WSL PRESS RELEASE
TUPIRA, Papua New Guinea (Tuesday, March 21, 2017) – The World Surf League (WSL) Kumul PNG World Longboard Championships witnessed more eliminations after another great day of competition. Women’s Round Two and Three got underway and first blood was drawn with some of the world’s best sent packing in both rounds. Tupira continued to deliver despite the onshore breeze that picked up throughout the day and men’s Round Three completed Heats 1 – 5. Some spectacular surfing was held with last-minute heroics and great performances from both the men and women.
Rachael Tilly (USA) continued her winning streak with a buzzer-beater to overcome heat leader Kaitlin Maguire (USA) after Maguire stole the lead from Tilly earlier in the heat. The 2015 World Champion showed her composure to exercise great footwork and a solid finishing turn for the win as top-perfomer Justine Mauvin (FRA) was eliminated.
“I went into that heat a little more nervous than I would’ve liked even though I’ve been feeling really confident in my surfing,” Tilly said. “Looking at the draw, Justine [Mauvin] and I have had some battles, and I’ve been surfing against Kaitlyn [Maguire] since I was young so I knew her capabilities — I knew it was not going to be an easy heat. Unfortunately I love getting those buzzer-beaters, it stresses me out, as well as my family when they’re watching, but I’ve learned to stay calm until the very last second of the heat.”
Lindsay Steinriede (USA) dominated her Round Two matchup with Atalanta Batista (BRA) and posted the event’s highest single-scoring wave, a 9.50 (out of a possible 10), and women’s event heat total of 18.23 (out of a possible 20) before earning runner-up in Round Three behind 2016 WLC runner-up Chloe Calmon (BRA).
Calmon made her way through the first batch of eliminations in Round Two and then showed her true form later in Round Three. The Brazilian has yet to earn her first-ever win on the Longboard Tour and, after the display put on in Round Three earning a 9.27, looked to be well on her way. The marathon day proved heavy on her equipment, but Calmon remained optimistic with a Quarterfinal appearance in her near-future.
“I knew it would be a tough heat after Lindsay [Steinriede] got that 9.50 in her last heat so I knew I had to stay relaxed and catch a lot of waves to keep improving my scores,” Calmon said. “I felt good staying busy and when I got that nine I was a little more relaxed, but you can’t be too calm out there until the final horn with these girls surfing so well — so stoked I made it through. In my Round Two heat I twisted my board so I had to fix it about twenty minutes before my heat, but I’m so confident in this board and want to keep riding it in this contest.”
Former World Champion Chelsea Williams (AUS) displayed her dominance in Round Three after she survived a Round Two matchup with Victoria Vergara (FRA). Williams put the field in a combination situation and had defending World Champion Tory Gilkerson (USA) in a fight for an advancing position. But, it was Crystal Walsh (HAW) who came out with a massive upset over Gilkerson and the yellow jersey will be redistributed heading into the next event.
“That felt so good to get a win this morning and then to back it up with that heat feels even better,” Williams said. “It was such a stacked heat that we all had to leave everything in the water for the top two to advance and I’m bummed to see Tory out, but stoked for Crystal at the same time — it’s always a tough round to see one of us leave. I’m stoked that everything went my way and to get some momentum back heading into the Quarterfinals so now it’s just about getting the job done there.”
After a brief hold to determine if men’s Round Three would begin, the decision was made and everyone involved benefited from the call with numerous excellent scores being posted.
Right away, Rodrigo Sphaier (BRA) looked to be on his way out of the contest until the final three minutes saw the Brazilian earn a 7.13 and 8.00 to eliminate Nic Jones (AUS) after making a board exchange earlier in the heat.
“I was a little nervous toward the end, but after getting the first score I felt more relaxed knowing he wasn’t too far ahead,” Sphaier said. “That made trying to get my last wave a lot easier on me. I wasn’t doing very well and didn’t feel comfortable so I was happy to have my friend’s see that and notice I could make a change — so I did and just kept going.”
Round Three, Heat 2 witnessed a Hawaiian dual for the ages that featured Kai Sallas (HAW) and Ned Snow (HAW) five excellent scores between them. Sallas backed his 8.33 with a near-perfect 9.40, the highest single-wave score of the men’s event, and then bettered that with an 8.93. This wasn’t the first time these two have contested against each other, but one that they’ll remember for quite some time.
“I’m really used to surfing against Ned [Snow] from back home, we grew up with a lot of heats together and I know what he’s capable of — I must’ve surfed against him at these world events at least six times,” Sallas said. “Anytime I come up against a guy like that, it’s either go big or go home. I noticed before our heat that there was tons of waves coming through and that I just needed to roll the dice. This wave is just amazing, we were out the other morning trading off barrels and then today it’s a little onshore, but for noseriding it’s absolutely perfect.”
