BIARRITZ, France (Wednesday, July 11, 2007) – Looking and feeling right at home, the defending event champion and current ASP Women's World Longboard Champion, Schuyler McFerran (USA), 20, dominated her Round 1 heat at the Roxy ASP WWLC today.
"I've been waiting for so long for this event to start," McFerran said. "I was pretty nervous and was so glad when I rode that first clean wave. It was finally just about surfing and not thinking, which was a relief."
That first wave netted the world champion a 6.75 out of 10.00, which she backed up with the highest wave score of the day, an 8.75. Given her results here, it is no wonder that McFerran feels a real affinity with this section of the Basque coast and the town of Biarritz.
"When I arrived a couple of days ago it felt like I'd never left," McFerran said. "It's such a cool, funky place with great waves and it felt so good to be back here and at such a good event. I'm through to the third round now, so I can relax a little and kick back and enjoy myself."
McFerran's two-wave heat score of 15.50 out of a possible 20.00 was only bettered by Estixu Estremo (SPN) today. The powerful surfer hails from the Spanish-side of the Basque coast and used local knowledge to post a heat score of 15.75. Such was her dominance, by the heat's end the experienced Kassia Meador, known as the "queen of noseriding" and one of the favorites for the event, needed a combination of scores to overcome her opponent.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, in terms of both experience and heat tally, 16-year-old Emma Neuschwanger (REU) overcame a last minute entry and nerves to progress through Heat 13. Neuschwanger's mother and little brother also made the journey from Reunion Island.
"I was on the alternate list and only found out this morning that I was surfing," Nueschwanger said. "This is my first ever senior competition and I was so nervous, but I am so proud to have won and am very excited about my next heat."
Her two-wave tally of 7.75 may have been the lowest winning score of the day, but it was enough to give her a day off, as organizers plan to run the whole of Round 2 tomorrow.
The good news is conditions are set to improve in time for the start of the one-on-one sudden death phase of the competition. Contest organizer, Phillipe Malvaux, has predicted sunny skies and a new, small, but powerful, swell for the next couple of days.
"The forecast looks really good," Malvaux said. "We look like we are going to be really lucky for the whole event, with clean waves and good winds. It should be excellent for longboarding."
With 48 of the world's best women longboarders still in contention for the Roxy ASP WWLC and this fabulous stretch of the Cote de Basque set to deliver the goods, the quality of longboarding is ready to go through the roof.
Roxy ASP WWLC Round 2 Match-Ups – 1st to Round 3, 2nd eliminated
Heat 1: Claire Karabatsos (FRA) vs. Tory Gilkerson (USA)
Heat 2: Kassia Meador (USA) vs. Kelly Sloan (USA)
Heat 3: Janna Irons (HAW) vs. Malia Fuertes (USA)
Heat 4: Chelsea Williams (AUS) vs. Kelly Coward (USA)
Heat 5: Ashley Lloyd (USA) vs. Jenni Flanigan (USA)
Heat 6: Selby Riddle (AUS) vs. Caroline Angibeaud (USA)
Heat 7: Coline Menard (FRA) vs. Rosie Locke (AUS)
Heat 8: Melanie Fosse ( FRA) vs. Lindsay Steinriede (USA)
Heat 9: Clemence Godinaud (FRA) vs. Claire Dereux (FRA)
Heat 10: Cristiana Pires (BRA) vs. Hanalei Reponty (TAH)
Heat 11: Julie Cox (USA) vs. Marie Vigne (FRA)
Heat 12: Miku Uemura (HAW) vs. Candice O'Donnell (GBR)
Heat 13: Karina Abras (BRA) vs. Nathalie Destandau (FRA)
Heat 14: Kirsty Webster (AUS) vs. Myriam Imaz (SPN)
Heat 15: Summer Romero (USA) vs. Gaelle Szymkowiak (FRA)
Heat 16: Angela Bauer (BRA) vs. Helene Chabeaud (FRA)
Roxy ASP WWLC Round 1 Results – 1st to Round 3, 2nd and 3rd to Round 2
Round 1: 1st progress to Round 3, 2nd and 3rd to Round 2
Heat 1: Mary Osborne (USA) 12.85, Summer Romero (USA) 10.25, Lindsay Steinriede (USA) 8.75
Heat 2: Yuki Suzuki (JPN) 12.65, Ashley Lloyd (USA) 11.50, Kirsty Webster (AUS) 7.25.
Heat 3: Isabelle Braley (AUS) 11.40, Chelsea Williams (AUS) 10.50, Karina Abras (BRA) 8.75
Heat 4: Joy Magelssen (HAW) 13.75, Miku Uemura (HAW) 7.00, Rosie Locke (AUS) 6.65
Heat 5: Justine Dupont (FRA) 14.10, Janna Irons (HAW) 11.50, Julie Cox (USA) 10.55
Heat 6: Estixu Estremo (SPN)15.75, Kassia Meador (USA) 12.25, Caroline Angibeaud (FRA) 7.75
Heat 7: Kaitlin Maguire (USA) 13.00, Jenni Flannigan (USA) 12.60, Cristiana Pires (BRA) 5.60
Heat 8: Schuyler McFerran (USA) 15.50, Malia Fuertes (USA) 11.20, Coline Menard (FRA) 8.00
Heat 9: Jennifer Smith (USA) 12.15, Melanie Fosse (FRA) 9.75, Kelly Coward (USA) 6.50
Heat 10: Kelia Moniz (HAW) 10.90, Claire Karabatsos (FRA) 7.90, Clemence Godinaud (FRA) 7.00
Heat 11: Yuko Shimajiri (JPN) 8.95, Kelly Sloan (USA) 7.00, Tory Gilkerson (USA) 5.30
Heat 12: Leah Dawson (USA) 11.65, Claire Dereux (FRA) 11.45, Angela Bauer (BRA) 5.95
Heat 13: Emma Neuschwanger (USA) 7.75, Helene Chabeaud (FRA) 3.90, Hanalei Reponty (TAH) 3.90
Heat 14: Kelly Nicely (USA)11.25, Gaelle Szymkowiak (FRA) 5.25, Marie Vigne (FRA) 0.00
Heat 15: Crystal Dzigas (HAW) 13.75, Myriam Imaz (SPN) 8.00, Candice O'Donnell (GBR) 3.65
Heat 16: Sabrina Olas (BRA) 8.85, Selby Riddle (AUS) 7.35, Nathalie Destandau (FRA) 4.95