Day one of competition at the Taiwan Open of Surfing hosted by Taitung County Government got underway this morning in 3-to-4 foot waves at Jinzun Harbour. After event organisers were forced to call competition off due to tough conditions yesterday, today Round 1 and 2 of the QS1,500 were completed and six heats of Round 1 of the Men's LQS event.
Round 1 of the men's QS1,500 saw eight heats of hotly contested action involving a number of Taiwan's best surfers taking on QS competitors from all around the world. One competitor who progressed through to Round 2 and then to Round was Chia-Yao Hsu (TPE).
"I'm very happy," Hsu said. "Today the waves are really good. Surfing with all of these professional surfers is an amazing experience for me. Watching Garrett Parkes was awesome, he was doing such huge airs."
The first of the seeded surfers hit the water in round two and the excitement was high from the first minute of Heat 1 with Garret Parkes (AUS) pulling an effortless air-reverse for his first manoeuvre. He then continued to post the highest heat total of the day - 18.85 (out of a possible 20) with a radical display of aerial surfing. He moves through with fellow Australian Perth Standlick (AUS) into Round 3.
"I saw that the wider ones had a lot of face to work with," Parkes said. "Once I had locked in the 7 and a 9 I felt comfortable to just have some fun and then I got the 9.85. The waves are really fun when they come."
Heat 2 was filled with talent featuring current WSL Australasia Junior Series Champion Kai Hing (AUS) who narrowly overcame Hakstar Mattara Pro Champion Dale Lovelock in 2nd and Cloud Nine Surfing Cup Champion, [John Mark Tokong] (https://www.worldsurfleague.com/athletes/7678/john-mark-tokong?isearch=true&scategory=all) in 3rd. Hing kept calm under pressure to reclaim the lead in the final minutes of the heat.
"The waves are really fun today," Hing said. "I'm really glad the wind has backed off today and we have got good waves. I've been here once before but not to compete. I love it in Taiwan, the people are nice, and the food is great. I haven't competed for a while so it's good to be back in a jersey and getting good waves at an event is always a bonus."
Heat 7 of Round 2 was an almost all French affair with Tristan Guilbaud, Paul Cesar Distinguin and Edouard Delpero taking on Hawaiian Alex Pendleton. Distinguin held the lead from the beginning with Delpero and Pendleton jousting for 2nd until the last minute when Guilbaud took off on a left scoring the highest single wave score of the heat, an 8.50 (out of a possible 10) to move into 2nd and progress with Distinguin into Round 3.
"Its hard surfing against other guys from home," Distinguin said. "I tried to get the rights at the beginning of the heat then got a good score at the end on a left, it was a tough heat. I'm really enjoying the waves I've been getting here in Taiwan, I'm looking forward to my next heat."
In one of the most nail biting heats of the day, Japan's most famous surfer, Masatoshi Ohno came up against Harry Mann (AUS) Yukio Ogawa (JPN) and Daiki Tanaka (JPN). Ohno was patient while the others went wave for wave. His patience didn't pay off in the end, as he was unable to over come his countrymen Ogawa who finished 2nd and young Tanaka, who took the heat win.
"The waves are really fun today," Tanaka said. "That was the first time I have surfed against Masatoshi, I have always looked up to him so I was very nervous. I'm so happy to have won that heat, I didn't think I could beat Masatoshi."
After running Rounds 1 and 2 of the men's QS1,500 event it was time for the men's LQS event to hit the water. Within the first six heats, two, two-time Longboard World Champions took to the water in Harley Ingleby (AUS) and Taylor Jensen (USA). Jensen was happy to get through his heat at the end of a huge day of competition.
"It's been a long day," Jensen said. "There have been waves all day, there hasn't been one dead heat. Every heat has had a lot of sets so it's been great. I'm just glad I finally got to surf."
All the action at the Taiwan Open of Surfing is set to continue tomorrow from 6:30am local time when Round 2 of the Men's LQS is completed. Watch live at worldsurfleague.com and on the WSL App.