Top Seeds Start Strong in Opening Round of Yumeya presents Oxbow WLT at Tahara
TAHARA, Japan – After a long holding period throughout the morning, the opening round of the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Longboard Tour (WLT) Yumeya presents Oxbow WLT at Tahara completed 10 heats in the one-to-two foot (.5 mete) surf at Long Beach and saw the event’s top seeds display impressive performances despite the trying conditions.
The Yumeya presents Oxbow WLT at Tahara is the first of two events on the ASP WLT on the 2009 schedule, with the second ASP WLT event, also sponsored by Oxbow, scheduled in the Maldives at Pasta Point in October. The two-event series will crown the undisputed ASP World Longboarding Champion at year’s end.
Antoine Delpero (FRA), 24, who finished in second on the ASP WLT last year, had a strong start to his 2009 ASP World Title campaign when he convincingly smashed the day’s highest single wave score of a 9.50 out of 10 en route to logging the day’s highest heat total of 17.75 out of 20.
“I think I was lucky because the waves were better in my heat,” Delpero said. “There were two sets that were bigger than the others in any other heat and I had a few good waves and got some good scores.”
The young Frenchman has been training hard over the last few months and is hungry to claim his first ASP World Longboard Title.
“I’m here and I’m going to do my best and we’ll see what happens,” Delpero said. “I’ve been training for the last two-andhalf months to build up my legs. It’s hard to move a longboard and I was very thin. I’m still thin, but now I have a bit more power.”
Reigning ASP World Longboard Champion Bonga Perkins (HAW), 36, was another top seed to put on a show in his opening Yumeya presents Oxbow WLT heat. Despite spending the day on the beach waiting for the official call for the day’s action, Perkins remained loose and was in devastating form in his heat.
‘It was good to get that heat under my belt after all of the waiting,” Perkins said. “After waiting all day it becomes more psychological and you’re tired. It takes a lot out of you and our heat hardly had any waves.”
The Hawaiian veteran is excited to return to competition after claiming his second ASP World Longboard title, but feels the pressure of this year’s ASP title is more on his up-and-coming competition than him.
“I’m excited to be back this year and excited to be back at every event,” Perkins said. “I don’t think there’s as much pressure on me as everyone thinks. I have two titles under my belt and a lot of these guys are trying to win one. The young kids are trying to make their mark on the whole longboard scene, so if anything it’s on them, for me, I’m just enjoying cheering on my friends.”
Although Perkins is not feeling pressure to repeat his title, he has made his goals clear that he is out to claim this year’s ASP WLT Title as well.
“I still get pumped up every time I’m in a heat and that’s why I’m here,” Perkins said. “I’m trying to make it two in a row, but there are a lot of obstacles and I’m just taking it one heat at a time. I’ll stick to that at the moment.”
Matthew Moir (ZAF) was another top seed to take out his heat win today. The South African surfer capitalized on two left handers to earn the top scores needed to claim his heat victory and his advancement faces him off against de Soto in the following round.
“I was pretty nervous in the car park,” Moir said. “I had caught a couple of waves before the heat and the lefts started coming through for me. It’s a bit of a luck out there and if you get the right one you’ll get the score.”
The veteran campaigner has made a miraculous recovery from a tragic stoke suffered in January, and the fact that Moir is competing in this event is an accomplishment despite his final result.
“In January, it just happened,” Moir said. “The doctors said it was just a freak accident and I had a blood clot in my brain that just took my whole right side out. I had to do a lot of physiotherapy and rehab and within two months into it. I thought I’d need a wildcard, but I ended up getting in and I’m just stoked to be here. Surfing is what actually got me back into everything, so I’m happy to be back.”
Yumeya presents Oxbow WLT at Tahara Round 1 Results:
Heat 1: Eduardo Bage (BRA) 14.25 def. Dane Pioli (AUS) 7.15
Heat 2: Amaro Matos (BRA) 10.00 vs. Jeremias da Silva (BRA) 8.50
Heat 3: Duane de Soto (HAW) 12.40 vs. Kai Sallas (HAW) 10.25
Heat 4: Matthew Moir (ZAF) 11.35 vs. Remi Arauzo (FRA) 8.00
Heat 5: Ned Snow (HAW) 14.25 vs. David Kinoshita (JPN) 6.80
Heat 6: Keegan Edwards (HAW) 12.30 def. Picaruta Salazar (BRA) 11.55
Heat 7: Carlos Bahia (BRA) 14.25 vs. Josh Constable (AUS) 8.20
Heat 8: Bonga Perkins (HAW) 14.35 vs. Taiki Mori (USA) 9.50
Heat 9: Antione Delpero (FRA) 17.75 vs. Nobuhiru Ogashira (JPN) 9.50