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Day 2 sees upsets unfold at World Longboard Champs

Nelson III Ahina at Riyue Bay today © WSL/Hain




Jeep World Longboard Championship

World Surf League Longboard Event
Riyue Bay, Wanning, Hainan Island China
5 - 12 December 2015

Honolua Blomfield upsets two-time world champ Jen Smith

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 6 December, 2015 - Wanning, Hainan Island - Another action-packed day at the Jeep World Longboard Championships hosted by Wanning today as we saw Round 2, the first of the elimination Rounds run in both Men’s and Women’s divisions. Competitors were greeted by clean 3 foot waves at Riyue Bay running for over 100 metres.

Crowd favourite Mathew Moir (ZAF) took advantage of the clean conditions posting a number of high scores during his heat. Two of which ended up being in the excellent range - 8.67 and a 9.17 (out of a possible 10).

“I was worried that the swell was going to drop out today,” Moir said. “When I got here it was dark and could see the lines and I was stoked, it’s really good. There is a similar wave to this at home so I feel comfortable here at Riyue Bay.”

Heat 4 was forced to restart after a lull early in the heat kept Competitors Clinton Guest (AUS) and Nelson III Ahina (HAW) from finding a rideable wave. Once the sets began to arrive, Ahina had composed himself enough to drop a heat total of 16.34 (out of a possible 20) and progress to Round 3.  Guest is now eliminated from the event.

“My heart was racing at the start,” Ahina said. “Yesterday I wasn’t in the right mind set so I made sure I was focused from the beginning of my heat. After I missed the set of the day I knew I had to re-position myself so paddled onto the inside and it paid off for me.”

Former event runner up Rodrigo Sphaier (BRA) was unexpectedly sent into elimination Round 2 after finishing runner-up in his Round 1 Heat. The veteran Brazilian showed his frustration attacking the long walls of Riyue Bay in a dominating display. 

“I came here to win,” Sphaier said. “I finished second here in the past so to end up in Round 2 is not good for me. I’m feeling good to make that heat and get some scores, so I can take some confidence into Round 3.”

As was the case in Round 1, arguably the most exciting heat of the day was the last one of the Round where Jack Entwistle (AUS) came up against Adam Griffiths (GBR). Entwistle lead the entire heat until in the final twenty seconds, Griffiths took off on a set wave needing a 6.80. Nose riding and tagging it all the way to the beach, the Englishman earned an excellent score of 8.60 and a spot in Round 3.

“I’m still buzzing,” Griffiths said. “We started the heat with two identical scores so from then it was on. Jack had the better of me for the majority of the heat, then that last one came through and I was lucky enough to get a few sections for turns, as soon as I got to the beach I knew it was going to be the score I needed.”

Heat 1 of the women’s round two featured an uncharacteristic appearance from 2011 World Longboard Champion Lindsay Steinreide’s (USA) smooth style and calm nose riding obviously impressed the judges as she posted her heat total of 16.16. 

“It’s always hard being first heat especially in an elimination round,” Steinriede said.  “It’s always good to watch heats before your own so you can get an idea of what the waves are doing, I’m glad we waited for the waves to get better though. The waves are a lot better than I thought they were going to be, super nice and lined up, so we’re all really happy.”

In what was the biggest upset of the event so far, event rookie Honolua Blomfield (HAW) posted to excellent scores for a heat total of 17.24 to dominate her heat over two-time World Longboard Champion Jen Smith (USA).

“Jen (Smith) is one of my idols so I was so happy to surf against her,” Blomfield said. “I went into that heat not expecting much but ended up finding some good ones I guess. It’s my first time in China, it’s really pretty around here and finally getting used to the wave. I’m really stoked.”

Will Hayden-Smith

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