Jinzun Harbour, Taitung/Taiwan – South African Steven Sawyer (ZAF) has just taken out the 2018 WSL World Longboard Championship at the Taiwan Open of Surfing in clean, 2-to-3 foot waves at Jinzun Harbour. Sawyer came up against Longboarding legend Kai Sallas (HAW) in an incredible 25 minute Final.
Sawyer, who is a proven shortboard surfer as well having competed in the 2017 J-Bay Open Championship Tour event as a Wildcard, was competing on a board shaped by his father that seemed to suit the waves of Taiwan perfectly. He will now join the likes of Jordy Smith (Junior), Shaun Thompson, Wendy Botha as a WSL World Champion.
“My dad has been shaping me, incredible boards recently and they worked so well all event. This is my second time to Taiwan and it is such an amazing place with amazing waves, I think it’s the best surf trip I have ever done — Now it’s become even more special for me.”
Kai Sallas was obviously despondent after coming just short of the title once again. In his 15th year of competing at the World Longboard Championships, the maiden title continues to elude him. Regardless of his runner-up finish, Sallas will remain as one of the icons of modern longboarding.
“To make it all the way to the final and then lose never feels good — it really hurts,” Sallas said. “I feel like I was surfing so well all event and then just lost my rhythm in the final. I’ve been competing for a World title for 15 years now and come really close a few times. I think maybe next year I won’t be taking it so seriously as I do because it hits you harder when you don’t win. I’m happy for Steven and his win but I’m definitely hurting.”
On his way to the Final, Sawyer took down the reigning three-time WSL World Longboard Champion Taylor Jensen (USA) and former Taiwan Open winner Tony Silvagni (USA).
Sallas overcame former two-time World Champion Harley Ingleby (AUS) and Californian Cole Robbins (USA).
This year’s Taiwan Open of Surfing will continue tomorrow with the WSL World Junior Championships now that Men’s and Women’s World Longboard Champions have been crowned. This is the first year in WSL history that the Junior and Longboard Champions will be crowned at the same event. Round 1 of both the men and the women are expected to start at 7:00 am local time. The best 18-year-old and under surfers in the world will do battle for the chance to join the historic winner’s list that features the likes of Andy Irons, Joel Parkinson, Adriano De Souza, Jessi Miley-Dyer, Laura Enever and many more.
The 2018 WSL World Longboard Championships will run in conjunction with the Taiwan Open of Surfing from November 26 to December 2. Head to worldsurfleague.com and on the Free WSL App. Head here for more information, images, highlights and results.
Taiwan Open World Longboard Championship Men’s Final Results:
Heat 1: Steven Sawyer (ZAF) 16.10 DEF. Kai Sallas (HAW) 15.10
Taiwan Open World Longboard Championship Men’s Semifinal Results:
Heat 1: Steven Sawyer (ZAF) 16.10 DEF. Taylor Jensen (USA) 12.96
Heat 2: Kai Sallas (HAW) 15.80 DEF. Cole Robbins (USA) 15.10
Taiwan Open World Longboard Championship Men’s Quarterfinal Results:
Heat 1: Steven Sawyer (ZAF) 14.76 DEF. Tony Silvagni (USA) 12.94
Heat 2: Taylor Jensen (USA) 14.23 DEF. Harley Ingleby (AUS) 13.57
Heat 3: Kai Sallas (HAW) 16.33 DEF. Edouard Delpero (FRA) 12.83
Heat 4: Cole Robbins (USA) 14.67 DEF. Antoine Delpero (FRA) 12.36
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