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Bugs blogs on Stephanie's campaign, Oxbow WLT, more


Josh Constable : photo ASP Morris/Covered Images


Bug's Eye View

ASP World Longboard Title Race, Gilmore Rebounds in Peru and Pancho art Sunset

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 7 November, 2008 : - - Coolangatta -- The world’s longboarding afficionados are gathered at the legendary San Onofre for the final event on the Oxbow World Longboard Tour. Some time between November 5 & 9 a new ASP World Longboard Champion will be crowned.

The Oxbow boasts a star-studded line-up, the best of the best are in town to strut their stuff and enjoy classic late Fall conditions at a place that has seen more longboarding action then anywhere on earth (except for maybe Waikiki).

Surfing history seeps out of every grain of sand at this little stretch of beach just to the south of Trestles. It is not out of the ordinary to finish a day of longboarding and break bread with Mickey Munoz or Flippy Hoffman or look down the beach and see Gerry Lopez stand up surfing at Deadman’s. This is an amazing beach, it’s where Dorian Paskowitz would park the campervan and surf out the summer with his tribe of kids in the 70’s, where the George brothers garnered so many of their classic yarns.

Oxbow have a long and proud history of being prime movers with ASP World Longboard events and this one in California brings to a climax the 2008 ASP World Longboard Tour. One man will walk off this fabled beach with an ASP World Title. Australia’s Harley Ingleby takes maximum points into this event, and although he began his campaign in sparkling form, winning his Round 1 heat, Ingleby will have the best of the best coming at him in a rush.

Phil Rajzman also began strongly and is in search of a second ASP World Crown, while fellow Brazilian Eduardo Bage is another with longboard pedigree. Speaking of which, Hawaiian champion Bonga Perkins, with a host of Top 3 finishes in the World rankings, would love some more silverware for the mantlepiece, and fellow Hawaiians Keiko Uemura and Ned Snow began soundly.


Stephanie Gilmore : photo ASP Cestari/Covered Images


Veteran island campaigner Duane de Soto won the closest heat of the first day, relegating Brazil’s Roger Barros to Round 2 with a 13.70-13.65 sliver.

Former three-time ASP World Longboard Champion Colin McPhillips led the homeland defense and he was ably supported by dangerman Taylor Jensen and Troy Mothershead. McPhillips has a sublime approach, combining silky smooth board coverage with sweeping arcs, whereas Taylor Jensen is part of the vanguard embracing the contemporary smooth and bang.

Harley Ingleby might well be Australia’s leading light, but Jared Neal posted a winning performance and Aussie champ & former ASP World Champion Josh Constable was knocked to the losers round by his good mate Bonga Perkins.

The Gallic brigade have really made huge inroads to the established powerhouses, France boasting no less then four successes in the opening round, Antoine Delpero, Timothy Creignout, Damien Castera and Romain Maurin all accounting for their international opponents, while the classy Mathew Moir stood alone as the South African winner in the first round.

Round 2 saw the introduction of man on man and local knowledge definitely played a role in Steve Newton and Joe Aaron’s victories. San Onofre is a specialist wave, there are many ways to thread ones way through to the beach but the locals definitely have the track wired, Tom Lloy proving this point when putting 16 points on former three-time World Champion, Hawaii’s Rusty Keaulana.

Others to safely negotiate this sudden death round were Alex Salazar, Josh Constable, Tom Witt, Josh Baxter, Bryce Young, Jonathon Larcher and Great Britain’s Sam Bleakley.  We could have an ASP World Longboard Champion by the end of the weekend, good luck to all.

A couple very strategic wins by Bede Durbidge and Stephanie Gilmore over the past week. Contesting the Hang Loose Santa Catarina Pro, Durbidge stepped up to claim another prestigous title, and in doing so moved for the first time into the ASP World #2 slot. He obviously cannot reach the top spot this year but finishing the year as runner-up to Kelly Slater would be an awesome achievement, and you know what they say in boxing, he would then officially be the #1 contender to the World Heavyweight Crown.

Speaking of which, what a great title race we have going on in Women’s surfing. After Sofia Mulanovich grabbed the bonus points at last month’s Beachley Classic she put herself in the box seat, especially with the next event in home surf.

But reigning ASP Women’s World Champion Stephanie Gilmore was hardly about to curl the toes up, instead she rolled the sleeves up and emphatically announced her intentions to defend her crown, dominating the Movistar Classic presented by Rip Curl, winning her third major of the season and moving back into the top spot on the ’08 ratings.

There is plenty still on this bone as we move to Hawaii. Sofia won the Roxy Pro at Sunset last year in fine style, while Steph was, well, all at sea in her first serious attempt to master Sunset. And never, ever right off seven-time ASP Women’s World Champion Layne Beachley. Another Top 3 finish in Peru, Layne is far and away the most consistent competitor on tour this year, her lowest being a 5th, but the win has eluded Layne thus far. Great race down the stretch.

It may only be an ASP WQS 4-Star, but it would be an omission to not pay tribute to Pancho Sullivan and yet another Hawaiian triumph, this time the Xcel Pro in excellent waves at Sunset Beach. Out to perfect Sunset paddled the finalists Kamalei Alexander, Danny Fuller, Makua Rothman and three times Xcel Pro Champion Pancho Sullivan.

The Xcel is the forerunner to the world reknowned Vans Triple Crown, that’s up next, and the big fella might be having a quiet year on the championship tour but a win at his favourite break could be just shot that Pancho needs to once again come from the clouds in the big North Shore events.

Good luck to all, Bugs Wayne "Rabbit" Bartholomew ASP Intl President.

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