Jinzun Harbour,  Taitung/Taiwan  (Saturday, November 25, 2017) –   Mitch Parkinson (AUS)has beaten travelling mate and fellow Snapper Rocks Local Sheldon Simkus (AUS) in an epic final at the Taiwan Open of Surfing World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) 1,500 event. After three epic days of action, Jinzun Harbour saved the best conditions till last with competitors dining out in high performance 3-to-5 foot peaks.

Finalists with Taitung Governor Justin Huang at the Taiwan Open of Surfing QS1,500. Photo: © WSL /  Tim Hain

Parkinson and Simkus were the two standouts on Final’s day throwing down some of the biggest most impressive aerial surfing seen in a QS event this season. In the Final the two went wave-for-wave, but it was Parkinson who posted the winning total of 14.23 (out of a possible 20) and ran away with his maiden Qualifying Series event victory.

“I’m lost for words right now – to come here with Sheldon and stay together then end up in the final together is a bit of a fairy tale,” Parkinson said. “I’ve had an amazing event here, the waves were pumping the whole time and to finish it off in the final with a childhood mate is really special. It’s my first ever QS win so I’m over the moon.”

After a solid run of results in the back half of the QS season, the younger cousin of 2012 World Champions Joel Parkinson (AUS) moved into contention to win the 2017 WSL Australia / Oceania QS. After Ty Watson fell out in the Quarterfinals, Parkinson needed to win to consolidate first place on the rankings. It wasn’t until he was told after the final that he knew that he would have a seed into the biggest QS events of 2018.

“I had no idea I was even in contention,” Parkinson continued. “I hadn’t thought about it too much but with this opportunity, I’m going to have to have a good crack at the Qualifying Series next year, something that will be made easier with this paycheque. (Parkinson wins 10,000 USD for his efforts today) it’s a real honor to win the regional QS so I’m really stoked.”

Gold Coaster Mitch Parkinson flying to victory at the Taiwan Open of Surfing QS1,500. Photo: © WSL /  Tom Bennett

Simkus was in incredible form on Final’s day and seemed to be building momentum towards the final. Once he ended up in competition with his hometown buddy he was unable to continue building, coming just short with a heat total of 12.30. Simkus walks away with his head held high, finishing the season with the best result of his career.

“I came to Taiwan to win the event so to come just short of that is still a great result for me,” Simkus said. “It was really awesome to surf in the final with my good mate Mitch. This is my first time in Taiwan and I have been really impressed with the quality of waves, it’s been pumping the whole time – I’ll definitely be coming back next year that’s for sure.”

Sheldon Simkus finishes runner-up at the Taiwan Open of Surfing QS1,500.  Photo: © WSL /  Tim Hain

Bowing out in equal 3rd position was Indonesian sensation Rio Waida (IDN). Waida posted some of the highest scores of the event consistently through each round, but failed to find a rhythm in his Semifinal. This result however has left Waida to take out the WSL Asia QS for 2017 and gives him a seed into the QS6,000 and 10,000 events for the first half of 2018. Waida will then begin his campaign to become the first Indonesian surfer to qualify for the elite WSL Championship Tour.

“I’m really happy to take out the Asia QS,” Waida said. “Surfing in all of the big QS events next year will be amazing, I can’t wait to compete with and against some of the biggest names in surfing. It has been a dream of mine for years. I had a great time at this event and am stoked with how I surfed. I will definitely be coming back to compete in Taiwan next year.”

Rio Waida wins the WSL Asia QS for 2017.  Photo: © WSL /  Tim Hain

If you got free time, check out the FULL finals day coverage!

About the World Surf League
The World Surf League (WSL), formerly the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP), is dedicated to celebrating the world’s best surfing on the world’s best waves through a variety of best-in-class audience platforms. The League, headquartered in Santa Monica, is a truly global sport with regional offices in Australasia, Africa, North America, South America, Hawaii, Japan and Europe.

The WSL has been championing the world’s best surfing since 1976, running in excess of 180 global events across the Men’s and Women’s Championship Tours, the Big Wave Tour, Qualifying Series, Junior and Longboard Championships, as well as the WSL Big Wave Awards. The League possesses a deep appreciation for the sport’s rich heritage while promoting progression, innovation and performance at the highest levels, and in doing so crowns the undisputed world champions in Men’s, Women’s across all divisions within the tour.

Showcasing the world’s best surfing on its digital platform at as well as the free WSL app, the WSL has a passionate global fan base with millions tuning in to see world-class athletes like Tyler Wright, John John Florence, Paige Alms, Grant Baker, Phil Rajzman, Tory Gilkerson, Mick Fanning, Stephanie Gilmore, Kelly Slater, Carissa Moore, Gabriel Medina, Courtney Conlogue and more battle on the most unpredictable and dynamic field of play of any sport in the world.