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Amuro Tsuzuki rides waves to World Surf League victory in Ichinomiya

Kyodo, Staff Report

Amuro Tsuzuki had the best ride of the women’s final on Saturday to win the World Surf League’s Ichinomiya Chiba Open.

At Tsurigasaki Beach, where surfing will introduce itself to the Olympics next year, the 18-year-old Tsuzuki beat 20-year-old compatriot Maiko Miyasaka for her first championship.

Tsuzuki received 13.94 points in the final, while Miyasaka scored 12.46.

“I’m so happy right now and having all of my family here supporting me helped a lot since my brother is competing in Krui (Indonesia)and is usually there for me,” Tsuzuki said. “When I first paddled out I wasn’t sure where to sit since I haven’t seen conditions like this yet here. I just started catching a bunch of waves and somewhere in there I was able to find two scores.

“When Maiko got that 7-point score it put some pressure on me but I’m really happy to come through with a win.”

Miyasaka was disappointed after the event, but eager to achieve a better result in upcoming competitions.

“It was hard to find a good wave and I just couldn’t find a score,” Miyasaka said. “I thought I could get the score backhand so I was waiting for a wave. I’m really happy to make it to the final and now my new goal is first. I can’t thank everyone enough for supporting all the way through.”

The women’s event is a “QS1000” qualifier, the fourth-highest ranking among qualifying events in the World Surf League’s second-tier competition.

In the men’s event, which carries a “QS6000” ranking, the second-highest, 22-year-old Reo Inaba finished third behind the champion, Nat Young (14.17 points), and the runner-up, Evan Geiselman (13.44), both of the United States.

“I’m so happy right now, it’s been the craziest week,” Young said. “Just staying with Evan and surfing against in the final, Cam (Richards), Ian (Crane) and Michael Dunphy were all at the house so it was just amazing. To share a final like that with a good friend is really cool…”

Young recently began working with a new top-level coach, Jake “Snake” Patterson, and the move has paid off.

“I started working with Snake this year and slowly getting on a roll here,” Young said. “Surfing’s a sport but it’s also a game. Even if you’re the best surfer in the world you still have to make the right decisions. I feel like I’m surfing some smart heats so thanks to Jake for helping me get back on track.”