After a hiatus from the top podium spot in 2015, former World Longboard Champions Taylor Jensen and Chelsea Williams have their eyes set on reclaiming top honours at the 2017 Jeep World Longboard Championships this December at Riyue Bay, Hainan, China. The contest runs from December 4 - 13.
Jensen just missed out on clinching a third World Title last year when he finished second to Peruvian Piccolo Clemente. The San Diego native was left needing an excellent score of 8.88 (out of a possible 10) in the dying minutes and came just short, posting a 8.27 after the final buzzer. This left Jensen less than half a point from a win, a seriously hard way to go down.
"Getting second sucks, even more so when the World Title is on the line and you loose on a split decision on the final wave of the heat," Jensen said. "I had an exceptionally fortunate year on the LQS leading up to China, It was the best year I ever had contest-wise. Then, to finish it off like that, was such an anticlimax, it definitely got to me. I lost because I made a poor wave choice with priority. That was the bottom line, I lost to myself."
Jensen believes he has taken a lot from the loss in 2015 and hopes that he can turn that pain and frustration into a win in 2016.
"It was a mistake, I've learned from it and I moved on," Jensen Continued. "It certainly lit a fire inside and got me thinking about different aspects of my surfing and competitive strategy. Things I had maybe overlooked in recent years and areas where I could focus and improve. I think in a way it has helped me take a step back and hit the reset button, I feel like I'm surfing with more purpose and drive than I have in a long time."
Another Former World Champion who came just short of another title in 2015 was Chelsea Williams, who was knocked out by good friend Crystal Walsh in the Semifinal to finish equal=third. Williams sees going in to the WLC without the title of defending champion as a great opportunity to take the pressure off and fly under the radar.
"This year I feel more relaxed, I have no pressure whatsoever," Williams said. "I thought that defending my title last year I didn't have any pressure but I had more than ever. I can't wait to go out there and just surf and have fun. I know I am capable of getting to the Final, I just have to trust myself and my surfing. I feel like I beat myself last year and am more than ready to redeem myself."
Hailing from Coolangatta on Australia's Gold Coast, goofyfoot Williams doesn't get too many opportunities to surf her forehand. The long, playful lefts of Riyue Bay are something she looks forward to every year.
"I love the wave, It's one of my favourite lefts of all time" Williams continued. "I always have fun and have made the Final four times there. I don't get to go left much where I live so when I do I am always excited and the wave at Riyue allows me to showcase my bag of tricks."