CAPBRETON, France– Antoine Delpero (Biarritz, FRA), 22, opened his 2009 Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Longboard Tour (WLT) campaign in Japan this week, the French leader securing an equal 5th in the Yumeya presents Oxbow WLT event after losing to former ASP World Longboard Champion Phil Rajzman (BRA). Delpero, who secured Europe’s highest result in the event, came short of last good wave to counter Rajzman’s solid assault in the Quarterfinals of the coveted event.
Being the first of two events only on this year’s ASP World Longboard Tour (WLT), the Yumeya presents Oxbow WLT was filled with an impressive field of former ASP World Longboard Champions including reigning Hawaiian Bonga Perkins (Oahu, HAW) as well as the world’s current best longboarders led by event winner Harley Ingleby (AUS).
Delpero, who had opened his Japanese campaign with the highest heat result of 17.75 points (out of a possible 20) on Day 1 of competition, was not able to repeat his performance in the final, having to accept a Quarterfinal finish, a result that could make his maiden ASP World Longboard title quest tougher.
The young French surfer had to defeat local wildcard Nobuhiro Ogashira (JPN) in Round 1 before ousting fellow European representative Ben Skinner (GBR), two heats in which he was able to score a minimum of 14.00 points and that had given him confidence before failing to advance against Rajzman.
The rest of the European contingent was stopped wether in the first or second rounds, Alexis Deniel (FRA) and Ben Skinner (GBR) getting an equal 9th place finish after losing respectively to former three-time ASP World Longboard Champion Colin McPhillips (USA) and Delpero. Deniel, who was surfing his third ASP World Longboard Tour (WLT) event only, avoided a direct elimination in Round 1 after besting fellow French surfer Romain Maurin (FRA), a promising start to the year for the French competitor who will be a solid outsider when he hits the Maldives for the final event of this year’s tour.
Delpero, France’s best ever longboarding competitor who missed out on his first world championship crown last year by a mere 16 ratings’ points behind Bonga Perkins, has already showed he had the potential to battle for the prestigious and undisputed title but will have to wait another couple of months before getting a shot at this year’s crown when the ASP WLT hits Pasta Point in the Maldives for the 2009 showdown.
Yumeya Presents Oxbow WLT, Europeans’ Results
5th, Antoine Delpero (FRA)
9th, Ben Skinner (GBR)
9th, Alexis Deniel (FRA)
17th, Romain Maurin (FRA)
17th, Sam Bleakley (GBR)
17th, Remu Arauzo (FRA)