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Tuesday, April 24, 2012
ASP continues Far East movement

By Devon O'Neil
ESPN Action Sports

Korean surf
The Murasaki Quiksilver Open of Surfing will take place June 14-18 at Mun Beach on Jeju Island.

With the announcement last week of a newly sanctioned 2-star men's contest in South Korea, the Association of Surfing Professionals is making more inroads into the Far East. The June event on Jeju Island -- officially titled the Murasaki Quiksilver Open of Surfing -- marks the first ASP contest in the Republic of Korea.

It is also the latest move by the ASP to broaden its presence in that region, following the recent sanctioning of two new events in China: a Women's Longboard Tour event last fall (which world champion Cori Schumacher boycotted in protest of China's human rights policies) and a 4-star men's qualifier in January, the Hainan Classic.

In all, the ASP will sanction five men's qualifiers in the Far East in 2012 -- one in China, one in Korea and three in Japan -- as well as the Women's Longboard World Championship in China in November, and two Longboard Qualifying Series events slated for Japan in June and October.

"As with all our branches, our goal is to develop and maintain robust and stable tours in all ASP regions," ASP international media director Dave Prodan said, explaining why the organization has recently emphasized the Far East. "Opportunities in the Asia region, such as the ASP WLT event in China and the forthcoming ASP 2-Star event in South Korea, have been presented to us in recent years and we're pleased to assist and develop professional surfing in these locations."

The 2-star contest on Jeju Island has been staged for a decade, but the ASP's involvement is being viewed as a potential boon for the event as well as the country's surfing status.

"We hope the surfing culture continues to grow in South Korea and someday be well known worldwide," said M. Shimada, marketing manager for the local organizer, Murasaki Sports. "As an international event for 2012, we hope it will be held annually and be a part of the international calendar. We hope we can introduce to the world the high-quality waves that Jeju Island [has]."

Prodan said Mun Beach, where the contest will take place, "has a number of beachbreaks as well as several pointbreak setups" that could be utilized. The event is scheduled for June 14-18.