Manly lad Declan Wyton. Pic: Jimenez
US gun Cole Robbins. Pic: Jimenez
Local Antoine Delpero. Pic: Sean Evans
Yamba’s Frank Murphy. Pic: Sean Evans
28 May 19
After a blazing start with the women on opening day, the Men's Division took centre stage with displays of world-class talent.
France's hometown favourite and two-time ISA Longboard World Championship Antoine Delpero dominated his local break of Côte des Basques and excited the crowed with the two highest wave scores and highest heat total of the day. Delpero's waves of 8.80 and 8 earned him a total of 16.80, getting his campaign for a third ISA Longboard Gold Medal off to an excellent start.
Antoine Delpero's younger brother, Edouard, also put on a strong showing, and earned the third highest wave score with 7.67 behind his brother's two scores in the 8-point range.
The defending Gold Medalist Team USA showed excellent control in the tricky conditions with superb performances from their male competitors. The defending Men's Gold Medalist Kai Sallas earned the second highest heat total of the day with 13.90 and his teammate Cole Robbins followed close behind with the third highest total, 13.50.
Benoit 'Piccolo' Clemente, the defending Silver Medalist from the 2018 edition in Wanning, China, advanced through Round 1 of the Main Event, looking to take the next step to the Gold Medal in 2019.
The competition thus far in the event has been fierce, as the athletes are competing with the added motivation of earning the available qualification slots in the 2019 Pan Am Games and 2019 ANOC World Beach Games (WBG). The highest finishing man and woman from the Americas will earn their ticket to the Pan Ams in Lima, Peru, while the WBG, to take place in San Diego, USA, will divvy up 26 slots between the men and women.
Uruguay's Ignacio Pignataro took the top honors in his round 1 heat and spoke about the significance of longboard's Pan American inclusion.
"It really important to have longboarding included in the Pan American Games. We are looking forward to having a spot there alongside the shortboard surfing and are all eager to fight for that qualification slot that is available in this event.
"It's a special moment for our sport, allowing it to be shown to people all around the world. Hopefully this is a stepping stone to gain eventual inclusion in the Olympic Games."
South Africa's Alfonzo Pieters advanced through his round 1 heat to advance to the main event. Pieters, who had a challenging childhood, living on the street of Cape Town, became one of the feel-good stories at the 2018 edition of the event due to his long road to represent his nation at the highest level of the sport.
"Longboard surfing has given me a whole new life," said Pieters. "Before surfing I was distraught. I had no focus or base. I started surfing and got a job in surfing. Then I met my wife through surfing and we had a child, so surfing gave me everything.
"Being in France with the best longboard surfers in the world is a great achievement. My wife keeps reminding me that I deserve to be here. I take that and I run with it. I am way more confident competing this year. I don't feel like the same surfer I was at last year's event."
- REPORT FROM THE ISA