Jaileshuei Beach, Manzhou-Pingtung County, Kenting-Taiwan: A memorable three days came to a close yesterday afternoon with the crowning of surfing champions in 11 divisions at the 12th Jaileshuie Surf Festival at Jaileshuei Beach in the Kenting area of South Taiwan.
An offshore low pressure system challenged both the surfers and the event organizers during the majority of the three day event, with gale force winds and heavy rains testing the stamina and durability of both equipment and the human spirit, but surfers welcome a challenge and battling the elements is all part of the sport of surfing, so there were big smiles and cheers all around at the awarding presentation.
After an abbreviated day on Sunday as fierce wind gusts and rain had the contest director calling a stop to the competition in the early afternoon, Monday morning saw a drastic change in water color due to the outflow from the river, making for an interesting cappuccino color and the smell of soil in the water. But the waves were pumping and with 37 heats to run the action got started early at just before 7:00 am, and the horn sounded the end of the last final at about 4:30 am with the sun actually making an appearance during the majority of the final 30 minutes of the event!
The wave conditions varied from glassy faced 2-3 footers on the mid to inside section to significant 4-5 foot bombs on the outside, with rarely a lull in between waves but enough of a channel that nobody got stuck inside for long, and most of the contestants got plenty of waves during their heats.
After the awarding presentation some of the winner’s were asked to say a few words about their experience at the event:
Kuo Heng Liang – Men’s Shortboard Champion
“It felt good to surf against other great surfers. I knew I’d have to do my best but also surf smart because everyone was surfing so good. Knowing how priority works was a bonus for me. It’s a good to have this priority system applied now, as it allows us to learn to compete at a higher more professional level.”
Chang Fu Cheng- Men’s Longboard Champion
“Surfing a lot and being comfortable in this kind of surf was the key to winning today I think. I spent a lot of time practicing here so I’m pretty comfortable in these waves. It feels great to win and I’m definitely looking forward for more events like this.”
Pan Mei Xin- Women’s Shortboard Champion
“I just felt comfortable surfing here as this competition is here at home break, so it was fun. I knew the conditions would be quite hard but I just kept paddling for waves and did whatever the wave offered up!”
Chang Hsiu Yun- Women’s Longboard Champion
“The conditions have been tough during the whole event. It was pretty challenging for sure but I just enjoyed being out there and doing what I could do, pretty much just like when I am free surfing in some ways.”
Cheng Sheng Fu- Junior Champion
“Having my coach surf with me most of the time allows me to improve faster. I’d like to surf with great surfers from different parts of the world and learn from them. I’m excited to join more competitions like this in the future for sure.”
Recapping the event, TORSA Chairman Jose Chuang said, “Last year all the tents blow away and so we had to sit inside cars parked on the beach to judge and finish the event, the wind was so strong. This year we had challenging weather every day and even had to stop the event on the second day! Nothing is ever easy. So the last two years have been very tough, but we always find a way to complete it and we’re praying to God that next year he will give us perfect conditions.”
“At TORSA, we feel strongly that we need to support the junior surfing program, so we hope that we get more juniors to join our program and that the senior surfers stay involved to help guide and train them. This year we had 15 year old boy that has only been surfing for 3 years and he joined the Junior, Shortboard A, and Shortboard B divisions, and did really well, so we are really proud of him and want to see more of this in the future,” he continued.
And looking forward to next year, Chuang added, “This is the 12th time we’ve done this event, though we had a break for two years awhile back as there were no funds available. But since Mayor Pan wa elected 3 years ago, we’ve had his support and the event will keep getting bigger and better into the future. We’re really thankful to the Mayor and to all the crew here at Jaileshuei-Manzhou that work so hard at this event together, and the ASC for being part of our event to help us develop our skills and knowledge. See you next year!”
Men’s Shortboard A
1. Khuo Heng Liang
2. Chang Fu Zheng
3. Pan Hai Sin
Men’s Longboard A
1. Chang Fu Cheng
2. Chen Tung Ming
3. Pan Hai Sin
Women’s Shortboard A
1. Pan Mei Sin
2. Hong Je Jun
3. Chuang Yun
Women’s Longboard A
1. Chang Hsiu Yun
2. Dong Ya Ji
3. Ceng Yi Jun
Junior Under 16
1. Chen Sheng Fu
2. Pan Mei Xin
3. Pan Wen Jie
The Jialeshuei Surfing Festival 2017 was funded by the Pingtung County Government, with the assistance of Kenting National Park, the Manzhou Branch of Pingtung Police, the Manzhou Township Office, Hengchun Rescue Team and the Pingtung County Wei-Jing Rescue Team.
Event sponsors: Kentington, Nan Ren Entertainment Co. Ltd., Quiksilver, ROXY, Surf Trip World, SURFIN’LIFE, SLASTIK, Stream Trail, Australian Gold, USA Style Shop, 720-Armour, SPOT, North Shore Surfing World, Formosa Surfboards, Summer Point, UUKT, Hot Kenting, Chasing Waves Taiwan, Betel nut co., Empowering Employment Programme.
Organized and sanctioned by: TORSA (Taiwan Ocean Recreation and Sports Association) and the ASC (Asian Surfing Championships)