CAPBRETON, France - A team of eleven talented European longboarders will soon be landing on the iconic Hainan Island in China to prepare for the GoPro World Longboard Championship, China pres. by Wanning.
Amongst the pack, Antoine Deplero (FRA) 29, one of the most experienced competitors on the international scene, will aim for the ultimate title in Hainan. Building up on a 5th place result the first year and a semifinal in 2013, Delpero in his third showing in China is a legitimate threat to take out the World Crown.
â€œIt's great to have a WLT final again this year,â€ Delpero said. â€œIt's my third time competing there, I was defeated by my brother in the quarters the first year and was disappointed losing in the semis last year, so I'll try to do better and why not bring the title home to France !â€
Antoine will again this year be competing alongside his younger brother, Edouard, who was recently crowned European Longboard Champion.
Placing third behing the Delpero brothers in the European qualifier, Emilien Fleury (FRA) 29, will look to build experience competing against the World's best in China. For his second time at a WLC final, Fleury expects nothing but a great time in quality waves.
â€œLast year I had the worst possible seeding and surfed against Taylor Jensen in Rd1 and Harley Ingleby in Rd2,â€ Fleury explained. â€œIt was an incredible experience to surf against those guys when I had just started competing a year before. This time I hope I do better but either way it'll be great to see and hang with all the Frenchies again and surf good waves hopefully like last year.â€
Leading the women's crew into the final longboard event of 2014, former World Title runner-up in 2009 Coline Menard (FRA) 26, brings a ton of experience in her eighth consecutive participation.
â€œThe WLT in China has been something I really looked forward to in the past few years,â€ Menard stated. â€œIt's a mix of emotions between the total change of scenery feel and catching up with all the locals who have become friends. I feel great surfing wise and I really hope I can do much better than last year !â€
A second place finisher in the Vieux Boucau qualifying event, Alice Lemoigne (REU) 18, will participate in her second Hainan event alongside Menard and the rest of the team. With a 13th place under the belt last season, Lemoigne hopes to build momentum and confidence into this edition of the Chinese festival of longboard.
â€œI'm stoked to qualify again, and super happy to go back to the island and see all the girls,â€ Lemoigne commented. â€œI have no pressure I just want to surf well and improve on my result, taking one heat at a time.â€
â€œIt's great to be able to go back, I built experience last year and am going again with high hopes,â€ Vergara said. â€œJust being on the island with all the surfers is incredible, I can't wait to be there ! I'll do everything I can and try to win heats as they come.â€
The full European team is composed of: Antoine and Edouard Delpero (FRA), Timothee Creignou (FRA), Ben Skinner (GBR), Emilien Fleury (FRA), Rémi Arauzo (FRA) and Adam Griffiths (GBR) for the men; Alice Lemoigne (REU), Coline Menard (FRA), Victoria Vergara (FRA) and Justine Mauvin (REU) for the women.