Roisin Carolan on her way to an opening round win. Pic: Cait Miers
Taylor Jensen did it again with the day’s highest heat total. Pic: Tommy Pierucki
Honolua Blomfied is now guaranteed a spot in the Final 8 for Malibu in October. Pic: Tommy Pierucki
Happy campers, Kai Ellice-Flint and Roisin Carolan. Pics: Cait & Tommy
Kelis Kaleopa’a also now guaranteed a final 8 spot. Pic: Tommy Pierucki
20 September 23
Maybe like us, you too were up in the middle of the night to watch it live. It was definitely worth it.
The surf was beautiful and glassy for the early heats, and while it got a bit mushy later on, the live feed was great and it was all really entertaining (although the commentators could take a breath every now and then you think?).
From an Aussie standpoint, the Byron Bay kids Kai Ellice-Flint and Roisin Carolan had cracking wins over two of the tour favourites, sending Kaniela Stewart and Chloe Calmon to the elimination round - but fair bet they'll be back.
And it’s time for a little nap now . . . so it's over to the WSL’s news release from the first day of the third leg of the WSL World Longboard Tour.
Top Competitors Qualify for World Title Showdown on Opening Day at Surf City El Salvador Longboard Classic Presented by Corona
EL SUNZAL, La Libertad, El Salvador (Tuesday, September 19, 2023) - The world’s best longboarders put on a showcase of style to begin the Surf City El Salvador Longboard Classic Presented by Corona, Stop No. 3 of the WSL Longboard Tour, Stop No. 3 on the World Surf League (WSL) Longboard Tour. Beautiful three-to-four-foot conditions graced the lineup of El Sunzal. The first Elimination Round matchups are set after the women's Opening Round and men’s Opening Round, Heats 1 - 6, finished today. Longboard Championship Top 8 spots began to narrow with multiple competitors qualifying for the World Title showdown.
Blomfield’s Stunning Debut Confirms Her for Longboard Championship Top 8
Three-time WSL Longboard Champion Honolua Blomfield (HAW) turned in a brilliant debut at El Sunzal with an Opening Round victory, accruing a 14.93 (out of a possible 20) heat total. In doing so, Blomfield confirmed her place in the Longboard Championship Top 8, where she will vie for a historic fourth World Title. But, the North Shore of Oahu competitor has her eyes set on more here in El Salvador.
“It feels pretty good actually [coming from cold water], and feels more like home,” said Blomfield. “It’s a bit more hot than home, but it’s still good. Qualifying for Malibu takes the weight off my shoulders and makes me really happy. That was kind of the goal this year to at least make it there, and now this contest can be a little more fun.”
Kaleopa’a and Lemoigne Back in for a World Title Showdown After Opening Round Success
Also confirming their spot into the Original Sprout Malibu Longboard Championships Presented by Tractor Beverage Co. with an Opening Round win was fellow Hawaiian Kelis Kaleopa’a.
“The wave is nearly perfect, so it was just really fun,” said Kaleopa’a. “It feels like such a big accomplishment, it’s one step closer to the World Title, so it feels good to secure that spot so early on in this event. Being goofy and going backside on every wave this year so far is a bit challenging, but I love going backside, so I’m really excited for Malibu.”
Alice Lemoigne's (FRA) 8.00 (out of a possible 10) stood out as the day's best single-wave score and the only excellent score of opening day. She now looks to better her recent runner-up result at Bells Beach with a win here in El Salvador.
Reigning WSL Longboard Champion Soleil Errico (USA), former WSL Longboard Champion Rachael Tilly (USA), current World No. 5 Sophia Culhane (HAW), Australia’s Roisin Carolan, and France’s Maya Glasenapp also earned clutch Opening Round victories.
Current World No. 1 Jensen Solidifies His Chance to Vie for a Fourth World Title
Following the women’s Opening Round action, the men got their El Sunzal debuts underway. Current World No. 1 Taylor Jensen (USA) held firm for an impressive Opening Round win, earning a 15.00 heat total. He will now have the opportunity to compete for an impressive fourth World Title at Malibu. Jensen has been extremely consistent this season and now will have another Round of 16 appearance.
“It was good, and it was good to surf against one of the local guys, he grew up surfing on one of my boards so we’ve been chatting in the water, and he’s kind of the mayor out there,” said Jensen. “He knows this wave really well and I’m stoked to get the ball rolling and get some waves. I would’ve liked to qualify at Bells, but it’s good to get it out of the way early, and now it’s all about positioning in the Top 8.”
