ANGLET, France (Friday, Apr. 27, 2007) – With the Oxbow World Longboard Championship scheduled to start this Monday, Apr. 30, at Anglet, France, the Basque Coast is set for a huge influx of surfing legends and the world's hottest longboarders. One such surfer will be crowned the ASP World Longboard Champion by May 6, the last day of the event waiting period.
It is believed that surfing was first brought to Europe way back in 1956 by Hollywood screenwriter Peter Viertel when he was in Biarritz filming 'The Sun also Rises.' From that, a local surfing community quickly sprung up, led by Biarritz legends George Hennebutte and Joel de Rosnay. Since then the area has been labeled as the cradle of European surfing and is known as its spiritual home.
It is fitting then that just over 40 years later Oxbow have chosen this part of the world to host the ASP World Longboard Championship, offering a $US50,000 prize purse to those whose surfing best represents a mix of smooth, traditional longboarding skills and dynamic, modern, radical moves.
The 2006 winner of the event, Australian Josh Constable, will be there to defend the crown he won in epic waves in Costa Rica and is understandably excited.
"I think going to Anglet is a great thing," said Constable earlier in the year. "Hopefully it will have some size and last year at Costa Rica the waves were just that - head high beach breaks - and I did well there so I'm pumped."
With the world's best longboarders entering the event Constable faces the sternest of challenges to repeat his triumph. Surfers like Bonga Perkins (HAW), Joel Tudor (USA) plus American Colin McPhillips (USA) are all previous world champions and are all expected to figure highly.
Local hopes though will be resting on young Frenchman and Oxbow wildcard Antoine Delpero. Delpero was raised in the Mediterranean waters around the beautiful city of Marseille, but has been based in the Basque coast for the last few years. An accomplished shortboarder and longboarder, Antoine has made a name for himself riding the huge waves of the Basque coast this winter and has the talent to spring some major upsets.
Overlooking all this mix of experience and youth will be the patron of the event and 1966 world champion Nat Young. Nat is almost a mythical ambassador to the sport of surfing and in particular longboarding and will be lending his support and immense knowledge to the event. He will also be joined by another bona fide surfing legend, Laird Hamilton. Surfing's closest thing to a superhero will be in attendance, giving demonstrations of his prowess on a range of surfing equipment including a paddle board, an ancient Hawaiian tradition he has resurrected which involves standing on a surfboard and using a paddle to propel him into waves.
The Oxbow World Longboard Championships is an official ASP World Longboard Tour event and will use the same format used by shortboard surfing's ultimate professional series - the Foster's ASP World Tour - which has a 48-man draw where surfers compete in man-on-man heats from round two.
With a solid swell predicted, the excitement of the man-on-man format, the famous beaches of les Cavaliers, la Barre and les Dunes providing epic locations and the presence of so many of surfing's luminaries, the Oxbow World Longboard Championship is set to be one of the premier events in the surfing calendar. For more information go to www.oxboworld.com