19 June, 2018, Patong Beach, Phuket-Thailand: The start of the second day action at the REnextop Asian Surfing Tour stop in Phuket was delayed for about an hour this morning when a heavy storm squall blew through just as the organizers were kick things off, but after hunkering down and waiting it out everyone was rewarded with mostly clear and sunny skies for the remainder of the day, which allowed 16 heats of the competition to be run to set things up for the final day tomorrow.
First to tackle the low tide 2-3 foot grinding wind swell waves was the Women’s Shortboard division, which saw the Japanese contingent winning both heats, first Natsumi Taoka in Heat 1 and then last year’s RAST Women’s Champion Kairi Sekiguchi. Also advancing were Indonesia’s Dhea Natasya and the Philippine’s Daisy Valdez.
Next up was the Women’s Longboards, who battled the non stop wind waves and at times struggled to make it back out into the lineup. In Heat 1 it was World Longboard Championship competitor Natsumi Taoka taking the heat win, along with Korea’s Leena Mun just sliding by Ikit Agudo from the Philippines with a last second wave to also advance into a semifinal berthfrom .
In Heat 2 it was the Philippine’s Daisy Valdez winning the heat with fellow Filipina Aping Agudo in second spot to advance into tomorrow’s semifinals.
The highest score of the Men’s Longboard division so far was earned in Round 2 by the Philippine’s Rogelio “Jay R” Esquivel, who is competing in both Longboard and Shortboard divisions, and who posted a 7.50 point score (out of a possible 10 points) to advance into the man-on-man quarterfinals.
When asked how he managed to post such a high score in the challenging conditions he explained, “I was lucky I got that wave, as it was really hard to choose the right wave. It was wind and most of the waves closed out, so I’m just lucky. I just tried to get as many waves as I could and hoped that I could get one that stayed open.”
Thailand’s Teerayut Pechsura won his Round 2 heat and so is the last remaining Thai surfer in the Men’s Longboard division going into the final day. There will be 5 Filipino, 1 Japanese, 1 Indonesian, and 1 Thai surfer competing tomorrow in the quarterfinals.
The Men’s Shortboard division ran through four heats of Round 2 and then four heats of the man-on-man quarterfinals, battling 3-4 foot closeouts, strong winds an strong currents to set up their semifinal lineup for tomorrow.
In the last quarterfinal if the day it was Bali’s Raditya Rondi who won his heat and place in the semifinals, where he will face fellow Balinese surfer Darma Putra Tonjo. Raditya has competed and won here in Phuket before, and is a multiple ASC champion, but he admitted to being exhausted by the day’s competition.
“That was hard work!” he said. “It was pretty hard but I feel lucky, I got some waves where I could get 2 or 3 turns so that was good enough. Tomorrow I hope it will get a bit smaller and less wind, but whatever…it’s the final day so I’ll give it everything. Today I must have done about 100 duckdives per heat I think!”
When asked about he memories of previous Patong Beach events he said, “Last time I was here the conditions were about the same, but I was 5 years younger and had way more energy, so this time I think I just need more luck.”
Here are some highlight shots of today’s competition.
The final day of competition will be starting off tomorrow morning at 8:00 weather and wave conditions permitting, and the surfers have been told to be standing by at 7:45 am.
You can check the scores during the competition, as they are live on Live Heats at www.liveheats.com/rast