The 2022 Taiwan Open Of Surfing World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) has seen the men's QS 3000 event field narrowed to the Round of 16 with the completion of the Round of 64 and 32 in clean, two-to-three foot surf at Jinzun Harbour. The women's QS 5000 event remained on standby for the day.
Fresh off a win at the recent Siargao International Surfing Cup QS 1000 and a standout performance in the Round of 64, Filipino competitor John-Mark Tokong (PHL) has continued his epic run of form today, booking himself a spot in the Round of 16 at Jinzun Harbour. With an incredible competitive track-record at his perfect barreling home break of Cloud 9, Tokong is displaying he has what it takes on the face and in the air to match it with the best here at the Taiwan Open of Surfing.
"I've always loved rail surfing and doing airs but at home it's what we do at the end of the wave," Tokong said. "It's been fun learning from everyone how to perfect different aspects of my surfing and this location has always been a place for me to do that. I've been coming here for a few years now and always love it - it always provides such sick waves for the contest."
Indonesian competitor Bronson Meydi (IDN) continued to turn heads at Jinzun Harbour with his progressive approach, today posting the highest heat total of the event so far with a 16.00 point two-wave total. Both of Meydi's excellent single wave scores came from technical aerial manoeuvres, one a full-rotation air-reverse and the other a frontside board varial shove-it. With more of the same conditions expected in the coming days, Meydi has marked himself as one of the event favourites moving into the Round of 16.
"I didn't get much free-surf today so I was pretty nervous that I wasn't warmed up before that heat," Meydi said. "I got a long wave with turns to start and once I had that under my belt I felt like I was in a good rhythm to go to the air. After I stuck that reverse I was keen to try something different and that section was perfect for the shove-it so I went for it and it and got another eight. The waves are so fun here and everybody is ripping so I can't wait to get back out there."
Japan's Hiroto Arai (JPN) took an epic come from behind victory in the second heat of the Round of 32, posting his two-wave total of 12.67 (out of a possible 20) on his last two waves of the 30 minute matchup. Arai utilised both the lefts and rights to overcome previous day standouts Ketut Agus (IDN) and George Pittar (AUS) with Pittar taking the second progressing spot.
"I was so happy to get those two waves at the end," Arai said. "All of the other competitors had surfed multiple waves and I just couldn't find the right spot until the end when I eventually got that long left which seemed to get me in the rhythm. I haven't competed too much this year and am way down the rankings so I'm not too concerned about rankings points at the moment - that could be helping me deal with the pressure a bit. I'd love to get a decent result here though and grab some momentum heading into the 2023 season."
Former Taiwan Open of Surfing event winner Oney Anwar (IDN) was on the ropes in his Round of 32 heat, struggling to find a wave that allowed him to open up and display his trademark frontside finesse. Anwar looked destined for an early exit with Cooper Davies (AUS) and Rinta Oooto (JPN) holding down the top two spots for the entirety of the heat. Anwar was forced to change his tactics and move to another peak, a move that paid off as he found a long, wally righthander that allowed him to perform a number of different turns, earn the score and progress in the second spot behind Oooto.
Similar to Anwar, countryman Ryuki Waida (IDN) was left needing a mid-range score in the dying seconds of his heat if he was to progress through to the Round of 16. Waida hadn't done much damage on the scoreboard until finding what looked like a closeout, finding a ramp, and throwing a critical air-reverse to post a 6.00 point ride and move into second spot after the buzzer.
With 3000 QS points on offer for the Australia / Oceania regional rankings as well as the Asia region, the Taiwan Open of Surfing has attracted a number of Australia's best up-and-comers. Today, a handful of surfers from inside the top 15 progressed, including Reef Heazlewood (AUS), Jaggar Bartholomew (AUS), Jarvis Earle (AUS), as well as rankings leader Marlon Harrison (AUS).
Another competitor who is in the mix for CS qualification is Alister Reginato (AUS) who put on another impressive performance today, progressing into the Round of 16 with another solid display of surfing on the long lefts. Adding to his excellent score yesterday, Reginato continued to impress with his powerful and precise brand of backside surfing as well as some progression on his frontside.
"I'm feeling good," Regintao said. "That was a pretty tough heat as the waves were a bit slower and all the boys were ripping so there was some extra pressure for sure. The waves are definitely still really fun though - just a longer wait. I felt like I just wanted to let my surfing do the talking out there today and surf the wave to what it provides - just take it as it comes. That just keeps it fun."
Unfortunately other competitors in the hunt for CS qualification including Tully Wylie (AUS), Jamie Thompson (AUS), Cooper Davies (AUS), Axel Rose Curotta (AUS) and Thomas Carvalho (AUS) were unable to progress through the Round of 32 at Jinzun Harbour today.
Event organisers will reconvene at 7:00 A.M. local time to make a call on competition for a possible 7:30 A.M. start.
The 2022 Taiwan Open of Surfing Women's QS 5000 and Men's QS 3000 will run at Jinzun Harbour from November 13 - 20. The competition will be broadcasted LIVE on WorldSurfLeague.com, WSL's YouTube channel, and on the free WSL app.
The Taiwan Open of Surfing is proudly supported by the Taitung County Government.