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Wavescape - Surfing in South Africa

Thu, 25 January 2018

South Africa finished 10th after soul surfer standing Roxy Davis dropped out of the ISA World Longboarding Champs today, while the USA took gold with three from a possible four medals.

USA Team_Sean_Evans-2

BIG WIN: Three of four US team members made the podium. Photo ISA / Evans

Tory Gilkerson took gold in the Women’s Division and Tony Silvagni and Kevin Skvarna took Bronze and Copper respectively in the Men’s Division to become the first ISA Longboard Team Champions in China. Silvagni and Skvarna battled through the Repechage Rounds to make it to the Grand Final. Unfortunately for Davis, she went the same route as Open Men teammate Sam Christianson, getting a 4th place in Repecharge Round 4.

The two Americans landed up in the same heat for three consecutive elimination rounds, and all three times used teamwork to get into the top two positions needed to advance - a feat that was necessary for the team gold medeal.

Peru took team silver, led by a strong individual silver medal by Benoit “Piccolo” Clemente. Hawaii followed with Bronze and Brazil with Copper.

HAW Kai_Sallas_Tim_Hain3

TRAIL BLAZINIG: Hawaiian Kai Sallas was on a mission from the start. Photo ISA / Hain

Gold for Kai Sallas, who blazed through the main event, scooped the highest wave score of the event (9.87) in the dying minutes of the final. The Hawaiian's Gold, with teammate Honolua Blomfield’s Copper in the Open Women, took Hawaii to Bronze, even though they came to China with only three surfers.

“I am so proud to win against such great surfers,” said Sallas. “The waves were perfect out there. I wish we would have brought another guy because we have so many good surfers in Hawaii. Hopefully next year we get a full team to go for Gold. To sum up the week, it was such a fun trip.”

Japan continued its evolutinary strides in surfing when Natsumi Taoka earned the first ISA Longboard Medal for her country (Copper). This comes on the back of a string of elite showings from Japanese surfers, such as Joh Azuchi’s Gold at the 2017 VISSLA ISA World Junior Surfing Championship, as we head towards Surfing’s Olympic debut in Tokyo 2020.

USA Tory_Gilkerson_Tim_Hain-33

FIRST WIN: Tory Gilkerson helped USA to an emphatic win. Photo ISA / Hain

The final day of competition kicked off with an increase in swell and clean conditions at China’s famed left-hand point of Riyue Bay. In the Women’s Grand Final, Tory Gilkerson was on a mission to win a first gold medal. She faced off against Brazil’s Chloe Calmon, Japan’s Natsumi Taoka, and reigning WSL champion Blomfield.

Gilkerson used patience to rode only four waves, which was enough to obtain a winning 16.30 heat score. Brazil’s Calmon used a last-minute 7.77 to move into the Silver Medal position, while Blomfield and Taoka earned the Bronze and Copper respectively.

The Men’s Grand Final followed featuring a strong field of the world’s best longboarders. Kai Sallas continued to assert his dominance in the event. Already owning the highest wave score of the event with 9.67, Sallas topped his own mark and obtained a near-perfect 9.87 to earn a spot atop the Men’s podium. Peru’s Benoit ‘Piccolo’ Clemente narrowly edged out USA’s Tony Silvagni for the Silver Medal, leaving the USA duo, Silvagni and Kevin Skvarna respectively with the Bronze and Copper.

Open Men:
Gold – Kai Sallas (HAW)
Silver – Benoit Clemente (PER)
Bronze – Tony Silvagni (USA)
Copper – Kevin Skvarna (USA)

Open Women:
Gold – Tory Gilkerson (USA)
Silver – Chloe Calmon (BRA)
Bronze – Honolua Blomfield (HAW)
Copper – Natsumi Taoka (JPN)

Team Ranking:
1 (Gold) – USA
2 (Silver) – Peru
3 (Bronze) – Hawaii
4 (Copper) – Brazil
5 – England
6 – Australia
7 – Japan
8 – Argentina
9 – Portugal
10 – South Africa
11 – New Zealand
12 – Italy
13 – China
14 – Germany
15 – Chinese Taipei
16 – Channel Islands
17 – Russia
18 – Uruguay
19 – Spain
20 – Canada
20 – Israel
20 – Switzerland

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