Lucy Small stepping up. Lucy is one of our favourite writers and pleased to say she’s a regular contributor to PLB. Pic: WSL / Masurel
Two-time world champ, Kelia Moniz from Oahu. Pic: WSL / Masurel
Three-time world champ Taylor Jensen. Pic: WSL / Masurel
Justin Quintal racking the big scores, again! Pic: WSL / Masurel
Avalon Gall taking the top scoring heat for the day in the Women’s. Pic: WSL / Poullenot
30 August 19
The inaugural Longboard Classic Galicia continued today in improved conditions for the world’s best longboarders with clean three-to-four foot surf and light winds at first. Competition resumed with the opening round of women’s action before completing men’s Round 3 and women’s Round 2 in the afternoon.
Athletes from all over the world got a chance to experience an excellent day of surfing in Galicia and displayed incredible performances with the traditional longboarding style rewarded by the judging panel with excellent scores.
Reigning WSL Longboard Champion Soleil Errico (USA) launched her campaign in Galicia with a solid 7.83 to take an easy win into Round 3. After a somewhat early exit in Noosa in equal 9th place, Errico chases a big result in Pantin to have a shot at defending her title.
“The practice sessions have been really busy so it was super nice to be out there with two other girls out,” Errico said. “I didn’t try to over do it on that good left and just surfed it simple, that inside section I actually didn’t think I’d make it but when I did I was stoked. I’m riding the same board I rode in Taiwan last year and it’s just the best board ever.”
Errico’s compatriot Avalon Gall (USA) went on to put together the highest combination of scores of the women’s event so far with a 14.16 in the following heat.
The current rankings leader and 2-time runner-up in the world Chloe Calmon(BRA) opened her Galician account with a good performance as well to defeat Sally Cohen (HAW) and Emily Currie (GBR) on her way to Round 3 where she’ll face form Reunion Island surfer Ophelie Ah-Kouen (FRA).
“It’s such a great opportunity for all of us to have a proper tour this year,” Calmon said. “It’s been a really exciting year for the whole longboarding community. It’s our first time here in Pantin and it’s an amazing place with great waves and incredible landscapes. Having more opportunities throughout the year and a chance to compete in very different conditions kind of takes the pressure off and I’m taking each event as a new chapter.”
Ah-Kouen and Zoe Grospiron (FRA) were responsible for the day’s biggest upset, as the pair eliminated 5-time European Champion Alice Lemoigne (FRA) in Round 2.
“It made me a little nervous to surf against my friends out there but I found a couple of waves and had fun,” Grospiron said. “Alice always pushes me to surf better and she usually beats me so I’m happy to get one over her this time.”
In the men’s event, the heavy-hitters entered the show in Round 3 with the likes of Tony Silvagni (USA), Edouard Delpero (FRA) and 3-time WSL Longboard Champion Taylor Jensen (USA) surfing their first heats. But instead of taking over discussions, it was yesterday’s standouts who continued to build momentum and take out heats.
Kaniela Stewart (HAW) was the first surfer to find the excellent range of scores on a right that peeled forever and allowed the Hawaiian to spend most of his time hanging 5 then 10 toes out the nose of his board all the way in for an 8.00 point ride.
“I just saw this right lining up really good and I just went for it,” Stewart stated. “It’s really fun out there with plenty of opportunities to get good scores and I was lucky enough to get one of those good waves.”
Rankings leader Justin Quintal (USA) racked up the event’s highest heat total with 14.86 points. The stylish regular foot stepped up his game again both on the nose and in his carves and even pull his signature hang-heels move on one of his two best scoring waves.
“This little left looked like it was going to work better as the tide came in and I managed to get a couple and link them up,” Quintal said. “Taylor is a great surfer and he’s been doing this for along time so it was a little nerve-wracking to surf against him. I remember as a grom in Florida going to see him and Kai Sallas and Joel Tudor, so to be here years later and competing against those guys is pretty cool.”
Long time competitor Kai Sallas (HAW) put on one of the most inspiring displays of the round as well, bombing down the line of a beautiful left, enjoying the view right from the nose of his board. Sallas milked every inch of opportunity on that wave with multiple nose sections and beautiful carving turns to make his way to the beach with a solid 7.83 on his scoreline.
“I love surfing and I love competing so even though it’s a long way from home I’m super happy to be here,” Sallas said. “I appreciate what WSL is doing, putting on multiple events for longboarding, it’s something I’ve always dreamed of having throughout my career so for sure I wanted to be here this year and participate in this effort.”
Surfers will be back at 9 a.m tomorrow to continue battles at the Longboard Classic Galicia.
- REPORT BY NICOLAS LEROY, FOR THE WSL