WANNING, Hainan Island, China (Saturday, January 14, 2012) –
Despite smaller conditions on the final day of the competition at the Hainan Classic, the Final was an action-packed, wave-for-wave affair. Glenn ‘Micro’ Hall managed to take control early with a long, excellent-scoring wave mid-way through the heat and hold off Royden Bryson (ZAF) in order to be crowned the first-ever champion of the Hainan Classic, an ASP 4-Star Men’s World Tour event.
“China’s been amazing, I was honestly stoked to come here regardless of the contest, but to come here and have fun, uncrowded waves, was great. The first couple days were two-foot and fun then it got to four-foot and pumping and then it got bigger and it’s just been a good week,” said Hall, after his win, which is the highest-rated event win by an Irish surfer. “I’m pumped, it’s been the funnest week of surfing, so to have a win and a $15 000 cheque to go with it is amazing.”
Both surfers have been putting in countless hours over the last week getting to know the various waves around the contest area, and that experience proved vital on the final day of action of the inaugural Hainan Wanning Riyue Bay International Surfing Festival presented by Quiksilver.
Today, both finalists dedicated their morning to watching. Both were at the contest venue at first light to do research.
“I got here early trying to dissect it and find out which ones were actually the good ones,” Hall said. “I was up at 5:30, I didn’t even free-surf; I figured today would be a lot different, so I just sat and watched.”
In the first semifinal of the morning, Hall was up against Dion Atkinson (AUS), the powerful regular-stance surfer. Atkinson actually was the one to get off to the fast start, registering an 8.33, but he struggled to find an adequate back-up.
Hall kept active, posting a 6.9 to close the gap, before stroking into one of the best set waves f the heat. After two big floaters and couple turns the wave came through at an 8.17 and sent forced the Australian to scramble. Atkinson’s wave in the dying moments of the heat wouldn’t be enough.
In the second semifinal, Bryson managed to advance past Marc Lacomare (FRA), who’s been one of the top-performing competitors in the two-event Surfing Festival. The South African was on the choice waves of the heat and tallied the highest total heat score of the day, at 16.87.
In the final, Bryson wasn’t finding those same waves. It was Hall who kept most active and was finding the waves that lined-up all the way through the bay, allowing for multiple turns and maneuvers. Bryson did complete the trick of the heat, landing a perfectly executed double-grab air-reverse.
In the end, Bryson couldn’t find enough to out-point Hall, who was surfing fast and smooth on the waves of the heat, for a heat score of 16.33. Bryson had a few opportunities late in the heat, but couldn’t find the scoring-potential in the waves that remained. He finished the heat with a score of 16.16.
After the heat, at the water’s edge, a pair of Australians was able to pull Hall away from the mob of Chinese media and chaired him up the beach. Hall spends half of the year living and training in Australia.
“I’m stoked for Hally, he’s a good friend of mine, so I couldn’t have picked a better person to win the final, besides myself,” said Bryson, with a laugh. “All in all, I am just stoked to have come here; it’s an amazing place, and I cannot believe the quality of the waves. It’s a place I’ll definitely visit again in the future.”
After the final, at the Award Ceremony, Hall was presented with the $15,000 USD winner’s-check and the ornate jade dragon trophy.
The entire contest is available to watch On-Demand at hainaninternationalsurfingfestival.com/hainan-classic/live