Hainan Classic

Small Surf, Intense Pressure at Hainan Classic

The Hainan Classic, a men's Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) 4-Star Qualifying Series (QS) event resumed in challenging 1 - 2 foot surf after moving down the beach because the primary event location was too small. The third annual Hainan Wanning Riyue Bay International Surfing Festival combines both ASP and International Surfing Association (ISA) events offering the athletes the chance to compete for national pride and personal QS rankings points.

Dale Lovelock (AUS) battled through two heats and was in solid form all day, posting excellent scores while his counterparts struggled to adapt to the conditions. Lovelock has advanced into the Quarterfinals and will be one to watch as the event transitions from four-man heats to man-on-man.

“My plan was to try and get off to an early lead and so far so good,” Lovelock said. “You can't get down about the conditions because everyone has to deal with the same thing. You just go out there with confidence and stick to the game plan and hope that it all comes together.”

Deivid Silva from Brazil winning through to the Quarterfinals at the Association of Surfing Professionals 4 Star World Qualifying Series event at Riyue Wan Hainan Island China November 25 - 29 Deivid Silva getting busy on his backhand. - WSL / Steve Robertson

Deivid Silva (BRA) looked right at home in the small surf at the Riyue Bay beach break today, finding speed and turn sections seemingly with ease. Silva has advanced into the Quarterfinals where he will match-up against fellow Brazilian Luan Wood when competition resumes.

“This is like the surf at home in Brazil sometimes so I feel comfortable,” Silva said. “It's small and difficult at times, but I was still having fun this morning when the waves were clean. I'm happy to be into the Quarterfinals and I'm excited to get back out there.”

Miguel Tudela (PER) advanced in second position behind Lovelock in Round 3 in one of the most intense heats of the day. All four surfers held one good score, so the advancing positions were decided by their backup waves.

“That could be the toughest conditions I've ever surfed in a heat!” Tudela said. “I was going to just try to go left because that's what all the guys were doing in the heat before mine, then Dale (Lovelock) caught a really good right and got a big score. Then the other two guys got big scores and I was in third for most of the heat — luckily I was able to get a good one of my own at the end and jump into second.”

Chinese Statues at the 2014 Hainan Classic 4-Star ASP QS Chinese statues checking the surf. - WSL / Will H-S

Harrison Mann (AUS) relied on his explosive backhand surfing to advance at the Hainan Classic today. Mann's Round 3 heat was close and intense as all four surfers fought hard for a two spots in the next Round. Mann sealed his spot in the last minute when he unloaded a barrage of vertical turns. He will now surf in Round 4 for a place in the Quarterfinals.

“The left running into the rocks was way better than the point today, I'm really happy we moved down here,” Mann said. “All the guys were hassling for waves because it was a small take off spot, you just had to try to be on the inside when a good one came through. This is my first time to China and I'm having a great time, the surf has been small but I've still had a lot of fun so far.”

Dylan Lightfoot (ZAF) wasn't hampered by the small surf on offer, using both his backhand and forehand attack to secure a solid heat win. Lightfoot is now just one heat away from a Quarterfinal berth and will take on Harrison Mann (AUS), Kai Hing (AUS) and Miguel Tudela (PER) in the next heat when competition resumes.

“That was hard work out there,” Lightfoot said. “That's what it takes to be a professional surfer, you sometimes get to surf perfect waves, but you also have to be on point in small surf. I'm happy that I'm still in the event and I'm hoping we get some fun surf later in the week.”

The ASP 4-Star Hainan Classic will run from November 25 - 28. More information HainanInternationalSurfingFestival.com/hainan-classic