Tully White from Sydney’s Manly Beach, Round 4. Pic: WSL/ Cait Miers
Joel Tudor, the veteran ripped (of course), but bowed out to Hawaiian young gun Kaniela Stewart. Pic: WSL/ Cait Miers
Tour leader Justin Quintal exits in Round 4 to Brit ace Ben Skinner. Pic: WSL/ Cait Miers
Young Hawaiian Kelis Kaleopaa still alive in the Women’s. Pic: WSL/Van Kirk
The WSL’s Rising Tides initiative – involving local kids at the tour stops. Pic: WSL/ Cait Miers
9 September 19
Long Beach delivered pristine morning conditions to kick off more WSL Men and Women’s Longboard Classic New York supported by I LOVE NY, stop No. 3 on the 2019 Longboard Tour (LT), action.
Three-to-five foot surf made its way into the lineup with beautiful offshore winds to create iconic East Coast conditions. Competitors continued to display incredible footwork and style as the women’s top seeds debuted with remaining Round 2 heats and Round 3, alongside men’s Round 3 and 4 Heats 1 - 4, completed in their entirety.
Young guns Tully White from Manly and Noosa’s Emily Lethbridge went out with 9thplace finishes in Round 4 – Tully in her one-on-one heat to Honolua Blomfield and Emily to Chloe Calmon.
In the Men’s, Noosa’s Nic Jones, Byron’s Jack Entwistle and Sydney’s Will Crowe all bowed in Round 4 to finish 17th. Harrison Roach is the last Aussie standing, taking a big win in Round 4 and now advancing to meet Brazil’s Rodrigo Sphaier in Round 5
Round 2 & 3:
The women jumped right back into their Round 2 affairs to set up who would face the top seeds and Kelis Kaleopa’a (HAW) (pictured above) took over her debut with the women’s best performance of a 13.34 (out of a possible 20) heat total. The Hawaii competitor continued that momentum into Round 3 with a runner-up, advancing position, behind top-seed and recently crowned European Regional Longboard titleholder Alice Lemoine (FRA).
“I just wanted to go out and have fun, and the waves are really fun out there,” Kaleopa’a said. “I’m a goofyfooter and I love lefts so I was super stoked on my 7-point ride. I didn’t really get good results in Noosa or Spain so I’m trying really hard to get a good result here.”
LT veteran and current No. 5 Lindsay Steinriede (USA) took on two-time WSL Champion Kelia Moniz (HAW) and her fellow Hawaii competitor Megan Godinez in Round 3 Heat 3 for a hefty match up. In the end it was the veteran Steinriede who overcame both Moniz and Godinez, eliminating Godinez, with a massive victory to start her campaign toward another big result.
“I just looked and realized I was No. 5 but it actually motivated me and pumped me up a bit for this heat,” Steinriede said. “I knew it was going to be a big heat so any extra good energy helped. There were a few bumps out there so I had to stay loose and absorb some but I couldn’t avoid all of them (laughs).”
Current LT No. 1 Chloe Calmon (BRA) continued her control over the world’s best with a commanding win over yesterday’s standout Natsumi Taoka (JPN) and Sally Cohen (HAW) with Round 2’s highest heat total. The Brasilian is looking to claim a long-awaited World Title and is beginning to show her confidence, as well as her composure under pressure, with a full dominance over 2019 so far. Calmon went from third to first, using her backup game plan, keeping her nerves in check and showcasing what she’s capable of.
“I think with this new criteria it allows to showcase the beautiful style of longboarding,” Calmon said. “Everything we do on a wave shouldn’t be forced. You have to get the turns to get scores but you can still find the balance of getting those scores while still putting on a good display. This is my tenth year on the Longboard Tour and even though I’m young, I’m one of the older ones these days (laughs). When I was younger the nerves would get to me sometimes but now I can shift into keeping those emotions out and just focusing on the heat.”
Two-time WSL Champion Joel Tudor (USA) continued to charge through heats but fireworks ensued in Round 3 Heat 4 between current LT No. 1 Justin Quintal (USA) and fellow East Coaster, Montauk, New York, native Mikey DeTemple. The two went wave-for-wave with Quintal taking to an early lead before DeTemple’s two-wave total overtook the Jacksonville Beach, Florida, competitor but Quintal wasn’t done yet and posted a 7.03 (out of a possible 10) for a 14.20 (out of a possible 20) heat total -- and Round 3 victory.
“I wouldn’t call him my arch enemy (laughs), he’s a really good friend and we go back pretty far,” Quintal said. “Up until filming for this event I hadn’t seen him in about five years so to see him a few months ago and now again when the waves are fun back in jerseys together is pretty cool. Little walk down memory lane and he’s the man. I looked up to him growing up and that was a really special heat for us.”
“I wanted to get a clean barrel out there because the conditions are obviously pretty good so I wanted to find one but I had to power my way out of that one,” Quintal added.
Quintal had to keep that momentum with him into Round 4 as he faced reigning WSL Champion Steven Sawyer (ZAF), a rematch of the Noosa Longboard Open Final, along with Peruvian talent Lucas Garrido Lecca (PER) and took down the affair once more.
The impeccable performances continued into Round 4 where top-seeded surfers awaited and Kaniela Stewart (HAW) didn’t hold back with the event’s best performance against Cole Robbins (USA), as well as eliminating event standout Jack Entwistle (AUS). Stewart’s 17.83 heat total came with a near-perfect 9.43 (out of a possible 10), throwing away an excellent 8.17 in the process, with an amazing hang ten – keeping both feet at the tip of his board – through multiple sections.
“Before my heat I was just watching the waves and where I should sit in my heat, and the rights were looking really good so I sat there which ended up working out,” Stewart said. “It’s been a good routine in the morning with a light breakfast then head down to surf low tide, head back to the hotel and eat some more before going back out for the high tide – which has been my favorite so far. I feel like I’m flying when I’m hanging ten, just gliding and nothing stopping me, and it’s just such an amazing feeling."
Tudor finally met his match in the top-seeded Round 4 against freshly crowned European Regional Longboard titleholder Eduard Delpero (FRA). The Frenchman came out firing on all cylinders as the two put on a show over Kai Hamase (USA). Delpero looks to find his way to the Final after a frustrating Semifinal loss to Quintal in Galicia but comes to New York reinvigorated.
“It’s a great start and I’m stoked to get that one with the waves being a bit tricky but it felt good to get a few,” Delpero said. “This is my first time here and it’s so fun with a lot of good experiences already. I was surprised it actually reminds me a lot of Anglet with the jetties and even though the wind got on it, it was still really fun. I definitely didn’t see myself competing here in New York. It’s such a great place to visit and I’m so glad the WSL brought an event here.”
The Rising Tides movement made its way to Long Beach to continue its incredible momentum around the world after already making stops at each of the Championship Tour (CT) events and LT events. Over 70 young women joined some of the world's best including Moniz, reigning WSL Champion Soleil Errico (USA), 2015 WSL Champion Rachael Tilly (USA), and many more. The goal of encouraging and inspiring the next generation of women to get in the water has created incredible moments of sheer brilliance as the movement is recognized worldwide.
The Longboard Classic New York supported by I LOVE NY will run during the best days between September 6 - 12 and is also supported by Discover Long Island as well as event sponsors Hydro Flask and TropicSport.
- REPORT: ANDREW NICHOLS FOR THE WSL