Nanaho Tsuzuki (JPN) and Jarivs Earle (JPN) have claimed their maiden World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) event wins at the 2022 Taiwan Open Of Surfing. Jinzun Harbour continued to deliver the goods with Finals Day seeing clean waves in the two-to-three foot range.
Tsuzuki Claims Maiden Qualifying Series Win - Moves To Top of WSL Asia Regional Rankings
This year saw the first ever women's QS event run at the Taiwan Open of Surfing and with 5000 points on offer, it was one of the most hotly contested of the 2022 season. Although the event was co-sanctioned between the Asia and Australia / Oceania regions, the women's Final saw the top 2 competitors on the Asia regional rankings go head-to-head in Nanaho Tsuzuki (JPN) and Minami Nonaka (JPN) with top spot on the line. In the Final, over 20 waves were surfed between the pair with Tsuzuki posting a 12.23 two-wave total for back-to-back, long left handers, that allowed her to open up and display her impressive backhand surfing. Although Nonaka answered back, it wasn't enough to take the lead, leaving Tsuzuki to take her maiden QS win and the top spot on the WSL Asia Regional Rankings
"I'm so happy right now," Tsuzuki said. "I've been wanting to win an event for a while now and to finally get it feels amazing. It was so good to match up with my good friend Minami (Nonaka) and share a heat with her. This is my first trip to Taiwan and I love it here. The waves have been so much fun and I can't wait to come back here again. It's such a beautiful and fun place."
Although she fell short of the win and Tsuzuki knocked her out of top spot on the rankings, Minami Nonaka (JPN) is now over 4000 points clear of third on the rankings and looking like a solid chance at claiming a spot on the Challenger Series in 2023.
"It is hard to know I was so close to winning the event but didn't do it in the end," Nonaka said. "I am happy to see my friend win and to make it all the way to the final is great -- but it has motivated me to go further next time."
18-Year-Old Jarvis Earle Earns The Biggest Result Of His Career
Cronulla youngster Jarvis Earle (AUS) arrived a week early in Taiwan to prepare for the event but to also surf some of the other spots along the beautiful coastline and it was obvious from the first heat he surfed that he was in rhythm with the place. Earle was the man to beat all week, posting some of the highest single rides of the event for his quick, precise and progressive approach. In the Final, he came up against Reef Heazlewood (AUS), a competitor with a very similar style and who had also been turning heads throughout the week. The pair went wave for wave but it was Earle who was unbeatable, posting an 8.17 (out of a possible 10) for a series of snaps into a tail-high, air-reverse. He then backed it up with a 6.33 for a two-wave total of 14.50. With the ocean going quiet in the last five minutes, Earle was able to keep his opponent off the waves and hold onto the lead to take the win. Earle is now sitting on top of the Australia / Oceania rankings ahead of a long leg of events in Australia commencing next February.
"I'm so stoked to get the win here in Taiwan," Earle said. "I've been here in Taiwan for a while now and have really enjoyed it - it's such a sick place for an event. It was awesome to compete against Reef in the Final, he's definitely a surfer I've always looked up to and it was so cool to share a heat with him, especially a final. I really want to qualify for the Challenger Series in 2023 and this result will go a long way to helping me get there. I hope to build momentum from here going into the Aussie leg."
After a slow start to the competitive year by his lofty standards, a second place finish is just what Reef Heazlewood (AUS) needed to get his year back on track. Heazlewood was aiming for a win but was happy to finish in second, to who he believed, was the ‘standout performer' of the event.
"I've had a bit of a shocking year competitively so I'm stoked to get it back on track with a Final appearance," Heazlewood. "At the end of the day though - I want to win these things and that will be the aim when I get to the next event in Australia next year. Jarvis was definitely the standout performer all week so I was always wondering if me or anyone could take him down and no one could in the end. I'm stoked for him to take the win. I've loved it here in Taiwan and have met so many amazing people. I'll definitely be coming back to see friends and enjoy the waves."
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 Taiwan Open of Surfing is proudly supported by the Taitung County Government.