MEREWETHER BEACH, Newcastle/Australia (Tuesday, March 15, 2011) - Six Japanese surfers competing at the Burton Toyota Pro have managed to overcome their initial fears and shock at the devastation to their home country and all are staying on to compete in this important event on the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Tour.
After initial difficulties in contacting their families, all have now made contact and have been reassured all family members have survived.
Many had family who lived in the region worst affected and while many have lost homes, all are safe.
Wako Dai, 19 years of age, who resides one hour south of Tokyo, surfed his round two heat today and advanced by placing second in his four man heat behind Mitchell James (Kingscliff NSW).
“I wanted to go home and was really worried, especially when I couldn’t contact my parents but I eventually got through to them – They told me they are alright and all my family are good and they told me to stay here and do what I must do which is to surf for my career”
We (the 6 Japanese competitors) are all thinking of home but we know all our immediate families are safe and well and we are here to compete our best – but still, we’re thinking of home all the time.”
Dai will face Australian pair Nick Vasicek and Dale Lovelock in round three when competition resumes tomorrow morning.
Rounds one and two of the Burton Toyota Men’s Pro were completed today along with round one of the Legendary Pacific Coast Pro Women’s.
Some of the day’s standouts included local surfers Jesse Adam (Merewether) and Michael Spencer (Lake Mumorah) along with Brazil’s Caio Ibelli who was the mornings top scoring surfer posting a combined two wave tally of 16.83.
In the Legendary Pacific Coast in association with Commonwealth Bank , Hawaii’s Malia Manuel scored a convincing round one heat win scoring a combined two wave tally of 16 out of 20 for her top two scoring rides to easily win.
Other standouts in the Women’s included Ellie-Jean Coffee and recently crowned ASP World Pro Junior Champion Alizee Arnaud from France.
Highly seeded surfers will enter the event tomorrow which includes ASP World number 2 ranked surfer Sally Fitzgibbons while number one seed in the men’s, Taj Burrow, is expected to begin his campaign on Thursday or Friday.
An excellent outlook for swell as we head into the weekend will likely see huge crowds at Merewether with one of the best fields assembled at this event in a long time.
The event is live webcast via www.aspaustralasia.com/live/2011/surfest and the site includes all results and scores – each day begins around 7:30am and a full on week of super quality surfing to follow!