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Upsetter Time: Kumul PNG Longboard Champs see shake up

One of the giant killers of Round Four, Edouard Delpero (FRA) played his part in the elimination of 2016 WLC runner-up Steven Sawyer (AUS).
Steven Sawyer © WSL / Tim Hain






Kumul PNG World Longboard Champs

World Surf League Longboard Championship
Tupira, Papau New Guinea
18 - 25 March, 2017

Athletes put in incredible performances as quaterfinalists are determined

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 22 March, 2017 - The World Surf League (WSL) Kumul PNG World Longboard Championships charged through the remaining seven heats of Round Three and contested Round Four in more dreamy, Tupira conditions. Three-to-four foot, pristine morning conditions kicked off competition that would unfold into another massive day of eliminations. Huge upsets were witnessed as both World No. 1 and No. 2 were dispatched from competition today. 

Reigning World Champion Phil Rajzman (BRA) fell victim to a brutal fall in yesterday’s freesurf that resulted in a serious head injury, and partially torn bicep. But, the gentle giant pushed on and earned a heroic Round Three victory.

However, Antoine Delpero (FRA) was in total control of his nerves with four WLC World Titles in the water between Rajzman and Harley Ingleby (AUS) sitting alongside him. Delpero found his form once again, and posted an 8.33 (out of a possible 10) right away, and earned safe passage into the Quarterfinals where another two-time World Champion awaits him -- Piccolo Clemente (PER).
“I was really nervous going into that heat with two World Champions out in the lineup knowing how good they are and it went a little slow during our heat so I was lucky to get a good one at the beginning,” Delpero said. “After getting that 8.33 I was just trying to relax and wait for another wave because I knew I just needed a backup. The waves are still pumping and it’s just an incredible set up here with all the locals out here supporting us, it makes for a great atmosphere. It’s been a little different over the last few days, but I’m not changing my surfing and just doing what I feel -- the noserides right away and the big turns later in the wave are definitely the most rewarded.”

Edouard Delpero (FRA) picked up where his brother left off in the next heat and eliminated 2016 WLC runner-up Steven Sawyer (ZAF) as Cole Robbins (USA) earned second-place in the heat. Delpero blasted into Round Three with a big Round One win and looked unstoppable once again today with two more heat wins.
“I was just enjoying myself in the water, the waves are so fun -- it’s just a perfect righthand pointbreak,” Delpero said. “That was a great heat and I’m having a great time just being able to express my surfing the way I can. Paddling out into my heat I saw Antoine [Delpero] got that win and it gave a lot of motivation to do the same thing. We’ve had some amazing experiences together and even had a few Finals in the past.”

Kai Sallas (HAW) showcased his dominance in a critical Round Four matchup and posted two near-perfect scores of 9.00 and 9.33 -- matching his 18.33 (out of possible 20) from yesterday. The Hawaiian looked comfortable in the lineup with poise and style to overpower event standout Rodrigo Sphaier (BRA) and the two-time World Champion Clemente.
“I think I’m super familiar with this wave as it relates to a lot of breaks back home in Hawaii,” Sallas said. “Weather is similar, and there’s a lot of reefbreaks like this so I just feel at home. It’ll make a big difference [being on righthander] and a lot of competitors coming out on top are the regular footers who have been dying to surf a right in the last five years -- it’ll change things up a bit. Today we’re surfing shoulder-to-head high, most rippable wave and the other morning we were getting barreled every wave. It’s quite incredible.”
Taylor Jensen (USA) ripped once more to begin his day in Round Three over 15-year-old Kaniela Stewart (HAW) with the event’s highest single-wave score of 9.77 and continued that dominance into Round Four with yet another heat win. Jensen posted two more excellent scores against the in-form British competitor Adam Griffiths (GBR) and fellow American Tony Silvagni (USA).
"That onshore wind was kind of fun, it let you in early for a quick noseride and gave a little extra push to turn off of -- it's just really nice to have a powerful wave on our tour," Jensen said. "China's a softer wave on my backhand in my opinion so this is great to have something to lay into. It's life-altering getting this right since I don't go left too much living at mostly right points and my forehand is definitely my strongest so it's a welcome change. With Taiwan later in the year, a Quarterfinal pretty much keeps you in the race so this is a great result and anything after is a bonus. I'd love to win this event, but I know it's going to be a really tough challenge with everyone just pushing it so hard."

Tune in live at 7:00 a.m. AEDT to witness Quarterfinal action from either the men or women on, or by downloading the WSL App to receive updates on your mobile device.
Upcoming Kumul PNG World Longboard Championships Men’s Quarterfinal Matchups:

QF 1: Kai Sallas (HAW) vs. Harley Ingleby (AUS)
QF 2: Antoine Delpero (FRA) vs. Piccolo Clemente (PER)
QF 3: Edouard Delpero (FRA) vs. Adam Griffiths (GBR)
QF 4: Taylor Jensen (USA) vs. Cole Robbins (USA)
Upcoming PNG World Longboard Championships Women’s Quarterfinal Matchups:
QF 1: Rachael Tilly (USA) vs. Crystal Walsh (HAW)
QF 2: Chelsea Williams (AUS) vs. Kaitlin Maguire (USA)
QF 3: Chloe Calmon (BRA) vs. Alice Lemoigne (REU)
QF 4: Honoula Blomfield (HAW) vs. Lindsay Steinriede (USA)
Kumul PNG World Longboard Championships Men’s Round Four Results:
Heat 1: Kai Sallas (HAW) 18.33, Piccolo Clemente (PER) 16.34, Rodrigo Sphaier (BRA) 13.20
Heat 2: Antoine Delpero (FRA) 15.76, Harley Ingleby (AUS) 14.56, Phil Rajzman (BRA) 12.90
Heat 3: Edouard Delpero (FRA) 16.67, Cole Robbins (USA) 14.34, Steven Sawyer (ZAF) 12.24
Heat 4: Taylor Jensen (USA) 16.73, Adam Griffiths (GBR) 15.94, Tony Silvagni (USA) 12.24
Remaining Kumul PNG World Longboard Championships Men’s Round Three Results:
Heat 6: Phil Rajzman (BRA) 16.20 def. Dane Pioli (AUS) 14.77
Heat 7: Steven Sawyear (ZAF) 13.07 def. Bage Brayner (BRA) 8.00
Heat 8: Cole Robbins (USA) 17.17 def. Jared Neal (AUS) 13.90
Heat 9: Edouard Delpero (FRA) 17.93 def. Kevin Skvarna (USA) 12.90
Heat 10: Ben Skinner (GBR) 15.93 def. Tony Silvagni (USA) 14.36
Heat 11: Adam Griffiths (GBR) 15.43 def. Matthew Moir (ZAF) 12.66
Heat 12: Taylor Jensen (USA) 18.10 def. Kaniela Stewart (HAW) 10.34

Andrew Nichols

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