As Thailand’s largest and most popular international surfing event, the Quiksilver Open Phuket Thailand returns to Patong Beach for its fourth appearance on the12th of September, this year upgraded to a 6 Star dual-sanctioned Asian Surfing Championship and Coca-Cola Indonesian Surfing Championship competition, promising to be bigger and better than ever.
Patong Beach, arguably the most popular beach in all of Phuket with its long stretch of white sandy beach backed by literally thousands of restaurants, hotels, spas, bars, and a variety of entertainment options, offers the perfect venue from which to draw professional surfers from all over Asia and beyond to compete for prize money, prestige, and valuable championship points on both the Asian Surfing Championship and Coca-Cola Indonesian Surfing Championship circuits. Competitors from Australia, Indonesia, Taiwan, Japan, the Philippines, the Maldives, Malaysia, Hawaii, the USA, Hong Kong, and Singapore are expected to be joining the event this year.
Especially noteworthy is the fact that the Quiksilver Open Phuket event is the final stop on the 2012 Asian Surfing Championship circuit, which means that the 2012 Asian Surfing Champions will be crowned in the Men’s Open, Women’s Open, Longboard and Masters Divisions at the conclusion of the event on September 15th.
Last year’s Quiksilver Open Phuket winner Raditya Rondi from Indonesia has a strong hold on first place in the rankings with 8,000 points, so a strong result in this year’s event will see him crowned the 2012 ASC Men’s Champion for the second consecutive year. Chasing him in second place is Indonesia’s Tipi Jabrik with 6,625 points, and Sandi Selamat (also from Indonesia) in third with 5,850 points.
2011 ASC Champ Raditya Rondi
“I’m really looking forward to coming back to Phuket,” said Raditya. “Not only because it’s such a fun place to go but the event has bigger prize money and I’ll be able to get points for the ASC and the ISC. With the ASC championship on the line, all the crowd watching on the beach and the waves being similar to my home break of Kuta Beach, I’m going to go all out and try my best to repeat both an event win and a championship win. It will be a blast, and I’m so stoked to have such a great event on both the ASC and ISC tour this year.”
In the ASC Women’s Division, Phuket’s own Annissa Flynn is currently sitting in the number 1 spot in ASC rankings with 5,850 points, in the driver’s seat to capture the 2012 ASC Women’s title needing only to finish ahead of last year’s ASC Women’s Champion Yasnyiar “Bonne” Gea from Indonesia in this event.
Annissa Flynn from Thailand during the 6th annual Monsoon Mayhem International Surf Challenge held on the golden sand beach of Desaru in South East Malaysia.
Current ASC Master’s champion and Patong Beach local Decha Sithidej will no doubt be pulling out all the stops to ensure a podium finish so he can raise the ASC Master’s trophy in front of his family and friends, and it remains to be seen if Indonesia’s ace longboarder Arif “Mencos” Nurhidayat can defend his 2011 ASC Longboard title against the Philippines Luke Landrigan.
New this year is the sanctioning of the event by the Coca-Cola Indonesian Surfing Championships, which will draw the top professional male and female surfers from Indonesia to compete for more ranking points in their chase for 2012 championship trophies. Last year saw a significant number of Indonesian surfers coming to Phuket to compete, which led to the idea of making it a dual sanctioned event. The Coca-Cola ISC circuit currently has four dual sanctioned ASC/ISC events in Indonesia during the 2012 season, so this will be the first Coca-Cola ISC sanctioned event outside of Indonesia.
In short, on the beach and around town it will be all fun and games, but out in the water the competition promises to be hot and heavy as the Asian regions best surfers battle it out for the top spot on the podium and their share of the more than 300,000 Thai Baht (almost $10,000 USD) total prize purse on offer.
A star attraction of this year’s event will be current and 5-time ASP Women’s World Champion Stephanie Gilmore, who as Quiksilver Women’s Brand Ambassador will attend the event in conjunction with the opening of the first Quiksilver Women’s store in the Jungceylon Mall. She will be at the beach during the event to meet and greet her fans and surf in a few expression sessions, putting on a display of her world championship skills as a role model for Asian women surfers.
In addition to the surfing competition there will be beach cleanups, DJ’s spinning out tunes, vendor booths on the beach and surfing clinics as well as BMX and skate demonstrations each day during the 4 day event, which will then conclude with an exciting awards presentation party on beach the evening of the 15th of September.
In press conferences held in Bangkok and in Phuket recently, Quiksilver Thailand’s General Manager Surached Munghtong had this to say about the event: “The Quiksilver Open Phuket Thailand 2012 will be a true beach and lifestyle event for those who enjoy sport, music and fashion, even bigger and better than in the previous three years. The preceding events have been a huge success and joined by professional surfers from all over the world, as our main objective of this event is to promote the sport of surfing among the general public here and encourage Thai surfers to improve their skills by participating in international events,” he explained.
“In addition, we want to inform those that don’t know that Thailand is an excellent surfing destination during June and October of every year. Therefore, we would like to invite foreign tourists and those who are interested in surfing to participate in the event, which will be a great way to promote Phuket’s tourism industry during the monsoon season,” concluded Mr. Surached.
The competition will be held at the north end of the Patong Beach strip, where the sandy bottom beachbreaks offer up a variety of wave options according to the swell conditions, perfect for both longboarding and shortboarding. If a sizeable swell should arrive during the competition, the backup site of Kalim Beach just a few hundred meters away will be utilized, a right hand reef break that can produce 100-meter long rides at an optimum 3-4 feet.
Holly Monkman, Quiksilver’s Marketing Executive for South East Asia is delighted by both the growth of the event and its significance in the South East Asian surf community, saying “We are very excited about this year’s event in Phuket, for not only has it grown into a 6-star dual sanctioned ASC and ISC surf competition but it’s also the venue for crowning this year’s Asian surfing champions. The growth of surfing in Thailand since our first event here four years ago is amazing, and is testament to the importance of the ASC to the surfing industry in developing the sport throughout the Asian region.”
“It’s very important to Quiksilver that we stay true to our brand’s heritage and help grow the sport in every country that we can, enabling surfers all over SEA and providing them with the opportunity to surf and follow their dreams, whether surfing for fun or for competition at the international level. As Quiksilver expands its presence around the Asian region, we are fully committed to supporting surfing and surfing events such as these, in hopes that we will see more and more countries develop their surfing communities such as what has happened in Indonesia. We’re already seeing great results in Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Taiwan, and there are lots of other countries out there that need our support.”
The Quiksilver Open Phuket Thailand is sponsored by Quiksilver Thailand, Yamaha, D.A.D., Nok Air, Chang, the Phuket Graceland Resort & Spa, and the Tourism Authority of Thailand, with partners the Phuket Province, the Patong Municipality, Phuket Best Event, and supported by Surfing Thailand, the Asian Surfing Championships, the Coca-Cola Indonesian Surfing Championships, Very TV, HOT FM, and the Green Channel. International media support provided by the ASC includes: Surfersvillage.com, MyLifeonBoard.net, Balibelly.tv, Baliwaves.com, Lines Magazine, SurfTime Magazine, Magic Wave Surf Community Newspaper, Royal Video Magazine, Alam TV Bali, and the Outdoor Channel.