Izuki Tanaka and Connor O’Leary advance to semi-finals at Murasaki Quiksilver Jeju Open of Surfing

Japan’s Izuki Tanaka and Australia’s Connor O’Leary made their way into the semi-finals at the inaugural Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Murasaki Quiksilver Jeju Open of Surfing after claiming top honours in their respective quarter-final heats that went down at Jungmun Beach in Jeju Island, Republic of Korea, on Saturday, June 16.

Tanaka got the better of his fellow countryperson Kenta Hayashi in the third Quarter-final to advance to the next stage of the competition, bringing an excellent run by his rival to an end.

The fourth Quarter-final saw Japan’s Teppei Tajima succumb to an impressive performance by O’Leary, consequently getting eliminated from the competition while sending the latter into the semi-finals.

Stepping on the Korean soil for the first time ever, ASP continued to acknowledge the popularity of the sport in the region and create a stage for the talent surfers to surface. The inaugural ASP-sanctioned at Jungmun Beach had attracted a handful of local and international talent, giving them an opportunity to get their hands on a winning prize of US$5, 000 and 500 ASP ranking points.

The second day of the competition saw two-foot waves and a sunny sky prevailing at the primary event site, setting up an ideal stage for a series of enthralling performances by the surfing young guns.

The third Quarter-final saw Tanaka and Hayashi take each other on in a man-on-man battle for the semi-final spot.

As the battle got underway, Tanaka got down to business right away, scoring an 8.00 off his first business-waved. After a long and determined search, he was only able to add an additional 4.00 points to his account, thus finishing with a heat-total of 12.00 points.

Hayashi attempted to offer a strong fight, but eventually conceded victory to his rival after finishing with a heat-total of 11.25 points, which included a 6.25 and 5.00-point ride.

The fourth Quarter-final featured yet another intense bout, with both O’Leary and Tajima holding nothing back as they made a determined effort to earn a place in the next stage of the competition.

O’Leary opened his account with a 7.75-point wave and later added another 7.15 points to his account, thus reaching a heat-total of 14.90 points.

Tajima had no intention of going down without a fight and therefore put on a determined performance. He managed to score a 6.00 off his first business-wave and backed it up with an impressive 8.25-point ride. The effort, however, proved insufficient to take him past his Australian rival on the score-board due to a deficit of 0.65 points. As a result, he was forced to surrender victory to O’Leary, sending him through into the semi-finals.