Hainan Classic: Day 3 Highlights From Riyue Bay, China

Chris Friend
Dion Atkinson
Joan Duru
Marc Lacomare
Romain Cloitre
Glenn Hall
Kenta Hayashi
Riyue Bay lineup
Hainan Classic
Riyue Bay
Chris Ward
Royden Bryson

Spectacular Conditions Continue at Riyue Bay For Tightly Contested Quarterfinals on Day 3 of Hainan Classic; Every Quarterfinal Heat Close as Four Surfers Advance to Final Day

Hainan Wanning Riyue Bay International Surfing Festival Presented by Quiksilver
Friday, January 13, 2012
Wanning, Hainan Island, China

At first light, the forecasts presented by Surfline proved on point, as 4- to 6-foot sets rolled through Riyue Bay for Day 3 of the Hainan Classic, a 4-Star ASP event organized by the ISA. What transpired were eight tightly contested heats, filled with late-heat game-changing scores and shuffling of positions, which kept the day's action exciting and unpredictable.

While conditions weren't quite as clean or consistent as what was on hand yesterday, there remained long head-high walls of water ideal for the full repertoire of maneuvers from the international pros. "We've got a good wave at home called Box Head, it's a long left, Mundaka-style, and I surf that whenever it breaks," said Glenn Hall, who's the lone Irish surfer in the draw and advanced through to the semifinals. "It's a long left where you do a 150 turns; it gets you half-suited for this wave."

Everyone remaining in the competition has proven a standout and shown a proficiency for the wave at Riyue Bay, but Hall has been one of the surfers sitting deepest and seemingly advancing somewhat unnoticed. As the big names fall around him - Peru's Cristobal de Col, USA's Chris Ward, and Australians Nic Muscroft and Heath Joske were all eliminated on Day 3 - Hall has been consistently posting huge scores and appearing at ease and surprisingly in-tune with whatever the wave offers.

Dion Atkinson was the first Australian eliminated from contention in the ISA China Cup, the first of the two events in the Festival, but he's the last surfer waving the colors of his country in the Hainan Classic. "I guess it's sort of a good and bad thing, luckily Australia went good (Team Australia won the team gold medal in the ISA China Cup) without me going too well in the ISA, but I'm stoked to be getting through heats; to be going good in this 4-Star is a great feeling," said Atkinson, who's also happy to be on to man-on-man format. "It's so much better, you sit right where you want to sit, and you know when that next lump appears on the horizon that you're going to be on it, whichever one you want. It's such a luxury, hopefully I can keep being smart, picking the right waves and getting through heats."

Royden Bryson

Royden Bryson. Photo: Watts/ISA

South Africa's Royden Bryson has probably put in more water time than any other surfer competing in the ISA's two-event Festival. His South African teammates have come to calling a left-hand barrel in front of their hotel "Roydens," since he was the first to discover it.

"We've just had insane waves; I haven't surfed this much since I was a kid, I reckon," said Bryson, a point that explains his comfort in the conditions. "I've just been spending hours and hours in the water every day and there are so many waves to surf. I've had an amazing time." That experience translated to two heat wins on Day 3 and a spot in the semifinals.

In the fourth quarterfinal, the final heat of the day, the two remaining Frenchmen were forced to fight for survival. Both Joan Duru and Marc Lacomare have proven themselves potential favorites - Lacomare for his 10, Duru for beating his teammate despite the 10 - but one had to go home.

The pair went wave-for-wave most of the heat, with both surfers botching a few rides along the way. Lacomare stamped the lead with one of his signature, multi-maneuver rides for an 8.5. "Before the heat we were just saying this is how it is; I wish we were in a different heat draw," said Lacomare, following his win. "Somehow I'm always with my friends in the heat, so I guess I have to get used to it now."

Competition resumes in the morning with the first heat of the semifinals, with Dion Atkinson surfing against Glenn Hall, followed by Royden Bryson versus Marc Lacomare. The finals will follow, to complete competition. The event will wrap-up with the Awards Ceremony followed in the evening by a Farewell Dinner hosted by Hainan Province and the City of Wanning.

According to the Official Surfline Forecast, conditions are expected to drop for the final day, but they are expected to remain contestable.

The webcast will be live at the sound of the first heat horn, at 9:00am local time (5:00pm PST - 8:00pm EST). Watch it online on www.hainaninternationalsurfingfestival.com/hainan-classic/live.

About the International Surfing Association
The International Surfing Association (ISA) is recognized by the International Olympic Committee as the World Governing Authority for Surfing. It was originally founded as the International Surfing Federation in 1964 and has been running Open Division World Championships since 1964, Junior World Championships since 1980, and Masters World Championships since 2007. The ISA also sanctions the World Kneeboard Titles and the Tandem Surfing World Title, and the first stand-alone World Bodyboard Championship in 2011, and the first World Standup Paddle (SUP) and Paddleboard Championship will be held in 2012.

ISA membership includes the surfing National Governing Bodies of 70 countries on five continents. Its headquarters are located in San Diego, California. It is presided over by Fernando Aguerre (Argentina), first elected President in 1994 in Rio de Janeiro and re-elected seven times since. The ISA´s three Vice-Presidents are Alan Atkins (AUS), Karín Sierralta (PER) and Debbie Beacham (USA).

About Womei Media
Womei Media is a complete media group with headquarters in Beijing, China. Womei Media consists of a sports marketing division that is dedicated to introducing new and exciting sports to the Chinese people by organizing and promoting major sporting events throughout the country. Womei Media is an advertising agency for CCTV, China´s largest national TV network. The company also publishes and distributes print magazines, and it is developing a chain of movie theaters throughout China. Womei Media is the primary Chinese commercial agent of the ISA (International Surfing Association), UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale), and the National Basketball Association´s Houston Rockets.