Dupont, an accomplished water woman, former Championship Tour surfer, and Big Wave tour competitor, started her season perfectly with a win in Espinho, in conditions that challenged some of the best longboarders in the world. The French surfer went on to claim a runner-up the following week in Caparica and actually sealed the deal on her regional crown one event shy of wrapping the season, when she once again reached the final in Biarritz in June. She placed runner-up on home turf and went on to claim a third place at Boardmasters to complete an impressively consistent season on top of the European longboard scene.
The Lacanau surfer has been a standout longboarder for years, ever since she burst on the map with a runner-up finish at the Roxy Jam in Biarritz in 2007. Now residing part-time in Nazare to chase sea monsters in winter, Dupont has been offered a wildcard into this year's Taiwan Open World Longboard Champs but will likely decline it as the event runs during the Big Wave Tour season and could potentially keep Dupont from competing in California or Hawaii. Her results from 2018 do however qualify her for the World Longboard Championships of 2019 which she'll enter.
"It's tough to decline this opportunity because I've heard a lot of great things about Taiwan from the other surfers," she said. "I'm hoping this event is still on tour next year. It's just too much of a risk for me to commit to a week there when a big wave event can happen very quickly anywhere in the world."
Delpero has a slightly different profile. Sure he does enter a couple of QS events every year, but he is a 100% committed full-time longboarding competitor and one of the best in the world. Edouard started his season with a win in Espinho as well, dominating in firing Portuguese surf. He placed fifth in Caparica and runner-up in Biarritz, both times defeated by his older brother Antoine.
The two were neck and neck on the European rankings before the final event in England, but professional obligations meant only one of them could go. The pair played rock-paper-scissors and Edouard came out victorious. An epic showdown with Fistral local Ben Skinner and a second win for Delpero later, Edouard claimed the coveted regional title.
"I feel good, motivated and ready physically," he said. "I'll probably be a lot more focused when I get to Taiwan but right now I'm very relaxed. I love going there, it's my first fourth year already and I've always done well there. It's a wave that suits my surfing, and it allows everyone to really show their best self."
Delpero placed equal 5th in PNG last year, the opening event on the World Longboard Championship, and won the second and final event in Taiwan to tie in for first place overall with Taylor Jensen. But there can only be one world champion, and a surf-off between the two unfortunately went Jensen's way, postponing the Frenchman's first-ever world title. He will be back to Taiwan at the end of the month to try to rise to the top once again.
"I don't think you can come any closer than that," he continued. "But at the same time I'm not the world champ so not added pressure to defend the title. I'm super confident heading there for sure, my boards are great and I feel like I can surf my best. But it's a single event, so anything could happen. If you don't get the waves, or simply if the other guy is better on the day it can all go wrong. I'll just go there relaxed and confident and hope for the best."
Find out all about the Taiwan Open World Longboard Champs from November 26 - December 2, 2018 and catch up on all results, photos, videos, news and more right here at worldsurfleague.com and via the WSL Facebook page and app.