Ryota Matsushita: taking the most out of small waves

Ryota Matsushita won the Murasaki Shonan Open 2014, at Kugenuma Beach, Kanagawa, Japan.

Despite the small waves on offer (one-to-two foot surf), the ASP Japan Tour event got underway in beautiful weather conditions. The final heat had three Japanese surfers and one Australian rider. They've understood how hard it can be to perform tricks on small bumps.

Fresh from a 9th place finish at the last event in Mexico, Connor O'Leary continued his good form to earn 563 ASP Qualifying Series ranking points and USD $4,000 prise-money, but most importantly the result saw him climb from 93rd to 63rd on the rankings.

This new ranking will see him seeded into the higher rated events as he chases the goal of qualifying for the Top 34 on the elite ASP World Championship Tour. In the final of the Murasaki Shonan Open 2014, he was only exceeded by Ryota Matsushita.

"I'm super desperate for points at the moment to make the Prime rated events for the second half of the year, so this was massive for me. It's awesome to see the level of Japanese surfing rising so quickly," says O'Leary.

"My mum is Japanese and she pretty much spent her whole life in Shonan surfing and living there. It's awesome to come over with her and bring my little brother over who is 8-years-old, we stay at a friend's place which is close to where the competition is held."

Murasaki Shonan Open 2014 Final

1. Ryota Matsushita (JPN)
2. Connor O'Leary (AUS)
3. Naomi Kobayashi (JPN)
4. Kai Hamase (JPN)