NewsIchinomiya Chiba OpenSara Wakita

Men and Women's Fields Narrow at Ichinomiya

The rains returned toward the end of men's Round 4 which looked to put an end to an otherwise massive day of competition, but the torrential downpour passed and the Gotcha Ichinomiya Chiba Open QS 1,000 women's event got back underway to decide their Quarterfinalists. Japan's brightest and best upcoming talents are all in attendance, and all are showcasing the future of their country's surfing in great form.

The next call for women will be that of finals day and a 2019 victor awaits crowning, meet your Round 2 victors who surged their way into the Quarterfinals.

Kana Nakashio's Jaw Dropping Performance

Kana Nakashio (JPN) winning her Round 1 heat at the Gotcha Ichinomiya Chiba Open QS 1,000. Kana Nakashio's forehand was intact once more for a big win. WSL / Kawana

Nakashio looks unstoppable so far in the event with dominant performances in both of her heats. The 15-year-old continues to deliver the women's best surfing and garnered a near-perfect 9.33 (out of a possible 10) and 16.73 (out of a possible 20) -- both the women's best. Nakashio now resides in Ichinomiya after a devastating natural disaster required her to move.   "That was really lucky and couldn't believe that wave came to me, I really enjoyed that one," Nakashio said. "I'd be really excited to win this event. I live here now so it would be really exciting to win this event for the hometown crowd. I'm originally from Sendai, North Japan, and unfortunately we've had tsunami and earthquake since 2011 so we had to leave."  

Noteworthy Wins Complete Round 2

Sara Wakita (JPN) earning runner-up in her Round 1 heat at the Ichinomiya Chiba Open. Sara Wakita looks to continue her 2019 form. WSL / Kawana

An in-form Sara Wakita topped defending event winner Shino Matsuda with a 14.53 heat total -- helping eliminate QS threat Minori Kawai (JPN). The current QS No. 7 already has a runner-up to her name behind Sage Erickson earlier this season and is feeding on that confidence.

"It would mean a lot to win this event since I have my background here and surfed here half my life," Wakita said. "I haven't won a QS yet so even a smaller event would be amazing. That result in Australia was my career best and to get a Final result, and get to compete against Sage Erickson was a great experience. My dreams are at the CT but I don't think my surfing is there yet so I want to improve my technique and heat strategy."

Nao Omura at the Port Stephens Toyota Pro Nao Omura WSL / Tom Bennett

Also notching Round 2 wins Nao Omura and Amuro Tsuzuki.

"I waited in the beginning to get a good wave and it worked out to get that 8.00 so I was really happy," Omura said. "That rain was really heavy but there was still good conditions out there. I'm glad they didn't call it off for the day. I haven't been surfing home much after spending time in Australia so it's good to be back here."

Amuro Tsuzuki (JPN) during Round 2 of Pull&Bear Pantin CLassic Galicia Pro 2018 Amuro Tsuzuki WSL / Damien Poullenot

"I was glad the weather turned around after it got really bad for a long time it felt like," Tsuzuki said. "It was good to go out and feel right back . My brother is over in Krui giving his best so I have to do the same. The support is amazing and I'm so thankful to feel that kind of push."

A 6:30 a.m. JST call will determine a start to either men's Round 5 or women's Quarterfinals.

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