By the Sports Administration, Ministry of Education, R.O.C. (Taiwan)
The 2019 edition of one of the world’s top four surfing competitions, the Taiwan Open of Surfing, officially came to an end on December 7. Through 15 days of thrilling competition, the event came to a perfect end with the crowning of the men’s and women’s winners of the World Longboard Championships and the World Junior Championships. This year was the 9th edition of this Taitung County Government organized event and it was the second year that the World Longboard Championships and World Junior Championships have been held at the same time in cooperation with the World Surfing League (WSL). As well as the two championships, the event was expanded with the addition of a QS3000 men’s shortboard points event. In the 15 days of the competition, more than 300 surfers from 29 countries gathered in Taitung and strived for glory.
The 2019 world men’s and women’s junior competitions were won by Brazil’s Lucas Vicente and Japan’s Amuro Tsuzuki, respectively; the world longboard champions were Brazil’s Rodrigo Sphaier and Hawaii’s Honolua Blomfield; the champions of the annual men’s and women’s 2019 World Longboard Tour were also crowned onsite; they were Justin Quintal of the US and Honolua Blomfield of Hawaii.
In the 15-day competition, due to poor wave conditions, on December 6 and 7 the World Longboard Championships competition was moved for the first time from the main venue Jinzun Harbor to Jihui Harbor in Chenggong Township. Taitung County Government said that it is very rare for the WSL to change the venue in competition; this time, the adverse wave conditions meant that surfers were at risk of breaking their boards, thus, after days of inspections, World Longboard Championship competition was relocated to Jihui Harbor for the safety of competitors and to avoid broken boards. Jihui, due to special terrain, before the summer and autumn typhoon season and before the winter northeastern monsoon strengthens, offers beautiful left hand breaks that are rare in Taiwan. Local surf shop operators said that good wave conditions here are something that can be hoped for but not expected at Jihui. This is the first time that an international competition has been held in coral reef terrain in Taiwan.
Taitung County magistrate Rao Ching-ling said at the closing ceremony that the Taiwan Open of Surfing becomes better by the year and the quality and level of competitors also rises. Hosting the two exciting world championships in Taitung took this grand surfing event to the highest levels of international surfing and also attracted many surfers and spectators from around the world. As well as thanking the winners, she also thanked the WSL, sponsors and organizers for completing this international sports event with utmost care and effort. She believes that, following this year’s Taiwan Open of Surfing, both Jinzun Harbor and Jihui Harbor, where competition was relocated to, will attract more international surfers in future.