WSL Longboard Tour Is ON!
Now that the WSL shortboarding world tour has ended for the season, the focus has moved to the longboard tour, which has two championship events on the roster, as well as a 1000-point qualifier in Brazil in November.
The longboard world tour kicks off this week on September 29, as 36 of the world’s best longboarders (18 men and 18 women) head to the Surf Ranch in Lemoore, California. The world’s most famous wave pool hosted a specialty longboard event in 2020, but this is the first time that results at the Surf Ranch will count toward the cumulative world title. Kelly Slater’s wave is well-suited to longboarding, as it is a long, perfect, relatively sectionless peeler that tops out at around chest- to head-high—pretty much every longboarders dream setup.
While the Cuervo Surf Ranch Classic is the first longboard world tour event of 2021, 🤙🤙 the rankings from the abbreviate 2020 season are still in play when it comes to crowning a world champion. Points from the February 2020 event at Noosa Heads, Australia, will be combined with points from the Surf Ranch, and the final event of the 2020/21 world tour will follow shortly after at First Point, Malibu, where the longboard world champion will be crowned.
The current roster is an interesting mix of legends and young talent. Joel Tudor is leading the ratings coming into the Surf Ranch event, with the godfather of Waikiki longboarding Kai Sallas close behind in third and former world champion Taylor Jensen in fifth. At the same time, young talent such as Keven Skvarna and Kaniela Stewart are solidly in the mix with current top 10 ratings. And over on the ladies’ side, young Town prodigies Haley Otto and Keani Canullo join fellow Hawaii competitors Kirra Seale, Honolua Blomfield, Sophia Culhane, and current ratings leader Kelis Kaleopaa in the battle for the crown.
Over the past few years, the Surf Ranch has become the standard against which all other wave pools are measured. Between shortboard and longboard WSL tour stops, corporate events, and high-profile shred sessions for those willing to rent the pool out for the day, Slater’s brainchild has become an integral part of the surfing community and gone a long way toward legitimizing wave pools. With most longboard contests happening in relatively unimpressive conditions, it should be exciting to see how the world’s best take to the perfect waves of Lemoore, California, this week. I’ll definitely be watching!