Caption: (Left to right) Kassia Meador (USA), Chelsea Williams (AUS), Lindsay Steinriede (USA), Darci Liu (CHN) will be battling it out for the ASP Women's World Longboard Title cup this week at the SWATCH Girls Pro China 2012. PIC ASP/Robertson.
WANNING, Hainan Island/China (Tuesday, November 20, 2012) – The event that will crown the 2012 ASP Women's World Longboard Champion, the SWATCH Girls Pro China 2012 hosted by Wanning got underway with style tonight. The event press conference was at the Sheraton Shenzhou Peninsula Resort followed by an opening ceremony in Wanning city attended by tens of thousands of locals, media and event athletes.
Kassia Meador (USA), poster girl for the SWATCH Girls Pro China 2012 and Semifinalist at last year's event is thrilled to be back in China, she even took a detour through Beijing on the way to Hainan Island to see more of the beautiful sights this country has to offer.
"There's a lot of great things about being in Wanning and China," Meador said. "Seeing a surf culture that's so young and seeing kids and people here being able to enjoy the ocean in a different way is fantastic. It's special to be in China, it's new and different and a lot of fun. The water is warm, there's palm trees on the beach and nice waves, you can't get much better than that."
Lindsay Steinriede (USA), clinched her maiden ASP Women's World Longboard Title at this event last year and is focussing her efforts on going back-to-back, while at the same time soaking up the culture and experiences Hainan Island has to offer.
"Last year was really nice to finally be recognised in a sport that I've been doing well in for a long time," Steinriede said. "I think pressure can sometimes get to people when they have to come back and defend a title, but I'm not one to stress over contests. I'm going to go out there and do my best and enjoy the opportunity to be in this event and compete for another ASP World Longboard Title."
Darci Liu (CHN) has been awarded an event wildcard for the second year in a row, and will be utilising her local knowledge of the surf at Riyuewan Bay to try and match it with the world's best. Liu is proud to host a world-class event in her backyard and once again showcase the surf that China has to offer.
"I feel very grateful to be here and have a second chance to compete at this level," Liu said. "I want to say thanks to SWATCH and the Wanning Government and ASP for the wildcard. Also, I'm so happy that this year they have given four wildcards for local Chinese women, it's huge for us!"
Chelsea Williams (AUS) will be paddling out with a target on her back after claiming the inaugural SWATCH Girls Pro China title at last year's event. Williams will once again put her stylish and powerful brand of surfing on display in the hopes of claiming her maiden ASP Women's World Longboard Title.
"It was definitely awesome to win this event last year," Williams said. "I've been competing for so many years and I haven't been able to win a contest until last year. When the buzzer went it felt good, it was awesome and I've come back to defend my title and hopefully win again. At the start of the event everyone is excited to be here and catch up on old times, but when it comes the competition you have to put the friendship on hold for second and see what happens."
It's very likely that the SWATCH Girls Pro China 2012 will start tomorrow, with event organisers meeting at 7am to access conditions at Riyuewan Bay. For live scores, event updates, photos and videos stay tuned to www.swatchgirlspro.com
For more information log on to www.aspworldtour.com
UPCOMING SWATCH GIRLS PRO CHINA 2012 ROUND 1 MATCH-UPS:
HEAT 1: Kelia Moniz (HAW), Hatsumi Ui (JPN), Atalanta Nascimento (BRA)
HEAT 2: Ophelie Ah-Kouen (REU), Hiroka Yoshikawa (JPN), Monica Guo (CHN)
HEAT 3: Chelsea Williams (AUS), Wen Ling Chou (TPE), Karina Rozunko (USA)
HEAT 4: Jennifer Smith (USA), Darci Liu (CHN), Michelle Van Kempen (ZAF)
HEAT 5: Kassia Meador (USA), Georgia Young (AUS), Tara Hossack (ZAF)
HEAT 6: Lindsay Steinriede (USA), Nava Young (AUS), Chen Lin Niu (TPE)
HEAT 7: Kaitlin Maguire (USA), Candice O'Donnell (GBR), Natalia Smith (HAW)
HEAT 8: Justine Dupont (FRA), Cristiana Pires (USA), Emilie Libier (FRA)
HEAT 9: Karina Abras (BRA), Coline Menard (FRA), Yuan Tang (CHN)
HEAT 10: Chloe Calmon (BRA), Amy Trujillo (USA), Fernanda Daichtman (BRA)
HEAT 11: Summer Romero (USA), Yuko Shimajiri (JPN), Tory Gilkerson (USA)
HEAT 12: Kelly Nicely (USA), Miku Uemura (HAW), Crystal Dzigas (HAW)