The newly launched Longboard Tour will now feature a four-event circuit. The lines drawn by surfing's most graceful longboarders will be on full display this coming season and the World Longboard Champions will be crowned at the end of the year.
Events will take place in Noosa, Australia; Galicia,Spain; and Long Island, New York. These three stops will be in addition to the Taiwan Open World Longboard Championships at the end of the season. The Longboard Tour will accompany the existing Longboard Qualifying Series events, which will now transition to Longboard Regional events.
Devon Howard has been appointed Longboard Tour Director and will oversee all of the WSL's longboard events working closely with all areas of the WSL. Howard's influential style has had an inspiring impact on surf culture, but more importantly, he will bring an impressive resume with a litany of skill sets and an intimate knowledge of surfing that will play a key role in the success of this Tour.
"This is a major step for the WSL to grow its professional longboard surfing platform, which it has decades of history with in crowning the sport's world champions since 1986," said Howard. "The additions of events in Noosa, Galicia and New York will now bring an exciting title race for this traditional discipline of waveriding to four distinctly different regions that are all well-suited for the world's most stylish longboarders to display their impeccable footwork."
Howard, the distinguished surfer from San Diego, CA, gained notoriety in the '90s and early '00s for his appearances in seminal surf films that captured the art of longboarding during that period, including Thomas Campbell's The Seedling, Sprout and The Present, as well as Jason Baffa's Singlefin: Yellow and One California Day. These films helped expand the reach of longboarding to a worldwide audience and influenced the surfboard industry and an entire generation of surfers who came after.
Former editor of Longboard Magazine and a contributor to The Surfer's Journal, Howard was also a WSL ranked competitor in the '90s and early '00s, representing the US Team at the annual Oxbow World Longboard Championship, before taking a long hiatus to pursue a marketing career. With a brief return to competition a decade later, at age 40, Howard promptly won the prestigious Deus 9ft & Single event in Bali then bowed out again to run his marketing and branding agency that services a number of iconic brands.
"We are delighted to welcome Devon Howard as our new Longboard Tour Director and know he is integral in building and growing our longboard platform with the broader organization of the WSL," said Sophie Goldschmidt, WSL CEO. "The Longboard Tour is an exciting expansion our existing longboard events and Longboard World Championship as we look to further develop this very important aspect of surfing. We would like to thank Tourism and Events Queensland, Discover Long Island and the New York State Division of Tourism and I LOVE NY for their support to help bring this tour together."
Longboard Tour Noosa: March 7 - 10, 2019
Longboard Tour Galicia: August 28 - 31, 2019
Longboard Tour New York: September 6 - 12, 2019
Taiwan Open World Longboard Championships: December 4 - 11, 2019
Longboard Tour: Noosa, Galicia, New York
The Longboard Tour will launch in Noosa, Queensland, Australia on March 7 at the Noosa Longboard Open. Each Longboard Tour event will award 6,000 points toward World Longboard Championship ranking points and a $30,000 prize purse each for women's and men's divisions, respectively. The events will hold three-to-four-competitor heats in the early rounds, then the Quarterfinals to the Final will hold two-competitor heats. As these are new events, the draw will be open to 40-to-72 surfers.
Taiwan Open World Longboard Championships
The Taiwan Open World Longboard Championships will be the final event of the Longboard Tour. The event will award 10,000 ranking points and have a $60,000 prize purse each for the women's and men's divisions, respectively. There will be 24 women and 24 men invited to compete for the World Longboard Championship. For both the women's and men's fields, the invitees will be made up of the Top eight surfers from the 2018 rankings, the Top 12 from the 2019 rankings, and four wildcards.
New Updates to the Longboard Qualifying Series
The existing Longboard Qualifying Series events will now transition to Regional Longboard Tour events that will help surfers earn a better seeding for the Longboard Tour events.
Celebrating 2018 World Longboard Champions Soleil Errico and Steven Sawyer
Last season, California's Soleil Errico and Jeffreys Bay's Steven Sawyer captured the World Longboard Surfing Title in Taiwan. Soleil and Steven will surf at Noosa to kick off the new Tour.
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