A group of the world's best Longboard Qualifying Series surfers have arrived in Taiwan ahead of the 2017 Taiwan Open of Surfing QS1,500 event. The event will be the last of its type for the season and a last chance for competitors to grab all-important QS rankings points.
Currently leading the WSL Australia/Oceania QS rankings is Ty Watson from the South Coast of New South Wales. If Watson finds success in Taiwan and hangs on to his rankings lead he will become regional champion for 2017. Aside from bragging rights, if Watson takes the win, he will also gain a seed into the QS6,000- and 10,000-level events for the beginning of 2018.
"I've been here for a few days and the waves have been so good," Watson said. "This is my first time in Taiwan and I'm loving it, it's an epic place. If I get a good result here it will lock me in top spot. Getting into those big events next year would be so good. I'd love to have a really good crack on the QS in 2018."
Having won the Taiwan Open of Surfing in 2015, Bondi's Perth Standlick holds the event in high regard. The former top 100 surfer only competes in a few select events these days and has Taiwan at the top of his list. Standlick will be hoping he'll achieve the success here that he did two years ago.
"This is a really special event for me," Standlick said. "I only do a couple a year now and this is one of them. I think the main thing that keeps bringing me back is the waves. It never goes flat and there is a great variety of surf in the area -- it's amazing. The forecast is looking good for the next few days so I can't wait for the competition to start."
Having made the trip to Taiwan in 2015 for his first international QS event, Nolan Rapoza is back and hungry for a solid result. The Californian is stoked to be back in a place where his competitive surfing career began to take off.
"I love this place," Rapoza said. "The waves have been so fun the last few days and I hear there is more to come which is great. It's such a unique place to come and surf, the people are super friendly and the food is really good. It's a great wave for a contest as it has a big area to catch waves, which gives everyone opportunities."
Contest director and WSL Australia/Oceania Regional Manager Will Hayden-Smith is excited for the coming event with a great forecast on hand through out the events waiting period.
"We have a really great looking forecast over the coming days," Hayden-Smith said. "There is a bit of wind as well but no shortage of waves, I can't wait to see the QS guys ripping it up. This is our fifth year coming to Taiwan and it just keeps getting better, it's an amazing place with amazing surf. It's bound to be an exciting week of competition."