LA COTE DES BASQUES, Biarritz, France (Saturday, July 10, 2010) – The opening day of the Roxy ASP Women’s World Longboard Championships rolled through intense action as Round 1 was completed in excellent wave conditions, witnessing the elimination of sixteen of the world’s best female longboarders.
In its fifth edition, the prestigious competition witnessed an exciting surf show, the usual crowds enjoying the intensity of the one-on-one battles’ format, the ASP Women’s World Longboard title target adding pressure on the contenders.
Dominating the stage with her renowned athletic style and committed surfing, former ASP Women’s World Longboard No. 3 Leah Dawson (California, USA) set the level to new heights posting a 15.25 point heat score to advance through to Round 2 confidently.
“I was planning to have fun and it went pretty well,” Dawson said. “I watched Joy (Monahan) in the heat before me and it looked like they were starting to get waves coming through from the outside and I got luck with a couple of sets comin-in right from the beginning and was right in the spot.”
Netting a couple of excellent scores to eliminate South African Roxy Towill (ZAF), Dawson displayed a mix of both progressive on-the-rail maneuvers and traditional nose-rides, ending up with an 8.00 and a 7.25. Setting pace and confirming her world title contender’ suit in twenty-five minutes, Dawson has set sights on the number one place in 2010.
“It’s a great confidence boost and it has set me up on the right track,” Dawson said. “I’ve got a tough line-up of competitors in front of me to get to the world title but I am really passionate about it this year and I’ve been preparing really hard. I’d love to win, not just for myself but also for all the people who have given me support
and love unconditionally.”
With beautiful weather and quality waves making the first day of action one of the best in years, the changing tide gave competitors the potential to express the full repertoire of longboarding, making it obvious the level this year has once again improved.
“It’s one of the best days of surf we’ve had in five years,” Roxy Jam contest director Philippe Malvaux said. “The winds were favorable all day and the swell remained as forecast, consistent in the four to five-foot range. We are expecting a slight drop in the swell but some good weather and winds as well for tomorrow.” Much expected for her return to competition in France, reigning and two-time ASP Women’s World Longboard Champion Jennifer Smith (California, USA) avoided an upset elimination winning Heat 8 of Round 1.
With obvious added pressure due to her favorite’s status, Smith was not able to score any big points. “I was pretty nervous for that first heat and didn’t sleep well at all last night,” Smith said. “I didn’t see any of Chloe’s (Calmon) waves and I wasn’t very comfortable out there so it’s a relief to make it past that round and keep things going. It’s unfortunate I creased my favorite board which I won the title with last year.”
As the tide got in and crowds settled on the famous walk-through, the intensity rose with local favorites taking to the water to try and start their 2010 world title campaign well. Coming from an unexpected runner-up finish in 2009, Reunion Island born surfer Coline Menard (REU) pleased her fans escaping from Round 1 to keep her hopes alive. Menard, 22, who made her world-title-win intentions clear at the event opening press conference, was able to defeat Japanese Yasuko Sato (JPN) and remain in the race.
“I decided to use the board I had last year when I made the final,” Menard said. “I was feeling a bit of pressure and you always want to get that first round out of the way so from now on, I’ll be focusing on my surfing to perform well and try and do better than in 2009.”
Also advancing through to Round 2 today in excellent form was experienced Kaitlin Maguire (USA), the stylish natural-foot following Dawson’s footsteps to net an overall result of 14.75 points to advance, along with former ASP Women’s World Longboard Champion Joy Monahan (Oahu, HAW, in 2008) and former ASP Women’s World Longboard No. 2 Justine Dupont (Lacanau, FRA, in 2007).
A call will be made at 7.30 AM Sunday for Round 2 before heading into the business end with the Quarterfinals.
ROUND 1 RESULTS
Heat 1: Kassia Meador (USA) 8.50 def. Nava Young (AUS) 3.90
Heat 2: Cori Schumacher (USA) 11.00 Def. Yuko Shimajiri (JPN) 4.20
Heat 3: Kelly Nicely (USA) 7.05 Def. Georgia Young (AUS) 4.85
Heat 4: Haunani Kane (HAW) 4.75 Def. Julie Cox (USA) 3.80
Heat 5: Joy Monahan (HAW) 6.85 Def. Estitxu Estremo (EUK) 4.30
Heat 6: Leah Dawson (USA) 15.25 Def. Roxy Towill (ZAF) 6.25
Heat 7: Summer Romero (USA) 9.15 Def. Cristiana Pires (BRA) 4.70
Heat 8: Jennifer Smith (USA) 9.90 Def.Vs Chloe Calmon (BRA) 5.15
Heat 9: Coline Menard (REU) 6.75 Def. Yasuko Sato (JPN) 1.25
Heat 10: Yoko Furuichi (JPN) 6.40 Def. Karina Abras (BRA) 6.00
Heat 11: Geodee Clark (HAW) 8.25 Def. Ophelie Ah-Kounen (REU) 6.25
Heat 12: Kaitlin Maguire (USA) 14.75 Def. Rachel Barry (USA) 4.15
Heat 13: Justine Dupont (FRA) 7.85 Def. Juli Warisaya (JPN) 6.20
Heat 14: Isabelle Braly (AUS) 8.80 Def. Candice O’Donnell (GBR) 4.25
Heat 15: Kelia Moniz (HAW) 11.65 Def. Ashley Quintal (HAW) 11.65
Heat 16: Miku Uemura (HAW) 8.00 Def. Pandora Decoster (FRA) 3.80