Pumping surf greeted competitors at the 2016 Taiwan Open of Surfing hosted by Taitung County Government. A huge Final day saw champions crowned across three WSL and local divisions. Indonesian sensation Oney Anwar won the Qualifying Series (QS) 1,500 event, Frenchman Edouard Delpero took out the Men’s Longboard Qualifying Series (LQS) event over North Carolina native Tony Silvagni, and the Women’s LQS event was won by Honolua Bloomfield. Conditions were tough at Jinzun Harbour on the Final day with 4 foot waves and strong cross shore winds.
“It’s amazing to be back in Taiwan,” Silvagni said. “The waves are really fun out there today, they have a lot of push. I’ve got some really good boards at the moment which is great. There is a lot of great competitors here so to go back-to-back will be really tough. I’m just stoked to be back here in Taitung.”
Oney Anwar’s QS1,500 win is the biggest of his career. Anwar came up against Australian Cody Robinson who along with Anwar had been a standout all event. Anwar controlled the majority of the final after he dropped a single wave score of 6.25 out of a possible 10 and backed it up with an excellent 9.00 point ride. Anwar was on fire, throwing water everywhere with his powerful carves and boosting massive air-reverses.
“I’m so stoked I can’t believe it,” Anwar said. “I really enjoy the waves in Taiwan and even though it was stormy today the waves were still good. It’s so good to finish the year off with a win especially the biggest win of my career. I can’t wait for 2017 and hope I can keep on winning.”
Cody Robinson consistently dominated heats throughout the contest posting some of the highest heat totals of the event. After trailing for the majority of the final, with less than a minute left, Robinson took of on a set needing an 8.50. He nailed one massive turn and then attempted a huge air-reverse, which would have come close to earning him the score, but he came unstuck on the landing. Robinson is happy with his best QS result but is understandably somber for coming so close to the win.
“Getting that close and just falling at the end is shattering,” Robinson said. “When you make it all the way to the final all you want to do is win so it’s gut wrenching when you don’t. I’m really happy with how I surfed this event and can walk away with confidence for next year. I knew I had to go big on that last one to get a big score and I feel if it were deemed complete I would have earned the score. I’ve had a few wins recently at home so I’m feeling good. It’s great we have some good waves for this contest it’s easy to get into a rhythm. This is my first time to Taiwan and the waves are so sick. I almost didn’t get let in because of a passport issue but I was helped out by the governor of Taitung and eventually got let in thankfully.”
The Men’s LQS final was also an absolute thriller that came down to the final minute with Frenchman Edouard Delpero taking the win. Sitting in second position behind Australian Jack Entwistle in the dying minutes, Delpero needed a mid 6.00 point ride to hit the front. Finding a long right-hander with priority, Delpero took off and threw everything at the wave. He started with a beautiful long hang-ten and completed it with a huge closeout hit. He was visibly ecstatic when he heard the score.
“I can’t believe I won,” Delpero said. “I have actually been sick all week so haven’t been surfing much at all, it’s been a really long hard week. I have worked hard to make sure I got better and it has all paid off. I knew there wasn’t much time left when that wave came and knew I needed a score. I Just surfed the way I know how to and the wave gave me great sections. When I got to the end I knew it would be the score I needed.”
The first Final to Hit the water a Jinzun was the Women’s LQS which was taken out by young Hawaiian Honolua Bloomfield. Bloomfield surfed a busy heat catching six waves, all of which she rode all of the way to the beach. Bloomfield was a standout all event but saved her best performance for the final with long nose-rides and some critical re-entries. For her efforts she was scored an excellent heat total of 15.75.
“I’m so stoked to win,” Bloomfield said. “That was really intense out there, there was so much water moving around. I’ve had a few LQS wins but never internationally, this is definitely up there with one of the best wins in my career. Hopefully I can carry this form into the next weeks World Championships in China.”
About the World Surf League
The World Surf League (WSL), formerly the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP), is dedicated to celebrating the world’s best surfing on the world’s best waves through a variety of best-in-class audience platforms. The League, headquartered in Santa Monica, is a truly global sport with regional offices in Australasia, Africa, North America, South America, Hawaii, Japan and Europe.
The WSL has been championing the world’s best surfing since 1976, running global events across the Samsung Galaxy Men’s and Women’s Championship Tours, the Big Wave Tour, Qualifying Series, Junior and Longboard Championships, as well as the WSL Big Wave Awards. The League possesses a deep appreciation for the sport’s rich heritage while promoting progression, innovation and performance at the highest levels.