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County News
2016 Taiwan Open of Surfing with NTD 2.5 Million in Prize Money Taking Place in Jinzun, Taitung Nov. 23-27 with Top Pro Surfers and Celebrities
Date: 2016-11-23    
Taiwan’s highest-caliber surf contest, the 2016 Taiwan Open of Surfing, began on November 23 and will continue through November 27 at the Jinzun Recreational Area. This year, Reo Inaba, the Japanese surfer most likely to win the Japan region title, is there. Moreover, 19-year-old women’s longboard champion Rachael Tilly, last year’s men’s shortboard champion Standlick Perth, and last year’s longboard champion Tony Silvagni are there, too. And Local celebrity How Yao will compete with the pros for Taiwan’s highest honor in surfing. This year’s event is sure to be the best yet!

As in years past, the event has been jointly organized by the Taitung County Government and the WSL, as it is a set venue for the WSL world tour (men’s shortboard # 48, men’s longboard # 9, and women’s longboard #9). In addition, there will also be a women’s shortboard contest, a longboard team contest, a shortboard team contest, and a juniors contest. The whole event will span from November 24 to 27. The opening ceremony, hosted by Magistrate Justin Huang on November 23, included the presence of East Coast National Scenic Area Administration director Lin Xin-ren; County Council members Lin Dong-man, Xu Jin-rong, Liu Chun-ge, Zhang Wan-sheng, and Weng Li-yin; Chishang Township mayor Zhang Yao-cheng; and Donghe Township mayor Chen Shi-hong. The opening began with a performance by the Pisilian Paw-Paw Drumming Group. Then, Father Wu Ruo-shi was invited to say a prayer, and Amis tribe elders blessed the event through the aboriginal tradition of a libation offering along with placing flower leis on the participants.

Speaking in English and Chinese, Magistrate Huang stated that with the support of the county government, the scale and level of the contest has increased each year, and over the past few years, it has become one of the most-watched surf contests worldwide. The county government is working with the WSL again this year, this being the only contest in Taiwan where WSL points may be earned. Furthermore, the prize money was boosted to NTD 2.5 million, a record high for Taiwan surfing events, and there are the additions of a women’s shortboard contest, team contest, and a juniors contest. Surfers have not only come from Australia, Japan, and the US, but also and for the first time from Malaysia, Mexico, and Costa Rica. The number of international contestants broke 100 for the first time, reaching a total of 112, not to mention another 100 contestants from Taiwan. Such scale is off the charts for Asia, and it is greatly enhancing the level of and vision for surfing in Taiwan.

This year, there is also another first-ever: In addition to the international judges, Taiwanese judges have been placed on judging panels to allow them to gain more international-level experience and knowledge. Moreover, the crowning of the WSL Australia and Japan region champions will take place at the venue. As a result, the best surfers from these two categories will be present. Magistrate Huang also stated that the Taiwan Open of Surfing and the Taiwan International Balloon Festival, both held in Taitung, were recently voted as the top two publicly-held events.

Free Shuttle Bus, Taitung Fun Card Giveaways, and Slow Food Festival Discount Coupons

The Taitung County Government has arranged for free shuttle buses so that visitors can more conveniently get to the contest area. There were three buses on November 23 that departed from the Taitung train station. Between November 24 and 27, there will be eight buses each day running between Jinzun and downtown Taitung. All are welcome to hitch a ride! For more shuttle bus information, please see the Taiwan Open of Surfing FB fan page.

There is a new version of the Taitung Fun Card (which was originally released for the promotion of sports tourism in Taitung) that is exclusively for surfing. The card may be used for a number of activities, such as surfing classes and board rentals. You can’t do without it on your trip to Taitung!

For those who go to the competition, in addition to receiving gifts in exchange for filling out questionnaires at the venue, you can get a discount coupon at the information desk of the Tiehua Music Village Slow Food Festival to take place on November 26 if you bring a picture of yourself with one of the competitors or of yourself watching the contest.

Japanese Tour to End at Jinzun with Crowning of Champion, Taiwanese to Be Included in Judging Panel

Of the top ten surfers in the WSL Japan region, are at the contest in Jinzun, and the Japanese champion will be crowned during the event. The Taitung County Government’s development of surfing has not only provided lovers of the support a great place to surf, but has also attracted surfers from abroad, which serves as an affirmation of the waves at Jinzun.

This year, there is also another first-ever: In addition to the international judges, Taiwanese judges have been placed on judging panels to allow them to gain more international-level experience and knowledge. Taketoshi Yamashita, a Japanese national who has lived in Taiwan for 20 years, will guide local surf instructors Paul Tien and Huang Ji-yuan in judging. In this way, Taiwanese judges can participate alongside Taiwanese surfers and instructors to promote surfing here to a world-class level.

※Stars to Watch at the 2016 Taiwan Open of Surfing
★Men’s Longboard:
Jack Entwistle (WSL world ranking: 3)
Nic Jones (WSL world ranking: 4)
Tony Silvagni (WSL North America ranking: 1; 2015 Taiwan Open of Surfing men’s longboard champion)
Edouard Delpero (WSL Europe ranking: 2)
Adam Griffiths (WSL Europe ranking: 3)
Shohei Akimoto (WSL Japan ranking: 2)


★Women’s Longboard:
Rachael Tilly (WSL world ranking: 1)
Tory Gilkerson (WSL world ranking: 5)
Honolua Blomfield (WSL world ranking: 9)
Natsumi Taoka (WSL Japan ranking: 3)

For registration and more information, please visit the 2016 Taiwan Open of Surfing FB fan page at www.facebook.com/taiwanopenofsurfing
Phone: 089-346122, 089-348920
Taitung Fun Card information: www.ttfuncard.com