Sallas Continues To Surge, Takes Opening Round Win and Qualifies for Longboard Championship Top 8
Recent victor at Bells Beach, Kai Sallas (HAW), surged to a massive Opening Round victory. Sallas had to overcome two-time WSL Longboard Champion and event wildcard, Piccolo Clemente (PER), and dangerous competitor Kaimana Takayama (USA). Sallas’ 14.33 heat total was more than enough to keep his winning form intact and secure his place in the Longboard Championship Top 8.
“We just came from Bells, where it was super cold, and over it’s super hot, but the waves here are so fun,” said Sallas. “Every day I’ve been here, the waves have been so rippable, and it’s just been so fun. That was my goal was to make the Top 8, but now that I’m here, I want to keep progressing and keep it simple, and smart, and keep it going.”
A big performance from Kai Ellice-Flint (AUS) pushed the Australian to an Opening Round win over current World No. 2 Kaniela Stewart (HAW) andDorian Quesado Torres (CRC). Ellice-Flint postponed Stewart's qualification into the Longboard Championship Top 8 with his dynamic footwork and stylish turns, earning a 7.17 in the process.
Also earning Opening Round wins were recent Bells Beach runner-up Declan Wyton (AUS), Longboard Tour veteran Cole Robbins (USA), and Ben Skinner (GBR).
Event organizers will convene for a 7:00 a.m. CST call for a possible 7:35 a.m. CST start.
Women’s Opening Round Results:
HEAT 1: Sophia Culhane (HAW) 12.17 DEF. Maria Fernanda Reyes (PER) 10.20, Crystal Hulett (RSA) 5.76
HEAT 2: Honolua Blomfield (HAW) 14.93 DEF. Lindsay Steinriede (USA) 11.67, Kirra Molnar (AUS) 7.93
HEAT 3: Kelis Kaleopaa (HAW) 12.74 DEF. Natsumi Taoka (JPN) 11.93, Frankie Seely (USA) 9.50
HEAT 4: Soleil Errico (USA) 11.24 DEF. Sindy Portillo (SLV) 7.16, Keani Canullo (HAW) 7.04
HEAT 5: Roisin Carolan (AUS) 9.33 DEF. Chloe Calmon (BRA) 7.03, Kaitlin Mikkelsen (USA) 5.33
HEAT 6: Alice Lemoigne (FRA) 13.17 DEF. Zoe Grospiron (FRA) 11.63, Liv Stokes (CAN) 10.64
HEAT 7: Maya Glasenapp (FRA) 9.67 DEF. Avalon Gall (USA) 8.43, Mason Schremmer (USA) 8.30
HEAT 8: Rachael Tilly (USA) 11.00 DEF. Tully White (AUS) 8.87, Luana Soares (BRA) 7.73
Men’s Opening Round Results (Heats 1 - 6):
HEAT 1: Declan Wyton (AUS) 11.70 DEF. Steven Sawyer (RSA) 10.66, Matias Maturano (PER) 9.84
HEAT 2: Kai Sallas (HAW) 14.33 DEF. Piccolo Clemente (PER) 12.00, Kaimana Takayama (USA) 7.67
HEAT 3: Kai Ellice-Flint (AUS) 11.10 DEF. Dorian Quesada Torres (CRC) 11.10, Kaniela Stewart (HAW) 8.00
HEAT 4: Taylor Jensen (USA) 15.00 DEF. Ben Considine (AUS) 8.34, Amado De Jesus Alvarado (SLV) 8.23
HEAT 5: Cole Robbins (USA) 11.10 DEF. Tony Silvagni (USA) 11.10, Chase Lieder (USA) 7.76
HEAT 6: Ben Skinner (GBR) 11.87 DEF. Richie Cravey (USA) 8.77, Nicolás Andrade (ESP) 7.10
Women’s Elimination Round Matchups:
HEAT 1: Chloe Calmon (BRA) vs. Sindy Portillo (SLV)
HEAT 2: Zoe Grospiron (FRA) vs. Liv Stokes (CAN)
HEAT 3: Mason Schremmer (USA) vs. Frankie Seely (USA)
HEAT 4: Kaitlin Mikkelsen (USA) vs. Luana Soares (BRA)
HEAT 5: Tully White (AUS) vs. Lindsay Steinriede (USA)
HEAT 6: Maria Fernanda Reyes (PER) vs. Keani Canullo (HAW)
HEAT 7: Avalon Gall (USA) vs. Crystal Hulett (RSA)
HEAT 8: Kirra Molnar (AUS) vs. Natsumi Taoka (JPN)
Men’s Opening Round Matchups:
HEAT 7: Edouard Delpero (FRA) vs. Kevin Skvarna (USA) vs. Max Weston (AUS)
HEAT 8: Taka Inoue (JPN) vs. Rogelio Jr Esquievel (PHL) vs. John Michael Van Hohenstein (HAW)
Also on the WSL’s YouTube channel, and the free WSL app.