The top seeds have hit the water on Day 2 of the Jeep International Hainan Open World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) 3000 event.
The small conditions continued but it didn’t take away from the intensity as surfers battled for qualifying points in clean 1-foot peaks.
Charly Martin (FRA) is a surfer who has spent the majority of his career surfing events inside the top 100. Having just missed the cut for the QS10,000’s in Hawaii he has returned to China with the hope of finding QS points for his 2018 seeding. In some seriously trying conditions, Heat 1 of Round Two had the intensity of a title fight match with all surfers posting scores in the final minute. Fortunately for Martin, he was able to move into the second progressing spot behind Japanese competitor Joh Azuchi.
“I saw everyone get waves at the end and thought they looked better than mine so I was pretty nervous,” Martin said. “I was pretty happy when they read the score out and I knew that I had made it. I have a good board so even though it is small I still feel good on the waves and am having fun. I came to China a few years ago and had amazing waves on Hainan so I know how good it can be. It’s good to be back here it is an epic place.”
Kaito Ohashi (JPN) is confident in his ability in small and large conditions so wasn’t fazed about what he had to face in Round 2 Heat 2. The light-footed natural-footer posted a solid 6.75 (out of a possible 10) on his opening ride and backed it up for a heat total of 10.55 (out of a possible 20). “I surf waves like this every day at home,” Ohashi said.
“I wasn’t nervous because I know that small waves like this are my strength. This is my fourth trip to China and I really like it here, this is a beautiful beach. It looks like we have a swell coming so I am looking forward to surfing my next heat.”
With the top surfer in each WSL regional QS ranking gaining a seed into the high QS events of the following season, winning the regional QS is seriously important for aspiring professionals. At the moment Indonesian prodigy Rio Waida (IDN) is leading the Asia rankings and today took 1 step closer to achieving that goal with a solid heat win in Round Two. Waida posted a Round high total of 12.10 to progress.
“I’m really happy with how I surfed that heat,” Waida said. “A score of that size is solid in these conditions so I’m confident with that. Winning the Asia region is my main goal and I feel like I’m close to achieving that. The conditions are slow but you just have to stay positive and have fun and the result will come.”
As conditions continued to deteriorate event organisers were forced to put the event on standby. Conditions will be reassessed in the morning for a potential start of Round Two Heat 5.
The 2017 Jeep International Hainan Open runs from November 16 – 19