Photo above: Taylor Jensen (USA), toes on the nose and through to Round 3 today.
Perfect three foot (one meter) waves and beautiful weather blessed Day 3 of the Oxbow WLT pres. by Orange at the world famous beachbreak of Les Cavaliers. The first duels of the event took place with Round 2 getting underway today and five heats were held before the high tide forced organisers to put the event on hold.
Taylor Jensen (USA), who won the last heat of the day against Damien Castera (FRA), secured his Round 3 spot with the highest heat score of the day, an excellent 15.75 point result (out of a possible 20).
“The tide was coming in already and I had to make an accurate wave choice but it ended up well,” Jensen said. “I am stoked to be back here, to see how Oxbow and the ASP are helping things to improve for longboard surfing.”
Jensen, 2003 ASP World Longboard Tour No. 5, remains a favorite for a possible world title and will be chasing his maiden crown this year.
“I came close to a the world title a few years ago and I hope it will be mine this year,” Jensen said. “I will take it heat by heat and try my best to start with a win here in Anglet.”
Phil Rajzman (BRA), reigning ASP World Longboard Champion, easily got through the first duel of the day when he defeated Californian Brad Vetter (USA) showing a solid combination of radical cutbacks and classic nose riding style backed up with the best barrel of the event so far.
“I felt relaxed before this heat and was happy to get on with a man-on-man battle,” Rajzman said. “I am stoked to secure a spot in Round 3 and I never really worry about these sudden-death Round 2 heats. I take it as any other heat.”
Rajzman, who posted a good 14.00 point heat tally (out of a possible 20), went through to Round 2 last year before clinching his maiden ASP World Longboard Champion title.
“The more heats I win, the more confidence I get,” Rajzman said. “I take it as a practice but I am very focused on winning off course. I am through and I will take it heat by heat from now on.”
Alexis Deniel (FRA), 23, attending his first ever Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Longboard Tour (WLT) event, defeated 2007 ASP World Longboard Tour No. 5 Keegan Edwards (HAW) with a solid 13.25 point heat score.
“I had a slow start and fell on my first wave but things got better throughout the heat,” Deniel said. “I got a six pointer after that and it brought me confidence for the rest of the heat. I chose the righthanders and more classic longboard moves and it is good to see it worked out.”
Deniel, who went through the trials to enter the main event, surfed his first ever man-on-man heat today and advanced to Round 3.
“It was my first time in a duel and I am stoked it worked out well,” Deniel said. “I feel like anyone has a chance in the event but the big names have an advantage with their experience off course. Coming from the trials, I have no pressure and I think I have the right board for these waves.”
Carlors Bahia (BRA) and Rodrigo Danilo (BRA) both advanced through to Round 3 today as well. Rodrigo, last year’s runner-up in the Oxbow WLT, defeated 3X ASP World Longboard Champion Rusty Keaulana (HAW) and is focused on the crown. Call is set at 9.30 AM tomorrow Thursday.