ANGLET, France (Wed., May 2, 2007) – It was another classic day of action-packed surfing as a mix of perennial contenders and young rookies shone in epic conditions at the Oxbow Pro World Longboard Championship.
The 48-man championship event held in Anglet, France will determine the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) 2007 Men's World Longboard Champion. The importance of the event was reflected in the standard of surfing with incredible performances on show in the large, 6 to 8 foot (2 -2.5 metre) offshore, powerful conditions.
The sudden death Round 2 started with the current world champion Josh Constable (AUS) absolutely dominating his opponent, young wildcard entrant Troy Mothershead (USA). Constable used his considerable size and strength, showed no nerves and looked in awesome form.
"I wasn't too nervous," said Constable after his win. "I mean there is a little pressure being the current world champ and all that, but my first wave was a good one and my plan worked well."
Constable scored a solid heat score of 16.25 points out of 20.00 and never looked like losing.
"For me it's unreal to have a little size and to surf at beachbreaks, which I love," Constable said. "I didn't feel any nerves and I surfed strong, so right now, it's all good."
Hawaiian John Snow, the man Constable beat in last year's Oxbow Pro World Longboard Championship final, surfed in the following heat. In this heat Snow was too strong for the trials wildcard Jared Neal (AUS). He surfed incredibly well illustrating that both he and Constable look like favorites for a final berth again this year.
In the first heat of the day young Australian wildcard entrant Harrison Roach put in a performance way beyond his years to win his Round 1 heat and progress straight through to the third round.
His Round 3 heat will be his first ever man-on-man heat, something that the kid from Noosa didn't seem too concerned about. When asked who he was afraid of surfing against, the 17-year-old responded confidently:
"Nobody. I'm just going to go out and do my own thing and hopefully get the waves that count."
Another rookie and wildcard to progress was French hopeful Antoine Delpero. With a big crowd on hand to watch the local surfer, he didn't disappoint, mixing some stylish traditional longboarding moves with radical closeout re-entries.
"I've surfed around here for a few years and I love this spot," Delpero said. "It's powerful and it is one of my favorite spots. I actually felt the pressure more yesterday, but today I caught a really good wave at the very start and from then on had no nerves."
Delpero scored a solid two-wave total of 15.25 out of 20.00 and defeated experienced Australian Grant Thomas.
The best wave of the day, and the whole competition, was a 9.65 scored by Amaro Matos (BRA). Matos took off on a solid set wave and performed a classic soul arch hang ten, before dropping down, moving his feet back, pulling into a barrel and traveling for three seconds through a classic tube. It was probably only a fall right at the end of the wave that cost him a 10-point ride. That wave helped him overcome his opponent Alban Meric (FRA) who is now eliminated from the event.
"Wow, I'm so happy," Matos said. "I was very nervous before the heat and I think so much about this heat, and I asked for God to help me and he helped with that wave. You know I am 41-years-old and my heart is too old for all this kind of thing," Matos laughed.
By late afternoon, with the high tide causing the waves to deteriorate, organizers opted to finish the day with eight heats of Round 2. Conditions are predicted to be similar tomorrow at the fabled beachbreaks of les Cavaliers, so another epic day of longboard surfing will be on offer. For more information go to www.oxboworld.com
Remaining Round 2 match ups
Heat 9: Noah Shimabukuro (HAW) vs Dodger Kremel (USA)
Heat 10: Ben Skinner (GBR) vs David Kinoshita (JPN)
Heat 11: Kekoa Uemura (HAW) vs Keegan Edwards (HAW)
Heat 12: Carlos Bahia (BRA) vs Brett Heimstra (USA)
Heat 13: Roger Barros (BRA) vs Dennis Bourg (USA)
Heat 14: Tom Lloy (USA) vs Joe Aaron (USA)
Heat 15: Jed Morouse (USA) vs Anri Nabeshima (JPN)
Heat 16: Phil Rajzman (BRA) vs Alex Salazar (BRA)
Oxbow Pro World Longboard Championship Results
Round 2: Winners progress to Round 3
Heat 1: Josh Constable (AUS) 16.25 d Troy Mothershead 10.25(USA)
Heat 2: Ned Snow (HAW) 15.20 d Jared Neal (AUS) 11.35
Heat 3: Taylor Jensen (USA) 11.00 d Nobuhiro Ogashira (JPN) 7.1
Heat 4: Amaro Matos (BRA) 16.15 d Alban Meric (FRA) 6.0
Heat 5: Jonathan Larcher (FRA) 13.75 d Diego Rosas (BRA) 12.40
Heat 6: Antoine Delpero (FRA) 15.25 d Grant Thomas (AUS) 9.75
Heat 7: Josh Baxter (USA) 12.35 d Michael Detemple (USA) 10.30
Heat 8: Romain Maurin (FRA) 12.35 d Takuji Masuda (JPN) 10.30