The opening day of the Boardmasters Longboard Pro delivered small but clean surf to launch the men and women's first few rounds of competition. Europe's best longboarders put on a great show for the big summer crowds and surfed the little waves to perfection, earning high scores in the process.
Reigning European longboard champion Edouard Delpero (FRA) 25, launched his Newquay campaign successfully with a solid opening heat and an incredible 16.40 heat total. With two events on this season's calendar, Delpero will seek to perform consistently and maintain his name atop the regional rankings.
"I'm here to have fun once again and hopefully win the event if I get the opportunity," Delpero said. "It was the right call to surf today even if the waves were small, this will give us a chance to surf on man-on-man heats tomorrow. I haven't been here in Newquay for three years and it's great to be back. It's an important event for all of us, and with the whole festival going on, there are so many people at the beach it's pretty cool to have an audience."
British surfers Jack Unsworth and Ben Skinner put on a great fight in their Round 1 bout, ending up with the exact same two scores on the board. The numerous back-and-forth lead changes couldn't eventually decide a clear heat winner, and with a slightly higher third wave score, Unsworth took the win.
"It was definitely tricky," Unsworth said. "From up here in the contest area you can see every line and bump and what not, but as soon as you hit the water you're pretty much blind. You can hear everyone on the beach, and the announcer staying stuff, it's quite stressful really ! I was a bit nervous cause it's my first time at Boardmasters. Ben (Skinner) shapes my boards and sponsors me, he's a bit of a mentor for me so I'm quite glad to take one over him, our last heat he beat me in a man-on-man semifinal in Portugal."
Edouard's older brother Antoine Deplero (FRA) 29, quickly followed and took things to the next level, scoring two near-perfect scores for a 18.95 total out of 20. The Frenchman's impeccable wave selection and his capacity to mix traditional longboarding and progressive maneuvers was appreciated by the international judging panel.
"It definitely was tough conditions, but thankfully my board is just amazing and I was able to find decent waves to do a couple of nose rides and some turns," Delpero said. "Longboarding has always been influenced by people who either wanted to go full traditional or full performance, but I think to be a good longboarder you need to be able to do both well, and most importantly to link all your maneuvers together and surf the wave to its full potential. This board is a prototype by Alain Minvielle and for me it's the ultimate all-around performance board, it's great for nose rides and you can be radical with it too."
Surfing and winning two heats on the opening day at Fistral, Lucie Milochau (FRA) 18, was the highlight of the women's event so far in Cornwall, advancing into the next round where she will face British surfer Charlotte Bayliss (GBR) for a shot at a Semifinals appearance.
"There was a little one-to-two-foot left out there and it was fun!," Milochau said. "I've been here before and haven't really performed so I'd like to make a few more heats this time around. I was ranked fifth last year and I hope I can get into the top spots to qualify for the international final."
Surfers and event officials will reconvene at 7:30 a.m. local time Sunday for a potential early start to the last day of competition at Fistral.