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SWATCH Girls Pro China Opens Professional Surfing in China with Style

| posted on October 26, 2011

Lindsay Steinriede (USA) winning her opening heat at the inaugural SWATCH GIRLS PRO China today. Steinriede earnt one of the day's highest waves scores an 8.25 (out of a possible 10.). CREDIT: ASP/Will H-S

WANNING, Hainan Island/China (Wednesday, 26 October, 2011) - The SWATCH Girls Pro China hosted by Wanning launched professional surfing in China today with the world’s best female longboarders taking to the waves at Riyuewan Bay, Hainan Island. The 2 – 3 foot (1.5 meter) surf was ideal for the surfers to unleash their full bags of tricks with competitors mixing modern and traditional moves much to the delight of the hundreds of fans on the beach.

The SWATCH Girls Pro China is the second of two events on the ASP Women’s World Longboard Tour and the event that will decide the 2011 ASP Women’s World Longboard Champion. The Title race is wide open, making this not only an historic event, but an exciting one too.

Kaitlin Maguire (USA) won the first ever ASP heat in China in the opening heat of the inaugural SWATCH Girls Pro China over Hiroka Yoshikawa (JPN).

“It feels amazing!” Maguire said. “It was pretty stressful out there, I’m happy for it to be over and finish on top. It’s so good to be here and experience the different culture. The wave looks like it has a lot of potential so I’m looking forward to the rest of the event.”

Ophelie Ah-Kouen (REU) won a nail-biter of a heat against Isabele Braly (AUS). Both surfers put some solid scores on the board but it was Ah-Kouen who took the heat by less than 1 point.

“I feel good because I won, but it was a very difficult heat,” Ah-Kouen said. “I was very nervous, but now I feel ok, hopefully I will do better in the next round. It’s so good to be here in China, Hainan is a beautiful island and the waves are good.”

Chelsea Williams (AUS) was the standout performer of the day earning a near perfect 18.80 out of a possible 20. Williams looked right at home on the long left runners, carving and nose-riding bigger and longer than anyone else. Williams will now face Leah Dawson (USA) in the next round.

“I’m pretty surprised I won, I couldn’t hear the announcers out in the water,” Williams said. “I had no idea how I was going until I came into the shore and heard that I’d won. The wave is fun, it’s a little soft left-hander. I love going left because it’s my forehand and I don’t get the chance to go left very often. China is really cool, it’s tropical and not like we expected.”

Lindsay Steinriede (USA) showed why she’s the number one seed at the SWATCH Girls Pro China, easily defeating Taiwanese trials winner Wen Ling Chou (TWN). Steinriede will now face Frenchwoman Coline Menard (FRA) in Round 2.

“I was a little nervous because I know the conditions can be tough out there,” Steinriede said. “On my first wave I was definitely a little jittery, I’d been waiting a while and was excited to get out there. It’s also a while between events and I have a full-time job so you have to switch competition mode off for a little bit, but it doesn’t take long to turn it back on.”

Darci Lui (CHN), the first ever Chinese national to compete at an ASP event, lost her heat against an in-form 2 x ASP Women’s World Longboard Champion Jennifer Smith. Lui lost the battle, but did the locals proud with hundreds cheering everytime she got to her feet.

“It’s been a great opportunity for me to surf against these girls,” Lui said. “Even though I lost I’m so happy! This is such a great event for China, I’m so proud to have this event here.”

Kassia Meador (USA) the number 3 seed had a tough start to her SWATCH Girls Pro China campaign. Meador pulled off some big moves but was unable to link them together on one wave and snuck through to the next round with a couple of small scores.

“I felt really shaky out there,” Meador said. “It’s been a long day, maybe I’m dehydrated. I couldn’t really find my feet out there. Hopefully I got all my falling off out of the way for the rest of the event.”

A call will be made at 7am tomorrow for a possible 7:30 start, there’s a chance that the SWATCH Girls Pro China will finish tomorrow and that a new ASP Women’s World Longboard Champion will be crowned.

The SWATCH Girls Pro China hosted by Wanning will run from 26 – 30 October. For more event info, photos, video highlights and your chance to win SWATCH Touch Eventwatches stay tuned to www.swatchgirlspro.com

For more information log on to www.aspworldtour.com

SWATCH Girls Pro China Round 1 Results:
Heat 1: Kaitlin Maguire (USA) 9.25 def. Hiroka Yoshikawa (JPN) 7.45
Heat 2: Summer Romero (USA) 13.85 def. Roxy Towill (ZAF) 8.40
Heat 3: Miku Uemura (HAW) 13.00 def. Estitxu Estremo (ESP) 6.96
Heat 4: Ophelie Ah-Kouen (REU) 12.25 def. Isabele Braly (AUS) 11.60
Heat 5: Chelsea Williams (AUS) 18.80 def. Amy Trujillo (USA) 9.40
Heat 6: Leah Dawson (USA) 13.35 def. Candice O’Donnell (GBR) 5.85
Heat 7: Coline Menard (FRA) 9.50 def. Rosie Locke (AUS) 5.75
Heat 8: Lindsay Steinriede (USA) 14.85 def. Wen Ling Chou (TWN) 8.90
Heat 9: Jennifer Smith (USA) 10.75 def. Darci Lui (CHN) 3.75
Heat 10: Kelia Moniz (HAW) 14.10 def. Megan Godinez (HAW) 7.25
Heat 11: Melissa Combo (AUS) 10.15 def. Kelly Nicely (USA) 9.00
Heat 12: Yuko Shimajiri (JPN) 6.85 def. Cristiana Pires (USA) 6.70
Heat 13: Kassia Meador (USA) 9.60 def. Nicole Trickett (ZAF) 5.25
Heat 14: Chloe Calmon (BRA) 12.50 def. Geodee Clark (HAW) 8.00
Heat 15: Justine Dupont (FRA) 13.25 def. Hatsumi Ui (JPN) 8.00
Heat 16: Karina Abras (BRA) vs. Rachel Barry (USA)