The first quarterfinalist of the competition was decided in Heat 1 of Round 2 of the Men’s Division, and to no one’s surprise it was once again Indonesia’s Dean Permana who posted an excellent score of 8.00 on his 3rd wave and then added an almost perfect 9.00 to end the heat with a heat high total of 17 points out of a possible 20.
His smooth style and combinations of technical and old school maneuvers was amazing, and amply rewarded by the judging panel. Thai competitor Jakkrit Phutphueak also advanced in the number 2 spot.
The second heat of the morning was by far the most exciting, judging by the vocal local audience on the beach, as their favorite Weerawat Kuru dueled it out with Tsukamoto Masaya from Japan for the heat win, coming out on top by earning wave scores of 7.25 and 7;15 for a 14.40 total. Masaya will meet Permana in Quarterfinal 1, and Kuru will meet fellow Thai competitor Phutphueak in Quarterfinal 2.
Jas Seasky from Myanmar, who has been living in Phuket for the past fifteen years, fell short against the more experienced surfers in his heat but wanted to show the world that the Burmese people, although now in conflict, can also surf. “I’m proud to represent my country. Living here in Thailand was a huge sacrifice for me, leaving some of my family behind in our country. Surfing in my country is just starting and I want to encourage them to surf because surfing unites us all,” said Jas.
In Heat 3 of Round 2, the Philippines Roger Casogay redeemed himself after coming in 2nd in Round 1, posting a combined 15.30 heat total to win the heat over his Thai and Malaysian competitors and advance to the quarterfinals.
Casogay, who hails from La Union, Philippines, made sure that his board had the right set up yesterday. “I have a marker on my board. If the waves are big, I always adjust the fin a little more on the back. But if it’s small like this, I always move it forward, as when you move it a little bit forward you’re gonna be faster. Yesterday it was a good surf but in the end I didn’t get good waves, so today was much better,” explained Roger.
Quarterfinal matchups are as follows: Quarterfinal 1 - Dean Permana vs Tsukamoto Masaya, Quarterfinal 2 - Weerawat Kuru vs Jakkrit Phutphueak, Quarterfinal 3 - Deni Pirdaus vs Hafiz Bin Abdul Rahim, and Quarterfinal 4 - Roger Casogay vs Settawut Chaiwat.
In the Women’s Longboard Division, Japan’s Hiroka Yoshikawa put on another brilliant performance, spending a lot of time on the nose of her board while displaying amazing footwork to end Heat 2 of Round 2 with two excellent waves scores, an 8.50 and and 8.20 for a total of 16.70 points out of a possible 20.
Yoshikawa, who hails from Chiba, Japan, started surfing when she was fifteen years old. “I’m happy to visit Thailand for the first time. The water is blue and warm with white sand beach. The food is great, I love it and it’s perfect! Thank you guys for inviting me,” she said.
The second highest total heat score was earned by Dhea Natasha Novitasari from Indonesia in Heat 1, an impressive 15.60 points coming from an excellent 8.50 and a 6.75.
Thailand local surfer and entrepreneur Athiya Junspraset, who also represented her country during the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, said that she’s so grateful that an event like this is happening in her country. Many of the businesses in Phuket were hugely affected by the pandemic and this event will help them bounce back. “It was more than two years ago when we last had an event like this. Now, surfing here is growing and we want to show the world that Thailand is a great destination not just for tourists but also for surfers.”
Quarterfinal matchups for the Women’s Division are: Quarterfinal 1 - Dhea Natasha Novitasari vs Song Hyehyun, Quarterfinal 2 - Hiroka Yoshikawa vs Chonnikan Phaitucksri, Quarterfinal 3 - Annissa Tita Flynn vs Bunjarak Promchareon, and in Quarterfinal 4 - Athiya Junprasert vs Qadeja Munirah Binti Musaddiq.
Today sees the Men’s and Women’s Shortboard Divisions see action, starting off the Men’s Round 2 Heat 1.
To view highlights of Day 1 and Day 2: