The stage has been set for Finals Day at the 2022 Taiwan Open Of Surfing World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) in both the women's QS 5000 and men's QS 3000 events. Eight heats running today saw the completion of the Quarterfinals in clean three-to-four foot waves at Jinzun Harbour.
Charli Hurst (AUS) and Willow Hardy (AUS) have each guaranteed a career best result, both finding their way into the Semifinals here in Taiwan. Hardy narrowly overcame fellow Australian competitor Alysse Cooper (AUS) by just 0.03 of a point. For Hurst, it was a more definitive win with the young South Coaster overcoming QS veteran Philippa Anderson (AUS) in their Quarterfinal matchup. Hurst will take on event standout Nanaho Tsuzuki (JPN) in Semifinal 2 when competition resumes.
"The conditions changed quite a bit just before my heat so I swapped which board I was going to ride," Hurst said. "Thankfully it was the right decision in the end because the board felt really good under my feet. This is my first time to Taiwan and I'm loving it. The waves are so fun and it's very beautiful - plus I'm getting my best result which makes it all the more special."
Minami Nonaka (JPN) and Nanaho Tsuzuki (JPN) have continued their charge through the field in Taiwan, both winning their way into the Semifinals with emphatic victories today at Jinzun Harbour. With an equal third place finish or better guaranteed, whoever places higher in the event will leave the Taiwan Open of Surfing leading the regional rankings and heading into 2023 with a solid chance of qualifying for the Challenger Series.
"This is a super important result for me and I'm so happy to still be going in the event with 5000 points up for grabs," Tsuzuki said. "I'm really enjoying the waves at this event - it reminds me a lot of home so I feel very comfortable here. With the waves so fun like this I just want to keep making heats to have the opportunity to surf out here more with no one out and if I move up the rankings that is just a bonus."
Quarterfinal 2 was a battle of the Sunshine Coast as Alister Reginato (AUS) came up against Reef Heazlewood (AUS). With two contrasting styles the pair went back and forth, trying to better one another on every wave ridden. Reginato showed raw power on his waves but it was the light, super fast finesse of Heazlewood that got the nod from the judges as he took the heat with an impressive two-wave total of 13.84. Reef will take on another in form surfer in Hiroto Arai (JPN) in the first heat of the men's Semifinals when competition resumes.
"I was able to get a good wave right at the start which got me off to a good start," Heazlewood said. "I always knew Alister would make it tough and I could never give up, which was cool. It's always good to come up against competitors that push you a lot - he certainly pushes me. It's cool to see the Aussies support one another and I could certainly feel the support coming for both of us - Alister is someone that everybody loves including myself."
The other Semifinal to be contested tomorrow will feature former event winner here at the Taiwan Open of Surfing in Oney Anwar (IDN) who has been one of the form surfers of the week here at Jinzun Harbour. If Anwar is to add another Taiwan Title to his name, he'll first have to overcome Australian prodigy Jarvis Earle (AUS) who continued to charge towards Finals Day today, overcoming Daiki Tanaka (JPN) with another strong performance on his frontside earning him a 13.83 two-wave total. Earle's style fits the criteria perfectly, displaying plenty of speed, power, flow and progression and the youngster will be tough to beat when competition resumes tomorrow morning.
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.