The Huntington Beach Pier will host the World Surf League (WSL) North America Longboard Championships beginning Saturday, November 7, with the Finals set for Sunday, November 8. Some of the world's best longboard surfers are making their way to the famous beachbreak on the south side of the pier, in hopes of securing a spot at the Jeep World Longboard Championships. The Championships will run in Riyue Bay, Hainan Island, China, December 5-12.
Securing three wins already this year, Taylor Jensen (USA) has been a force to be reckoned with and will take this qualifying opportunity to continue honing his skills. The two-time WSL World Longboard Champion is excited for his return to Huntington Beach and what this venue has to offer fellow competitors.
"It's great to have a WSL event back in North America -- especially on the West Coast," Jensen said. "There's so many talented longboarders throughout California and it's great for them all to get a chance at qualifying again without having to travel across the country. I'm looking forward to seeing all the guys and girls get to put on a display of good surfing and getting a few more North Americans on tour."
Currently sitting atop the Australasia rankings at No. 1, Jensen is chasing a third world title and will look to thwart Harley Ingleby's (AUS) back-to-back world title hopes on Hainan Island next month.
"It's good to have another crack at a title in China again this year," Jensen added. "I think this is our fourth year having our event there and we are all getting comfortable with the wave. We know what to expect now. Anybody on the tour is capable of winning a title when there is just one event deciding it, so it's going to be a matter of who gets into a good rhythm and has the ocean on their side."
Surfers aren't the only ones elated to have an event back in the region since Belmar, New Jersey, in 2013. WSL North America Tour Manager Brian Robbins and his team are more than ready to host the talent coming in.
"WSL North America is really excited to be putting this event on for our longboard competitors," Robbins said. "We haven't had a longboard event in two years so it'll be fun to focus on this for the weekend, crown the Regional champions, and decide some new qualifiers. The field is really strong with multiple past Longboard World Champions."
The North America Championships offers up two qualifying spots for the Men and one for the Women as they battle for their ticket to China.
"While we have quite a few competitors already qualified for the Jeep World Championships in China, we're looking forward to seeing who takes the available spots," Robbins added. "We've developed a format that allows for all the competitors to compete in at least two heats with the intention of giving more opportunity to perform at their best."
This year's contest will be a small format including 16 men and 16 women, allowing for a round robin tournament -- everyone will surf twice the first day. Only eight will advance to the final day with man-on-man Quarterfinals, Semifinals, and Final.
With $5,000 on the line for both Men and Women, this event also offers 1,000 qualifying points -- both prizes enabling a big start toward a World Championship run. The event will begin each morning at 8 a.m. local time and the champions will be crowned on Sunday.
Look for live scoring on the WSL website's event hub and daily updates to find out who will be on their way to China.