ANGLET, France (Sat., May 5, 2007) – Two quarterfinals of the Oxbow Pro World Longboard Championship were completed today, before an increasing high tide forced organisers to finish the day's competition. Tomorrow will see the completion of the event and the crowning of the 2007 Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) International Men's World Longboard Champion.
In the two quarterfinals held Brazilians overcame their opponents to set up an all-Brazilian first semi final. In Quarterfinal 1 giant killer and local hope Antoine Delpero's incredible run came to an end, although it took a wave in the final seconds of the heat by Phil Rajzman (BRA) to do it.
Holding priority and needing a five-point ride to advance, Rajzman waited patiently and with time almost out, caught the winning wave.
"I was so lucky that the wave came to me at the very end. I just gave it everything I had and luckily it was enough," Rajzman said. "I am so happy right now, hopefully tomorrow the waves will be a bit bigger and quicker which suit me more and, once again, the waves will come to me."
Delpero was the first to congratulate his victor, before the rest of his flag waving countrymen on the beach swamped the 24-year-old bearded Brazilian. They then had further reason to cheer when Roger Bahia (BRA) overcame Hawaiian Keegan Edwards in the following quarterfinal. He too was cheered, drummed and whistled as he left the water victorious.
"The support from all the Brazilians over here has been amazing," said Bahia. "There's been really strong support here at the beach, but also from back home. There have been so many emails and text messages wishing us all well."
Earlier in the day another wildcard, Jackson Close (AUS), caused the upset of the day, something he's been doing with monotonous regularity, by knocking out two-time world champion Colin McPhillips (USA) in their Round 4 heat. Needing a six-point ride to win with a minute remaining, Close took off a medium sized wave and absolutely blasted his way to victory.
"There's no point holding back," said Close. "I knew I needed a 5.9 and I went pretty vertical on my first turn and stuck it, so I was really happy with it. I seem to have had the hardest heats all the way through, but I keep knocking these big names out, so I've really impressed myself."
That left only one former world champion still alive in the competition, the 1996 world champion Bonga Perkins (HAW). He used his experience to notch up another win and progress through to the quarterfinals where he'll face Close in the first quarterfinal tomorrow of the day tomorrow.
Events organisers are aiming to start the competition tomorrow at 11.00am local time. For more information www.oxboworld.com
Remaining Quarterfinals Match ups
QF3: Jackson Close (HAW) vs Bonga Perkins (BRA)
QF4: Harley Ingleby (AUS) vs Danilo Rodrigo (BRA)
Quarterfinals; 1st progress, 2nd eliminated
QF1: Phil Rajzman (BRA) 12.00 d Antoine Delpero (FRA) 11.85
QF2: Carlos Bahia (BRA) 11.75 d Keegan Edwards (HAW) 7.50
Round 4; 1st progress, 2nd eliminated
Heat 1: Antoine Delpero (FRA) 12.25 d Jeremias da Silva (BRA) 9.00
Heat 2: Phil Rajzman (BRA) 14.25 d Jensen Taylor (USA) 9.00
Heat 3: Keegan Edwards (HAW) 9.90 d Jamie Viudes (BRA) 7.20
Heat 4: Carlos Bahia 12.90 (BRA) d Harrison Roach (AUS) 12.20
Heat 5: Jackson Close (AUS) 14.25 d Colin McPhillips (USA) 12.25
Heat 6: Bonga Perkins (HAW) 11.75 d Eduardo Bage (BRA) 10.60
Heat 7: Harley Ingleby 13.75 (AUS) d Romain Maurin (FRA) 7.25
Heat 8: Rodrigo Danilo (BRA) 14.50 d Mathew Moir (ZAF) 8.80 (BRA)