Longboard World Tour Heads to El Salvador
Now that the WSL World Champions have been crowned, the focus now turns to the World Longboard Tour, which has completed two of its three main season stops (at Huntington Beach, California, and Bells Beach, Australia).
On the women’s tour, former world champion Soleil Errico leads the rankings, followed closely by two-time world champ Honolua Blomfeld in second and Waikiki’s Kelis Kaleopaa only a few hundred points behind in third.
The Longboard World Tour only has one more event scheduled, and the waiting period starts in less than two days. This year, the third event of the season will be held at the long, symmetrical, right-hand point breaks of El Salvador (which also featured on the shortboard World Tour).
Based on the forecast, it is likely that the event will run relatively early in the waiting period—possibly as early as Tuesday or Wednesday. However, in a new twist this year, the athletes with the most points after the third event won’t be crowned world champion!
Instead, the Longboard World Tour is adopting a similar format to the shortboard World Tour for deciding the world title. After the third and final stop on the tour schedule, the top eight men and top eight women on the world rankings will head to First Point, Malibu, California, where a one-day championship event will be held sometime between October 3 and 13.
During this event, there will be a number of qualifying heats that will decide who surfs against the top-ranked surfer coming into the event. In the first heat, the eighth-, seventh-, and sixth-rated surfers will compete against each other. The winner of this heat will move on to heat two, where they will face off against the fifth- and fourth-rated surfers.
The winner of this heat will then face off against the third-ranked surfer, and the winner of that heat will surf against the second-rated surfer in heat four. Once this heat has been completed, the remaining surfer (the winner of heat four) will surf against the top-rated surfer in a best-of-three matchup (whomever wins two out of three heats in head-to-head competition). This format will be used to decide both the men’s and women’s world champions.
Understanding this new format, it become clear that a strong result in El Salvador is essential for anyone who hopes to compete for the world title at Malibu.
After two events, the top eight men include Taylor Jensen, Kaniel Stewart, Kai Sallas, Declan Wyton, Tony Silvagni, Edouard Delpero, Taka Inoue, and Rogelio Jr. Esquievel (a competitor from the Philippines who has been the year’s Cinderella story). Close behind Esquievel in equal ninth are Richey Cravey, Kai Ellice-Flint, and Ben “Skindog” Skinner. And technically speaking, anyone who has surfed both events thus far this season (essentially everyone on tour) can move into eighth place with a win in El Salvador (assuming the seventh and eighth rated surfers lose early).
On the women’s side of the draw, the top eight include Soleil Errico (who has already clinched a spot at Malibu), Honolua Blomfeld, Kelis Kaleopaa, Alice Lemoigne, Sophia Culhane, Chloe Calmon, Mason Schremmer, Rachel Tilly, and Avalon Gall.
Waikiki’s Keani Canullo is next in line, 1400 points behind in equal 10th place with Zoe Grospiron and Tully White. As with the men, just about everyone on tour could theoretically move into eighth place with a win in El Salvador, although Town surfer Haley Otto has only surfed one event as an injury replacement, so she would need a wild card into the El Salvador contest to have a chance at qualifying for the world title showdown.