ANGLET, France (Fri., May 4, 2007) – The day's competition at the Oxbow Pro World Longboard Championships has produced some massive upsets with the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) International current world champion Josh Constable (AUS) and last year's runner up Ned Snow (HAW) both eliminated by young Australian wildcards.
The first major surprise saw the defending event champion Constable (AUS) being beaten by 17-year-old whiz kid Harrison Roach (AUS). It was a massive upset as the more experienced and powerful Constable had been in devastating form.
"I was nipping at his heals at the recent Noosa Festival of Surfing event and he just pipped me at the post there, so it was so good to get him here at the big one," said Roach. "He's a really good surfer, so you don't want to give him a chance, so I put the hassle on him and gave him some pressure and I guess it worked."
Harrison, not content with his incredible run all the way from the trials, now has his sights on the big prize.
"Well yes, I can go all the way. I'm not here to make friends. I'm going for the number one spot," said the confident youngster.
Harrison has been travelling and staying with another wildcard in the event Bryce Young, whose dad just happens to be the patron of the event and surfing legend Nat Young.
"I've been staying with Bryce and his parents," Roach said. "It's been really amazing having Nat around – this morning he gave us both a big pep talk, which was awesome."
In the very next heat it was a similar scenario with trials wildcard Jackson Close, a young, powerful Australian, surfing far too strong for last year's runner up Ned Snow (HAW).
"I'm pretty happy right now, beating number two in the world is a big achievement," said Close after his victory. "I've got nothing to lose, and with a world title up for grabs, you can't afford to play it safe. You just have to go for it and try and stick it every time."
Like his fellow giant killer Roach, Close's thoughts have now turned to bigger and better things.
"That's what I'm here for, you know, to win the thing," Close said.
In the remaining heats of Round 3, the old world order was restored with former world champions Colin McPhillips (USA), Bonga Perkins (HAW), Mathew Moir (ZAF) and world number 3 Harvey Ingleby (AUS) all advancing to the next round.
McPhillips, who was in danger of missing the event after a knee injury only last week, scored an impressive 16.50 pts out of 20 in his heat and looks dangerous, especially considering the fall of some of his biggest competitors.
"Yeah that was a little bonus," said McPhillips, referring to Constable and Snow's elimination. "But it's great to see. I mean I haven't even heard, let alone seen, these guys before and yet here they are taking out the old guys. They are really shaking things up and it's great for the sport."
Bonga Perkins (HAW) the 1996 world champion also reflected on the upsets after his heat win against Dodger Kremel (USA).
"Well I suppose there are couple of big dogs that I don't have to worry about now," Perkins said, before adding a cautionary warning. "Still there are so many good surfers left in the competition and you can't take anything for granted."
The world ranked number three, Ingleby, agreed with the veteran Hawaiian, after his heat win over Bryce Young.
"I'm pretty sure everyone left in the event has their eyes on the prize," Ingleby said. "But with these variable conditions and the incredible standard of surfing, I'll just be taking it heat by heat."
That just left the strong Brazilian contingent to provide the majority of the final 16 places left in the event. Surfers like Jeremias de Silva, Phil Rajzman, Carlos Bahia, Eduardo Bage and Danilo Rodrigo, all firm friends, are looking strong and determined. Such is their collective talent it's hard not seeing one of these surfers making the final.
"We have always travelled and surfed together," said Eduardo Bage, who took out his fellow countrymen Jonas Lima in heat 12. "While individually we all want to win, it is good to be together and support each other."
With two days remaining and 16 surfers left, organisers will aim to run Round 4 tomorrow before finishing the event on Sunday. After a day of upsets and the elimination of the current world champion, one thing now is certain; come the end of the weekend we will have a new ASP International 2007 Men's Longboard World Champion. For more information go to www.oxboworld.com
Round 4 Match Ups
Heat 1: Antoine Delpero (FRA) vs Jeremias da Silva (BRA)
Heat 2: Phil Rajzman (BRA) vs Jensen Taylor (USA)
Heat 3: Jamie Viudes (BRA) vs Keegan Edwards (HAW)
Heat 4: Carlos Bahia (BRA) vs Harrison Roach (AUS)
Heat 5: Jackson Close (AUS) vs Colin McPhillips (USA)
Heat 6: Bonga Perkins (HAW) vs Eduardo Bage (BRA)
Heat 7: Harley Ingleby (AUS) vs Romain Maurin (FRA)
Heat 8: Mathew Moir (ZAF) vs Danilo Rodrigo (BRA)
Results Round 3, 1st progress, 2nd eliminated
Heat 7: Carlos Bahia (BRA) 15.10 d Ben Skinner (GBR) 8.00
Heat 8: Harrison Roach (AUS) 13.05 dJosh Constable (AUS) 11.50
Heat 9: Jackson Close (AUS) 14.25 d Ned Snow (HAW) 13.00
Heat 10: Colin McPhillips (USA) 16.50 vs Roger Barros (BRA) 11.50
Heat 11: Bonga Perkins (USA) 11.50 Dodger Kremel (USA) 8.30
Heat 12: Eduardo Bage (BRA) 10.00 d Jonas Lima (BRA) 8.00
Heat 13: Harley Ingleby (AUS) 12.75 vs Bryce Young (AUS) 12.15
Heat 14: Romain Maurin (FRA) 11.35 vs Tom Lloy (USA) 7.80
Heat 15: Mathew Moir (ZAF) 13.50 vs Kai Sallas (HAW) 13.05
Heat 16: Danilo Rodrigo (BRA) 12.25 vs Anri Nabeshima (JPN) 2.70