The 2014 Australian Longboard Surfing Open culled the field of Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Longboard Qualifying Series (LQS) divisions to just four Semifinalists in both the Legendary Pacific Coast Men's Pro and the Pretty Shady Women's Pro this morning.
Harley Ingleby (Coffs Harbour, NSW/AUS), 2009 ASP World Longboard Champion was the clear standout performer of the day, posting two scores in the 9-point-range to amass a two-wave heat-total of 18.74 (out of a possible 20). Ingleby arrived in Kingscliff early to put on a training camp at the Surfing Australia High Performance Centre and has been surfing the Legendary Pacific Coast Men's Pro contest site every day and his preparation is paying off as competition gets down the business end.
"It's not about catching the biggest waves, it's about getting the ones that will go right through to the inside," Ingleby said. "I was lucky enough to get a couple of long ones. I think I found a point in the line-up where the good ones keep coming to. You just have to keep it smooth and not just stand there in dead sections and of course try to fit in a couple of major manoeuvres."
Taylor Jensen (CA/USA), two-time ASP World Longboard Champion and former Legendary Pacific Coast Men's Pro champion matched up against up-and-coming Sunshine Coaster Nic Jones in an exciting Quarterfinal. Jones was left needing a score in the dying minutes, he found a wave and fell less than half a point short, leaving Jensen to advance into the Semifinals where he will face Jared Neal (AUS).
"I didn't expect to draw Nic (Jones) in the Quarters," Jensen said. "He's a great young surfer and he almost had me in that one. I couldn't figure out where to sit, because of the angle of the beach I thought I was right out the front of the surf club, but I was actually way up the point. It was a tough heat, I had to force my way through to get the scores. Harley (Ingleby) got two 9s, he's got the bank wired, I've just got to figure it out. I'm going to take some time and take my daughter up to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary and surf in the other divisions here and enjoy this event."
Chelsea Williams (Gold Coast, NSW/AUS), current ASP Women's World No. 2 ranked longboarder is in great form at the 2014 Australian Longboard Surfing Open, top scoring in the Pretty Shady Women's Pro today with a heat-total of 12.50 (out of a possible 20), advancing into the Semifinals where she will face Jennifer Smith (USA).
"The surf is a little better today but still challenging," Williams said. "This is my first event since the ASP World Longboard Championship in China last November and it's fun to get back into an event, but I sometimes get nervous because I'm one of the top seeds and people expect me to do well."
Jackson Close (Tweed Heads, NSW/AUS) has had some time away from competing on a longboard, but keeps progressing through the Legendary Pacific Coast Men's Pro with impressive form. Close will match-up against Ingleby in the Semifinals.
"I haven't been riding longboard very much lately, it's feeling really good to be back on them," Close said. "I've had long break from longboards and it's feeling fresh again and I'm really enjoying this event. Kingscliff is never an easy wave to surf, but it's still fun. You just have to go with the flow and take whatever waves come to you."
The festival is located in the world-class surfing destination of Kingscliff, only 10 minutes drive from Snapper Rocks. Running from March 26 - 30, 2014 ALSO pays homage to the history of longboard surfing with surf vehicles and classic car display, the Miss Beach Girl competition, surf films, surf yoga, art and lifestyle stalls.
Upcoming Legendary Pacific Coast Men's Pro Semifinal Match-Ups:
SF 1: Harley Ingleby (AUS) vs. Jackson Close (AUS)
SF 2: Taylor Jensen (USA) vs. Jared Neal (AUS)
Upcoming Pretty Shady Women's Pro Semifinal Match-Ups:
SF 1: Jennifer Smith (USA) vs. Chelsea Williams (AUS)
SF 2: Roisin Carolan (AUS) vs. Rosie Locke (AUS)
The Legendary Pacific Coast beaches to bush program is supported by Destination Tweed and North Coast Tourism and showcases legendary accommodation deals online at legendarybeachesandbush.com.au/ in the spectacular Tweed Coast area.