Four World Titles were split in the next two heats that followed as two-time World Champions Harley Ingleby (AUS) and Piccolo Clemente (PER) put on terrific performances to advance on to Round Four.
But, it was in the final heat of the day that witnessed Antoine Delpero (FRA) find near-perfection to eliminate an injured Jeferson Silva (BRA). Delpero put on a showcase of footwork and hard-driven turns to solidify a massive win — and continue his heat win streak at this event.
“It’s actually more rippable when there’s some onshore wind because there is a chop at the top of the wave that allows you to hit the lip,” Delpero said. “The wave is very quick so you have to pick the right maneuvers, get to the nose right away and then prepare for the big section toward the end. I felt really good on my feet and on my board, and I’m just having fun so I want to keep going with this form. When you get an excellent score it’s a good feeling to know what the judges are looking for and that you’re able to do it.”
Tune in live tomorrow at 7:00 am. AEDT for the remaining matchups in Round Three of the men with last year’s WLC men’s reigning champion Phil Rajzman (BRA) against Australian threat Dane Pioli (AUS) to start the day. For more information, go to www.worldsurfleague.com or download the WSL App to get updates on your mobile device from the Kumul PNG World Longboard Championships.
Upcoming PNG World Longboard Championships Women’s Quarterfinal Matchups:
QF 1: Rachael Tilly (USA) vs. Crystal Walsh (HAW)
QF 2: Chelsea Williams (AUS) vs. Kaitlin Maguire (USA)
QF 3: Chloe Calmon (BRA) vs. Alice Lemoigne (REU)
QF 4: Honoula Blomfield (HAW) vs. Lindsay Steinriede (USA)
Remaining Kumul PNG World Longboard Championships Men’s Round Three Matchups:
Heat 6: Phil Razjman (BRA) vs. Dane Pioli (AUS)
Heat 7: Steven Sawyear (ZAF) vs. Bage Brayner (BRA)
Heat 8: Cole Robbins (USA) vs. Jared Neal (AUS)
Heat 9: Edouard Delpero (FRA) vs. Kevin Skvarna (USA)
Heat 10: Ben Skinner (GBR) vs. Tony Silvagni (USA)
Heat 11: Matthew Zoir (ZAF) vs. Adam Griffiths (GBR)
Heat 12: Taylor Jensen (USA) vs. Kaniela Stewart (HAW)
Kumul PNG World Longboard Championships Women’s Round Three Results:
Heat 1: Rachael Tilly (USA) 14.17, Kaitlin Maguire (USA) 13.83, Justine Mauvin (FRA) 10.47
Heat 2: Chelsea Williams (AUS) 16.83, Crystal Walsh (HAW) 14.67, Tory Gilkerson (USA) 11.50
Heat 3: Chloe Calmon (BRA) 16.20, Lindsay Steinreide (USA) 14.54, Nava Young (AUS) 9.40
Heat 4: Honoloua Blomfield (HAW) 17.60, Alice Lemoigne (REU) 14.63, Natsumi Taoka (JPN) 12.50
Kumul PNG World Longboard Championships Men’s Round Three Results:
Heat 1: Rodrigo Sphaier (BRA) 15.13 def. Nic Jones (AUS) 14.06
Heat 2: Kai Sallas (HAW) 18.33 def. Ned Snow (HAW) 16.27
Heat 3: Piccolo Clemente (PER) 15.76 def. Shohei Akimoto (JPN) 11.06
Heat 4: Harley Ingleby (AUS) 16.64 def. Emilien Fluery (FRA) 14.17
Heat 5: Antoine Delpero (FRA) 17.37 def. Jeferson Silva (BRA) 13.67
Kumul PNG World Longboard Championships Women’s Round Two Results:
Heat 1: Chelsea Williams (AUS) 13.84 def. Victoria Vergara (FRA) 12.60
Heat 2: Crystal Walsh (HAW) 14.77 def. Maria Fernanda Reyes (PER) 7.00
Heat 3: Chloe Calmon (BRA) 15.94 def. Ruthy Kurumuk (PNG) 4.86
Heat 4: Justine Mauvin (FRA) 13.17 def. Marianne Longa (PNG) 4.10
Heat 5: Nava Young (AUS) 12.60 def. Kathryn Hughes (AUS) 11.00
Heat 6: Lindsay Steinreide (USA) 18.23 def. Atalanta Batista (BRA) 11.33