A huge international field of Qualifying Series (QS) battlers and Championship Tour (CT) superstars have arrived in Japan for the 2017 Ichinomiya Chiba Open - Men's and Women's events. The QS6,000 event will take place on the consistent beach breaks at Shida Point, Tsurigasaki Beach.
The 2015 World Champion leads a large group of Brazilian surfers including Yago Dora, fresh off his barnstorming 3rd-place result in Brazil.
The event number 2 seed, Kanoa Igarashi, will return to his birth place to compete for the first time in a number of years. The electric natural-footer has been having a breakthrough year on the CT and will be aiming for a big result this week in front of his adoring Japanese fans.
Many of the competitors warmed up today in the small waves following the local Trials.
Brothers Pat and Tanner Gudauskas were stoked to be in Japan and both are looking forward to the coming week's action.
"We love the entire vibe here in Japan, it's a really fun place for us and even though the waves are small today it's fun in the surf and with a good forecast ahead this should be a great event," said Pat. "Both Tanner and I have had some reasonable results early in the year but this event is important to us and marks the start of a serious run of events in the coming months with the ultimate aim at getting back onto the Championship Tour."
"The Japanese surfers are ripping even today and they'll be extremely hard to beat in their local waters. The field this year is incredible, so this will be a great event," added Tanner.
The final positions in the main draw were decided today with the local Trials completed in small, 1-to-2 foot (0.5 metres) surf at the main competition break. Despite the small waves, the surfers were still able to find plenty of scope for strong performances and final wildcards were awarded to Yujiro Tsuji and Momoto Tsuzuki in the men's and Amuro Tsuzuki in the women's.