The men and women's Qualifying Series (QS) heads toward the land of the rising sun for the Ichinomiya Chiba Open April 29 - May 5. A critical stopping point for the men awaits with 6,000 points up for grabs and some of the world's most elite competitors in attendance once more. On the other side of the draw, the women will vie for 1,000 points and Shino Matsuda has a repeat victory in her sights.

Men and Women Return to the Land of the Rising Sun
The fourth annual Ichinomiya Chiba Open is back and the fields are filled with world-class talent.

Heavy-Hitters Lined Up For 6,000 Points

QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 4: Reef Heazlewood of Australia places second in the 2019 Red Bull Airborne Gold Coast at Duranbah Beach on April 4, 2019 in Queensland, Australia.  (Photo by Kelly Cestari/WSL via Getty Images) 2019 standout Reef Heazlewood comes into Ichinomiya hunting down 6,000 valubable points. - WSL / Kelly Cestari

The 2019 edition will welcome back some of the QS elite, and former Championship Tour (CT) competitors from across the world such as Ethan Ewing, Matt Banting, Patrick and Tanner Gudauskas, Miguel Pupo, and Alex Ribeiro. As well as a plethora of upcoming talent including recent Quiksilver Gold Coast Pro standout Reef Heazlewood, 2018 World Junior Champion Mateus Herdy, and 2019 Volcom Pipe Pro winner Jack Robinson.

Hiroto Ohhara.JPN at  the 2019 Vissla Manly Surf Pro at Manly Beach, NSW, Australia. Local hero Hiroto Ohhara returns as one of Japan's favorites in search of his first win at home. - WSL / Matt Dunbar

This event is a paramount stop toward qualifying for the 2020 CT, something last year's winner Ryan Callinan and runner-up Seth Moniz can attest to as Callinan re-qualified and Moniz joined the CT as a rookie using this result, and has proven to be a difference maker in their campaign runs.   Japanese standout competitors Hiroto Ohhara and Reo Inaba will look to claim the Ichinomiya Chiba Open title for their home country for the first time in event history.   "I'm always happy that I can compete for the QS6,000 at my home break," Ohhara said. "I feel more comfortable and more confident. It's going to be a good chance for local spectators to see the level of surfers I always compete against around the world. I'm more eager to win this than any other events. I want to keep on winning as many heats as I can."

Shino Matsuda Looks To Defend Her Event Title

Shino Matsuda (JPN) at the Gotcha Ichinomiya Chiba Open QS 6,000. Shino Matsuda - WSL / Kawana

The women's event also returns for the fourth edition and Shino Matsuda is back to defend her title. The upcoming talent finished No. 68 on the international rankings and fifth on the Asia regional rankings last year, only competing in two regional events.   This event continues to showcase the next generation of competitors coming out of Japan and the Asia region as a whole alongside a few scattered international talents coming in to hunt points.

Women's QS1,000 Final Day Highlights
Dive into last year's finals day highlights showcasing Shino Matsuda's big win.

"I am very excited to participate in the QS event held here again in Chiba" Matsuda said. "I'm visualizing winning this year and challenge the tournament since there are a lot of international competitors coming and they do power surfing. My goals are to do my best to win even more overseas events with the intention of giving more skill to the part there."

This event is something of significance for the local community and its leaders couldn't be more proud to host some of the world-class competitors on hand.   "As the head of the local Ichinomiya town, I am very happy that the contest for QS6000 will be held on the Tsurigasaki coast in Honcho," Mayor of Ichinomiya Masaya Mabuchi said. "The QS 6,000 contest is a high-grade competition where the world's top surfers gather. Next year, Tsurigasaki Beach of Ichinomiya is the 2020 Tokyo Olympics host for the surfing competition venue. We sincerely hope that all the top surfers in the world can play in the best condition."   "Ichinomiyacho Tsurigasaki Coast is a sacred place where the ancient culture ‘Kazusa Jyunisha Festival' has been held for over 1,200 years," Ichinomiya Town Counselor Kiyohisa Uzawa added. "As a new culture on the stage of the historic Tsurigasaki coast, the World Surf League competition is a big one. We are very pleased that this year's event will continue and we sincerely welcome all the visitors from all over the world."

The Ichinomiya Chiba Open will run at Tsurigasaki Beach, Ichinomiya, Japan, from April 29 - May 5.

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