Japan’s Shino Matsuda showcased a solid campaign Sunday, winning the women’s final at the Ichinomiya Chiba Open, a World Surf League Qualifying Series event.
The 15-year-old Matsuda’s top run at Tsurigasaki Beach landed her an 8.57 out of a possible 10, and the Japanese teen’s 13.84 total from her best two waves beat French Polynesia’s Karelle Poppke and earn 1,000 qualifying points toward the elite Championship Tour.
“I’m pretty happy. I’m glad I scored eight points in the final,” said Matsuda, who finished runner-up here in her debut on the women’s QS in 2016. “I’ll do my best from now on to keep surfing well.”
Unlike her opponent, who was vexed by the small waves, Matsuda did better on the small waves she got but went to the bank on the fifth wave. Poppke rode 14 waves but none even matched Matsuda’s second best.
“Rather than being nervous, I really enjoyed going into the water,” said Matsuda of her second win on the women’s QS since claiming 2016’s Trump Hyuga Pro at Okuragahama Beach in eastern Kyushu.
En route to the win, Matsuda defeated 19-year-old compatriot Ren Hashimoto in the semifinals and quarterfinalist Mahina Maeda, the top-ranked Japanese in the women’s QS rankings at 36th.
Poppke beat last year’s runner-up Hinako Kurokawa in the semis and defending champion Minori Kawai in the quarterfinals.
In the men’s final, Australia’s Ryan Callinan scored 13.20 to beat Hawaii’s Seth Moniz and claim 6,000 points. Shun Murakami was the highest-ranked Japanese and earned 1,050 points as one of the surfers tied for 17th.
Tsurigasaki Beach, popularly known as Shidashita or Shida Point, will be the surfing venue in its Olympic debut at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games.