at last year's Taiwan Open of Surfing and has returned to try and go one better this year.
â€œI haven't been in a competition jersey for a while now,â€ Jensen said. â€œWe have the World Longboard Championships in a few weeks so this event will be great to get a feel for things again. I've been to Taiwan a few times now and I just love it, when you show up for a competition at some places the locals aren't too happy to share their waves, but here they welcome us and treat us so well and we always score some good waves.â€
Justin Redman (Dunsborough, WA/AUS) is in Taiwan for his first time and is looking forward to soaking up the sun, surf and culture that's on offer. Redman has had a solid year competing on the ASP Australasia LQS and is currently ranked third heading into the final event of the 2014 season.
â€œThis is my first time to Taiwan,â€ Redman said. â€œI've heard a lot of good stories from people in my home town in Yallingup and I've been really looking forward to coming here with the warm weather, good surf and uncrowded breaks. I've competed in the two ASP events in Western Australia this year where I did pretty well and the points on offer at this contest are definitely a drawcard.â€
Justin Huang, Taitung County Governor, is proud to see the Taiwan Open
continue to grow and showcase to the world the waves, culture and lifestyle that Taitung County has to offer.
â€œWe wouldn't have an event if it wasn't for you surfers, so on behalf of Taitung I'd like to thank you and officially welcome you to our city,â€ he said. â€œThis is the fourth year of this event and it's grown every year. We hope that the surfers, the media and the surfing fans enjoy what they see of Taitung.â€