SPICARE Omaezaki Japan World Cup

Winners Clinch World Number One Position in Buzzer Beater Finishes at Japan World Cup

In the first 5-star event of the 2024 world windsurfing wave tour, winners from Spain, Japan and Hawaii edged out the field with multiple, buzzer beater moments at the Spicare Omaezaki Japan World Cup. They will now start the season with the coveted, world number one position.

In the Pro Junior Boys, 2023 World Junior Champion, Liam Dunkerbeck (Starboard / Severne Sails / Black Project Fins) took the win in an intense final, where the last three waves ridden in the final 30 seconds counted for each of the podium finishers.  In light, cross offshore conditions with clean, head high waves, Dunkerbeck found an excellent set that offered multiple critical lip hits. Scoring a 7.67, he looked like he’d take the win mid-way through the heat if he could find a back-up. But in the last 30 seconds of the heat, Ryu Nogochi (Severne), who had impressed in the Pro Men’s by making the semi-finals, made a late charge by nailing a critical lip hit on a decent set to take the lead. If he’d made his last aerial on that wave, he may well have won. Dunkerbeck answered back on a smaller wave behind, with two lips hits that managed to give him just enough of a back-up score to take back the lead.  But right on the buzzer, Hayata Ishii (RRD / RRD Sails), who was currently sitting in fourth place, was on one of the biggest waves of the heat behind him. Ishii started with a great aerial, but the wave didn’t offer much for his second move and he scored a 6.27 to finish as runner up, just 0.2 points ahead of Ryu. Ryoma Sugi, who had sat in second all the way up to the last minute, but had caught a smaller wave in front of the sets and had to watch as the others all slashed their way to move ahead of him.  A grateful Liam said, “It was probably one of the most difficult heats of my life. It was freezing cold, glassy on the inside and really windy on the outside. I was lucky I got that big one in the middle of the heat.”

Maria Morales Navarro (Goya Windsurfing) continued the Spanish conquest in the Junior Girls by knocking out upcoming Japanese talent, Nozomi Sakai and Mii Yamada. Nozomi did well to start the heat with two quick scores, but with very light winds, just fell off the back of a good wave on her second turn. This still gave her the lead, which she held all the way up until the last minute, when Morales found a long walled set wave. She slashed her way through multiple turns on clean walls to steal the win from Nozomi. “I’m super happy to win here at Omaezaki.  The conditions were really good, but it was not that easy,” said Maria joyfully.

The Pro Men and Pro Women were run in mast high waves over an exhausting, but exhilarating 10 hour day. The 2023 World Champion, Marcilio Browne (Goya Windsurfing), led the Men’s final for most of the way and looked unstoppable with rapid fire frontside to backside moves in critical sections.  But in the last few seconds of the heat, Hawaiian rider, Bernd Roediger (Flikka / Hot Sails Maui / Black Project Fins), managed to snare a great wave that offered excellent sections for progression. He landed an aerial and, in a ‘will he or won’t he’ moment, pulled a dramatic goiter out of the white water to take the win after the buzzer.  Bernd said: “I’m notorious for giving people scares like that.  It definitely has to do with a feeling you get. You feel the wave is out there, you just have to wait for it to come. And I felt like something good was going to happen to me today.”.  Victor Fernandez (Duotone / Duotone Sails) had been another stand out, riding waves with speed, aggression and a snappy, off the lip style. But he couldn’t quite maintain the same flow and power he had found earlier in the day and finished in third.  Morgan Noireaux (JP / NeilPryde / Black Project Fins) had looked to be gaining momentum right up to the semi-finals, with an attacking down-the-line approach. He smacked a few good sections in the final, but just didn’t quite get the same wave quality as he’d had in previous heats.  

Local favourite and 2023 winner, Motoko Sato (Starboard / Severne Sails), proved too strong in the Pro Women’s and again, took out the win ahead of world number two, Sarah Hauser (Quatro / Goya Windsurfing). Sato used a succession of frontside hits with backside snaps to score the highest wave of the heat. A relieved Sato said: “being a local here, people think I’m used to these conditions, but I’m not really used to these onshore conditions at all. I’m so glad to win.” Hauser powered through bottom turns and hit lips with aggression to challenge Motoko and take out the runner up position. World number four, María Andrés (Duotone / Duotone Sails), did consistent and strong frontside turns throughout the event to remain a serious threat and finished in third place. 

In difficult light-wind conditions, the Masters ended up as an all-Japanese final. Yoshitaka Ikeda found a good down the line rhythm to take out Takashi Endo in yet another close final.

Riders will now focus on the second 5 star event of the 2024 World Wave Tour, which will happen in Chile from March 30 to April 12.  

Results & 2024 World Rankings:

Pro Junior Boys
1st Liam Dunkerbeck (ESP | Starboard / Severne Sails / Black Project Fins)
2nd Hayata Ishii (JPN | RRD / RRD Sails)
3rd Ryu Noguchi (JPN (Starboard / Severne Sails)
4th Ryoma Sugi (JPN)

Pro Junior Girls / Junior Girls
1st Maria Morales Navarro (ESP | Goya Windsurfing)
2nd Nozomi Sakai (JPN)
3rd Mii Yamada (JPN)
4th Natsuki Wawkasa (JPN) 

Junior Boys
1st Ryu Noguchi (JPN | Starboard / Severne Sails)
2nd Ryoma Sugi (JPN)
3rd Haruto Konishi (JPN)
4th Takumi Moriya (JPN | Severne / Severne Sails)

Pro Women
1st Motoko Sato (JPN | Starboard / Severne Sails)
2nd Sarah Hauser (NC | Quatro / Goya Windsurfing)
3rd Maria Andres (ESP | Duotone / Duotone Sails)
4th Maria Morales Navarro (ESP | Goya Windsurfing)
5th Natsuki Wakasa / Shoko Yoshioka (JPN)
6th Nozomi Sakai / Minako Mori (JPN)

Pro Men
1st Bernd Roediger (HI | Flikka / Hot Sails Maui / Black Project Fins)
2nd Marcilio Browne (BRA | Goya Windsurfing)
3rd Victor Fernandez (ESP | Duotone / Duotone Sails)
4th Morgan Noireaux (HI | JP / NeilPryde / Black Project Fins)
5th Takara Ishii (JPN | RRD / RRD Sails) / Marc Pare Rico (ESP | Simmer / Simmer Sails)
7th Ryu Noguchi (JPN | Starboard / Severne Sails) / Robby Swift (UK | JP / NeilPryde)

1st Yoshitaka Ikeda (JPN)
2nd Takashi Endo (JPN)
3rd Masaru Nimi / Dai Akimot (JPN)

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