The Swatch Girls Pro China 2013 hosted by Wanning is fully underway in excellent conditions, bringing with it top female athletes in longboarding and fresh attention with the surf scene of the potential of the sport in China. Strong swells continued in Day 2 of the four-day event from November 20-24, 2013, which will determine the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) women’s Longboard Champion.
The surf off the island of Wanning, Hainan Island, China is becoming a popular location for professional surfers around the world, but it’s the women’s events that draw spectacular attention, sponsorship, and inspiration to would-be surfers across Asia. Similar to surfing in North America, women’s surfing boosts the industry through lifestyle sales of apparel and accessories but is often overlooked in favor of supporting male pro surfers in a very male-dominated surf scene. Lack of events, sponsorship, and prize money continues to plague women’s surfing despite more young females wanting to learn the sport than males, according to our research at Label Networks.
Competition is set to intensify as the field of 36 surfers will be reduced to just eight Quarterfinalists in the hunt for the ASP Women’s World Longboard Title.
“The surf is still really good so we started earlier today to try and get the most out of it,” said Swatch Girls Pro Contest Director Dane Jordan. “We ran a full day yesterday and the surf was really good all day, and if it’s like that again today we could be down to just eight Quarterfinalists by day’s end.”
Chelsea Williams was the stand-out performer, despite admitting feeling she had more left in the tank. “I feel like I haven’t surfed at my best yet, so if the conditions keep up I hope I can keep going.”
Chelsea scored an 8.25 for one of her waves, the highest score of the day and testament to her dominant display. Defending event and world champion Kelia Moniz squeaked through her Round 4 clash to make the Quarters, getting her score in the final throws of the heat to avoid having to surf in Round 5. “My goal was not to have to surf another round today, so I’m happy to have made it. I’ve not been surfing with too much confidence today so I need to work on that for the final day.”
Karina Rozunko showed the same style and flair that saw her announce herself on the world stage at this event last year, and also advanced to the Quarters. “I’ve just been trying to get to the nose as that’s what the judges have been scoring highest. I came here with a bit of an ankle injury so I’m really happy to still be going, the level of surfing is so high, so we’ll just see what tomorrow brings.”
Summer Romero also took her place in the last eight avoiding a Round 5 encounter, looking stylish and poised in the long lefts of Riyue Bay. “It’s really fun to surf out there when the swell is up, I’m super happy to have made it through today. Nobody wants to lose when the surf is so good.”
Swatch Proteam surfer Kassia Meador’s elimination was one of the upsets of the day, bowing out to former world champion Lindsay Steinriede in a closely-fought heat.
Meanwhile local favorite and Swatch Proteam surfer Darci Liu also saw her run in the event come to an end, despite making the local surfing community proud performing with typical style and charisma.
By the end of the afternoon, the completion of Round 5 saw the rest of quarter-finalists decided, with Miku Uemura, Jennifer Smith, Chloe Calmon and Justine Dupont. With the forecast promising a continuation of decent groundswell, there is every chance of wrapping up the event tomorrow on Friday.