ANGLET, France (Sun., May 5, 2007) - By the end of today's competition the winner of Oxbow Pro World Longboard Championship and therefore the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) International 2007 Men's World Longboard Champion will be known.
The surf here at les Cavaliers, Anglet is improving as organisers wait for the tide to drop for the scheduled 11.00am local time start. First in the water will giant killing Australian Jackson Close who has surfed all the way from the trials. The powerful Aussie has been in tremendous form, upsetting world no 2 Ned Snow (HAW) and two-world times champion Colin McPhillips (AUS) along the way.
As McPhillips said, "I've never even heard of, let alone seen, guys like Jackson, yet here he is taking out some of the older guys. It's not so great for me, but it is the sport."
Patron of the event and former world champion Nat Young agreed.
"Jackson is such a powerful, solid surfer and really deserves where he is right now," Young said.
Close though isn't settling just for the accolades and exposure.
"I don't love these types of waves, but I know how to surf them," said Close. "I'm going for the number one spot. I wouldn't have come over here if I didn't think I could win it."
Mind you he is surfing against one of the legends of the sport and the sole remaining world title winner left in the field, Bonga Perkins (HAW). Perkins was the world champion way back in 1996 and yesterday used all his experience to oust Eduardo Bage (BRA). Close will have to do something special to upset the Hawaiian style guru.
The next quarterfinal sees Harvey Ingleby (AUS) up against Brazilian powerhouse Rodrigo Danilo. Ingleby is now the highest ranked surfer in the event following the shock elimination of defending champion Josh Constable (AUS) and runner up Snow. Ingleby though , a smooth natural footer, is not getting carried away.
"I'm not really thinking about who's left, the remaining surfers are too good to do that," said Ingleby. "I'm just going to take each heat as they come and hopefully I'll get through."
The first semi final is an all-Brazilian affair with perhaps the form surfer of the week so Phil Rajzman taking on fellow countrymen and good friend Roger "Carlos" Bahia. The Brazilians have been the powerhouse nation throughout the week and it is no surprise to see them filling at least half of the final four places in the event.
96 surfers competed in this event, and now we are down to just six. By this afternoon one of those surfers will be named the winner of the Oxbow Pro World Longboard Championship. Not only that, he will take home a prize purse of $US10,000. More importantly, for the next 12 months he will be known as the 2007 (ASP) Men's World Longboard Champion.
For more information go to www.oxboworld.com
Remaining Quarterfinals Match ups
QF3: Jackson Close (HAW) vs Bonga Perkins (BRA)
QF4: Harley Ingleby (AUS) vs Danilo Rodrigo (BRA)
S1: Phil Rajzman (BRA) vs Roger "Carlos" Bahia (BRA)