SAN CLEMENTE, Calif. — O‘ahu’s Bonga Perkins took the World Longboard title yesterday with his win at the Oxbow World Longboard event in San Clement, Calif. This year’s title is Perkins’ second Association of Surfing Professional World Longboard Championship since 1996.
Perkins (16.95) defeated France’s Antoine Deplero (13.90) by three points.
The Oxbow World Longboard Tour sponsors two ASP WLT events, with the top seed at series’ end claiming the title of ASP World Longboard Champion. The other stop on ASP WLT is held in Anglet, France.
Perkins proved to be unstoppable throughout the event’s entirety and defeated Delpero 16.95 to 13.90 in the Final. The 2008 ASP World Longboard Title came down to the wire, with both surfers having to win the event in order to earn longboarding’s top honors, but it was Perkins who jumped out to an early lead in the final, holding his lead throughout the heat.
“I’ve been bridesmaids and thirds and fourths so many times now and I was hoping that my second title would come soon before I bow out,” Perkins said. “I can’t event speak, I’m blown away right now.”
Perkins, who entered the Oxbow World Longboard Tour event rated third, issued powerful rail-to-rail surfing throughout the contest, consistently compiling some of the highest heat totals. The Hawaiian did the same in the final, netting two eight-point rides in the opening minutes of his heat.
“I’ve been doing it almost every heat, trying to sneak a couple in and get a couple under my belt, and they ended up being my stronger waves every heat,” Perkins said. “That 30 minute heat felt like a long time. I felt like I was holding my breath.”
Despite his amazing performance throughout the contest, Delpero was unable to put a stop to the polished Hawai‘i veteran. Delpero’s second place finish at San Onofre State Beach also puts him at No. 2 in the world behind Perkins.
“I just could not find a wave in that heat,” Delpero said. “I would have liked to win, but that’s life, that’s competition.”
Delpero proved why he was rated ASP WLT No. 2 entering the contest, as he was a force to be reckoned with from Round 1. The young Frenchman combined style and grace in all of his heats with massive sweeping cutbacks and long noserides.
“I feel good,” said Delpero after his quarterfinals heat victory. “I’m happy with the way that I surfed in that heat. I feel like that was the first time that I have surfed to my potential in this entire event.”
O‘ahu’s Ned Snow, who finished equal third at the Oxbow World Longboard Tour, was on fire throughout the contest and was responsible for posting the only perfect 10 point score. Snow defeated the ASP WLT ratings leader entering the Oxbow World Longboard Tour event, Harley Ingleby of Australia, and 2006 ASP World Longboard Champion Josh Constable, also of Australia, on the way to his semifinals berth.
“I really want to help bring the title back to Hawai‘i,” Snow said. “That’s where surfing started and I feel like for many years it has been overlooked.”
Brazil’s Alex Salazar, who was also a standout throughout the event, ousted top performers such as Joe Aaron, and Matthew Moir, on the way to his semifinals finish. Unfortunately for Salazar, he was unable top Delpero in the semifinals.
“This event means so much to me.” Salazar said. “This contest is really important to my whole country and I’m glad I could compete in it.”