PLAYA DE SOMO, Ribamontan al Mar - Cantabria / Spain - The inaugural King of the Longboard, an ASP Europe-sanctioned specialty event kicked off in clean, 2-to-3 foot waves under clear skies and strong offshore winds, making life difficult for the strong international field on day one of competition.
An innovative format designed by Cantabrian Surfing Federation Technical Director, Pedro Gutierrez, combines both performance and classical longboard styles in a non-elimination winner-takes-all format.
Day 1 saw the top field of riders show their performance skills in 20-minute heats with their best two scores counting to their overall four-wave total to claim the King of the Longboard title.
Many surfers stood out, showing a full array of maneuvers being laid down in the long walls of Somo. Ben Skinner (GBR) top scored and leads the pack heading in to day two of completion.
"It was so fun! The wind has dropped off this afternoon with 2-3ft waves and a really fun concept. It's great to be here," Skinner said. "I've got a sore neck at the moment and it is not easy to paddle but I'm all good and it is hot, too. I'm not used to these conditions so hot in October."
Benoit Carpentier (FRA La Torche) 18, was the surprise performer taking on much older rivals to find himself in second position at the end of the performance round of heats. Fast and sharp on both his backhand and forehand Carpentier is now setting his sights on attempting to overtake Skinner in tomorrow's Classical round of competition.
"The waves are pumping right now and I got two good waves so I'm stoked. It's my first year here and I'm stoked to be here and it is such a great event. So tomorrow is the Classical so I will try to do my best. It is fun too!"
Alberto Fernandez (ESP) finished in third position in the overall rankings and in close pursuit of the leaders. Surfing solidly with aggressive rail carves Fernandez showed he is one of the top Spaniard longboarders competing at the moment.
"In the beginning I didn't find my waves but in the end I managed to achieve a good position overall. It is a little bit difficult with the wind but the rights are quite good. I stayed relaxed and I got a couple of waves. Now time to change the board and continue to try my best in the classical. It is a new system of competition and I'll have to try out a new board too."
Tomorrow will see the conclusion and crowning of this year's King of the Longboard when the 24 riders do battle again with the emphasis on classical longboarding. Competition is set to resume at approximately midday Sunday 19th October.