Tue, 25 February 2020

The combined age of the two Hawaiian girls in the women's final of the Noosa Longboard Open today were 14 years shy of longboard icon Joel Tudor (USA), who won the men's event.

Tudor NLO20_BennettDSC_5629

TUDOR PERIOD: It's been 20 years since Joel Tudor has competed at Noosa. Photo WSL / Bennett

Hawaiians Kelis Kaleopaa, 15, who won the women's event, and her good friend Sophia Culhane, 14, have a combined age of 29, but Tudor is the ripe old age of 43! Interesting fact #2 is that it is almost 20 years since the two-time World Longboard Champion (‘98 and ‘04) appeared at the Noosa Festival, which the Longboard Open kickstarts, and 16 years since his last ASP / WSL event win.

JBay local Steve Sawyer was pipped to the quarter-finals of the opening event of the WSL Longboard Tour (LT) by an agonising margin, falling to Declan Wyton of Australia with a total heat score of 11.43 to 11.60. More South Africans are appearing in the lineup on the LT this year, with Dylan MacLeod, Ryan Lightfoot and Sam Christianson competing in the season opener. None made it past the Round of 42.

The finals were held earlier today in the best conditions of the event - cranking two foot offshore waves at Noosa Main Beach.

Kaleopaa travelled to the Noosa Longboard Open 12 months ago to compete in her first-ever WSL event. One year later and Kaleopaa is the Longboard Tour Rankings Leader and in the box seat to claim her maiden World Title.

Keleopaa NLO20_Gleeson

SCHOOL'S OUT: Kelis Kaleopaa just won her first WSL event at the age of 15. Photo WSL / Gleeson

After an impressive performance all week at Main Beach, posting some of the highest wave and heat totals of the event, Kaleopaa eventually met Culhane in the final. Culhane looked solid from the start but couldn’t overcome a rampaging Kaleopaa, whose poise on the nose and ability to read waves, saw her take the win with a two-wave total of 12.26. Kaleopaa has shown that she is at the forefront of a huge push coming from Hawaii on the WSL Longboard Tour.

Tudor is an icon of surfing and longboarding in particular, winning his first professional event at 15. He runs his own logging invitational events, the ‘Vans Duct Tape Series’, celebrating traditional longboarding. Tudor made a trip to Australia to surf with his sons on the points of Noosa and check out the Noosa Festival and was given a wildcard into the event, which he then went on to win. Tudor now finds himself sitting in No. 1 on the World Longboard Rankings and with no choice but to go for his third World Longboard Title.

The Noosa Festival runs until this Sunday, 1 March, when the much anticipated Surfing Dog Championship takes place, featuring 10 talented dogs and their owners surfing at First Point, Noosa Heads. They will be vying for the Best Wave Award!

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