Chelsea Williams (AUS) has defeated Kelia Moniz (HAW) to claim her first ASP Women's World Longboard Title at the GoPro World Longboard Championships, China presented by Wanning (WLC). Near perfect 3-to-4 foot surf provided the ideal canvas for the world's best longboarders to fight for the sport's ultimate prize, but it was Williams, the in-form surfer of the event, who was the last one standing.
Remarkably, Moniz and Williams have met in the final of the GoPro WLC four years in a row, proving that these two athletes really are on top of the world at the moment. Their friendly rivalry sees them now at two wins apiece in the Final in China.
Williams' Title win today was a long time coming after finishing the Tour runner-up four times. In the first half of today's Final Williams struggled to adapt to the conditions and it seemed her fifth runner-up finish was minutes away. But in the second half of the heat, the Gold Coast surfer struck back with some of the best nose-riding of the whole event, mixing in rail-to-rail carves. Moniz caught a last minute wave, but fell short of the required score, leaving Williams out the back to ride her final wave into the beach as the 2014 ASP World Longboard Champion.
â€œDid that just happen? I can't believe it!â€ Williams said. â€œI've wanted to win a World Longboard Title since I found out it existed. For a long time people have been telling me I deserve to win, now I finally believe them. I'm so happy and thankful for the support of my family, friends and sponsors. It was an awesome Final, Kelia (Moniz) is so good, we have a fun rivalry going and I'm glad that I got her back.â€
Moniz is a two-time ASP World Longboard Champion after winning this event the past two years. She finished the event with the highest single-wave score and the highest heat total garnered in Round 1. Today, after losing by a mere 0.02, Moniz was gracious in defeat, hinting that her rivalry with Williams' isn't over yet.
â€œIf it wasn't me winning there's no one I'd rather see win than Chelsea (Williams),â€ Moniz said. â€œShe's a great surfer, she scored a 9 in the final and deserved to win. I'm not too disappointed, it would have been nice to win again â€” Chelsea and I can just meet in the Final again next year.â€
Lindsay Steinriede (USA), 2011 ASP World Longboard Champion used her graceful and polished style to advance into the Semifinals where she ran into a rampaging Williams. Steinriede was the last natural footed surfer left in the draw when she won her Quarterfinal and advanced into the Semis. She leaves the 2014 GoPro WLC ranked equal 3rd in the world.
â€œThat was the most fun I've ever had in a heat and I lost!â€ Steinriede said. â€œI've got so much respect for Chelsea's surfing and who she is as a person, with either one of us getting into the Final I was happy. I'm really happy to have made the Semifinals and to get that far in the event, the fact that we had really good waves also feels good.â€
Chloe Calmon (BRA) lost in an action-packed Semifinal against Moniz, meaning the young Brazilian exits the event ranked equal 3rd in the world. Calmon has worked extremely hard and has improved on her 5th place finish from last year. She was one of the most interesting and exciting surfers to watch all event long, but she let nerves get the best of her in the Semifinals.
â€œI had an incredible event, but I still wanted to go further,â€ Calmon said. â€œI improved on my position from last year which was my goal so I'm happy, but losing so close to the Semifinal did make me a little sad after the heat â€” I'm happy now. It just wasn't my time to be in the final and I'm going to try and come back and go bigger and better next year.â€
It's highly likely that the men's 2014 ASP World Longboard Champion will be crowned tomorrow.