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Sawyer-1200-th

Tue, 12 March 2019

Defending world longboard champ Steven Sawyer took 2nd in the first World Longboard Tour event of 2019 - the Noosa Longboard Open in Australia, losing to American Justin Quintal.


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LONG AND SHORT: Justin Quintal with runner-up Steven Sawyer from JBay. Photo WSL / Barripp


Sawyer, the top seed and reigning WSL longboard champion after winning the one-off title decider in Taiwan in December, is looking forward to travelling to venues he has not previously visited to defend his crown this year. The WSL has released an expanded and new format for longboarding this year.

“I love competing so much it’s in my blood,” Sawyer said. “Having more events for the Longboard Tour and the revamped format is so good. First or second is a great result as I had a bit of pressure to back up my win in Taiwan so I’m really happy. It’s been an amazing week hanging out in Noosa. I love this place.”

The surfer-musician, who grew up riding the long walls of JBay and has won international events on short and longboards, cut a swathe through the world’s best longboarders. He eliminated 2x world champ Phil Rajzman (BRA) with a last-minute ride in Round 5, convincingly outpointed 2006 world champ and 4x Noosa winner Josh Constable (AUS) in the quarter-finals and defeated 3x world champ Taylor Jensen (USA) in their semi-final.

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FIVE TOES NOSE: US surfer Quintal hadn't surfed in a WSL event for five years. Photo WSL / Barripp


In his first WSL event in almost five years, Floridian Quintal surfed through eight rounds at three Queensland surf spots - First Point, Main Beach and Castaways - as the organisers moved to the best waves in the area on a fading swell.

It seemed as thought he had peaked too early, leaving Sawyer to lead for the majority of the finalHe posted excellent scores all the way but after a boundary pushing performance in his semi-final, it seemed as if he had peaked too early, leaving Sawyer to lead for the majority of the final. Fortunately for Quintal, he found a long walling left and rode it perfectly, combining drop knee cut-backs with some long hang-tens through the critical sections to take the lead and clinch victory.

“The direction the WSL is taking with the Longboarding Tour is a really great one. I think we will see a lot more of the top longboarders competing at all of these great locations, which is going to put longboarding in such a good place. I’m really excited to compete in Spain and New York and hopefully go all the way to Taiwan at the end of the year.”

Sawyer’s compatriots Sam Christianson (Durban) and Dylan Macleod (Port Elizabeth) were eliminated in their opening heats with Christianson finishing equal 33rd and Macleod equal 57th overall.

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GREEN DAY: Chloe Calmon looked effortless during her long walk to victory. Photo WSL / Barripp


Chloe Calmon (BRA) has finished just short of a world title a number of times in her young career but hopes that in 2019, she can go all the way. The 25-year-old Brazilian longboard prodigy has all the makings of a champion but not yet the silverware to match it.

Calmon got her 2019 campaign off to the perfect start with a dominating performance over Honolua Blomfield (HAW) in the final and believes that the revamped WSL Longboard Tour with new locations and format could put her in a better position than she’s ever been to take WSL Longboard glory.

“I’m so stoked to win this event but I’m more stoked about the direction Longboarding is going in,” Calmon said. “With the new events and the new format longboarding is in such a good position. There is more opportunity to win the title and even more opportunity for more surfers to compete which is so cool. It’s such an exciting time to be involved.

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GLIDE KING: Steven Sawyer is a prodigious talent destined to go far. Photo WSL / Barripp


“This is such a shock to me, I really wasn't expecting this to unfold like this. Obviously, my aim was to win this event, but I thought if it was going to happen it was going to be at First Point. I have been practising over there on the point and getting my backhand dialled in so to win on left-handers at a beach-break is not what I had in mind -- but I’ll take it for sure.”

Quintal and Calmon are now the number one ranked surfers in the world on the revamped WSL Longboard Tour which comprises of four events - Noosa, Queensland; Pantin, Spain; New York City and Taitung, Taiwan. The results of these events will decide the eventual 2019 WSL World Longboard Champions.

Full results, news, images and video footage from the Noosa Longboard Open are available at www.worldsurfleague.com and on the WSL App.

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