Angourie surfer Dakoda Walters scored the biggest win of his career last weekend claiming victory in the World Surf League Qualifying Series at the 2023 Taiwan Open of Surfing.
After winning his way through the heats and semi-finals competing against the best surfers from Australia, Oceania, and Asia, 22-year-old Walters was faced with blustery but fun three-to-four-foot waves at Jinzun Harbour in the final.
In an explosive final featuring two of Australia’s most exciting young talents, Walters took on Central Coast surfer Joel Vaughan, in search of their biggest Qualifying Series event victories.
Both Walters and Vaughan posted the highest totals of the event as they battled it out, with both surfers performing multiple combinations and aerials, but ultimately it was Walter’s consistency and wave selection that earned him the victory with a two-wave score of 15.84 out of 20.
Stoked with his biggest Qualifying Series victory, Dakoda Walters dedicated his win to 24-year-old Indonesian surfer Febriansyah, who was tragically killed in a motorcycle crash on November 10.
“It feels so good to win – it’s definitely the biggest of my career,” Walters said.
“I always get nervous surfing against Joel (Vaughan); he’s so good and capable of anything, so you never know what he is going to do.
“It was fun just to surf and not play the game too much.
“We were hoping for a few more waves during the final, but we each got a couple of opportunities, and I’m stoked I made the most of mine.
“I obviously want to be on the Challenger Series, and this is a great step towards that.
“I came here to Taiwan for the World Juniors in 2019, and I knew how good the air wind here is and was excited to get back here – it’s a super fun place.
“I’d also like to dedicate all of this to Febri – I hope that everyone here made him proud today, and I’m glad that we could all surf and do it for him.
“Thanks to everyone for making it possible for us to do it in his honour.”