Local Hiroka Yoshikawa stitched up a stacked field to take the Women’s. All photos by Andrew Carruthers
Peru’s polished Piccolo Clemente in the Men’s Final.
Young cat from Santa Cruz Reilly Stone carving on Day 1.
Hawaiian styling all-boarder Maria Fernanda Reyes.
16 November 17
Andrew Carruthers reports from Japan: It was a tale of two oceans, with Day One so wind and rain lashed the contest had to be held off until mid morning to allow some semblance of a recognisable wave to return to the Hama break in Onjuku.
Like some battle at sea, the contestants waged against the ocean as well as one another in the race to place. Progression on this first day was hard and fitness and ocean knowledge played a major part. But the overhead surf and strong onshores slowly gave way to offshores, and as the wind abated so did the swell.
Day Two dawned a completely different day for the finals and Women’s action saw sunny cold-crest offshore winds and a stunning golden sunrise and a long day of competition ensued.
The Men’s Final was an all-international affair with USA’s Taylor Jensen and Tony Silvagni, Hawaii’s Kani Stewart and Peru’s Piccolo Clemente rising as the cream of the crop. And what a final it was. Although the ocean was fickle and the waves difficult to find, the peelers were selected and ridden to perfection by Piccolo Clemente followed closely by the young Buttons lookalike Kani Stewart. Tony Silvagni and Taylor Jensen filled third and fourth, but there was no just making up the numbers in this final as any one of these fine surfers could have won. Piccolo though displayed superior noseriding ability on some marginal waves to impress the judges.
The Women’s Final had a mixed international and local flavor with Hawaii’s Maria Fernanda Reyes taking on Japanese stylists Hiroka Yoshikawa, Minami Koyama, and Keiko Kodaka. Hiroka was surfing so well at her home break to take a much-deserved victory, and the local crowd rode every wave with her and then chaired her up the beach to much applause.
The Japanese people and the place makes this an infinitely pleasurable location for a surf contest or holiday it is a unique place in the world and well worth considering for your next adventure.
- words and photos by Andrew Carruthers / Narrowpath Media