With more than 55 countries on hand, the Men's Open division finally took to the waters at the 2019 ISA World Surfing Games presented by Vans Tuesday afternoon in Miyazaki, Japan.
With surfing making its Olympic debut in 2020 in Tokyo, countries are sending their best in hopes of riding the wave onto the world's biggest stage. Guam's surfers are no exception, hoping to make their mark in this historic sporting event. If the group is successful at the ISA World Games, they get a shot at an Olympic spot in the sport's inaugural run.
Braving strong winds and reduced swells, the men's competition did not disappoint.
Guam's Shane Pier and Jared Gogue got their shots in Round 1, but time ran out for Cheyne Purcell's heat. Purcell, in heat 34, is expected to compete early this morning. It's expected to be one of the most watched heats with 2018 World Surfing Champion Gabriel Medina from Brazil expected to compete.
Both Pier and Gogue fell short in their first bid, falling to the repechage rounds. Gogue had a decent set but couldn't overcome the experience and expertise of New Zealand's Billy Stairmand and Italy's Roman Tallani. He finished third and will be competing in the repechage rounds later today.
"Today had really challenging conditions, but I'm excited to try again in the repechage," said Gogue. "I'm just so stoked to represent Guam."
Pier had a tough heat, and finished fourth. New Zealand's Ricardo Christie easily outdistanced the field, posting an 11.57. The second through fourth spots were tight. Efren Aguilar from Guatemala posted an 8.83, just edging Italy's Roberto D'Amico and Pier.