First Point Noosa, Queensland has dished up awesome waves for the opening day of the Noosa Longboard Open, the first stop on the revamped WSL Longboard Tour (LT). Some of the biggest names in Longboarding showcased an array of traditional, classic and stylish surfing at one of the world's most iconic waves.
Two-time WSL World Longboard Champion Kelia Moniz made her return to competitive surfing today admitting that the opportunity to surf Noosa Point for Championship points was an offer she couldn't refuse. After a few years of soul searching, 26-year-old Moniz is keen to reignite her passion for competing and the reinvigorated Longboard Tour along with the announcement of some fresh new locations to compete at was all the encouragement the Hawaiian needed.
"I had a bit of an epiphany recently and just thought, I still have a lot to give and I don't want to grow old wondering," Moniz said. "Having those kinds of thoughts definitely gave me the incentive to come back and compete, along with the fact that Longboarding seems to be at the start of a really exciting time. What the WSL has done to lock in some new events in a variety of awesome locations plus getting Devon (Howard) onboard, I think the next few years is looking so exciting and I really didn't want to miss out. Starting the Longboard Tour off at such an incredible wave like Noosa is amazing, it's a wave that is perfect for longboarding and really allows you to display style and grace which I believe are two of the most important elements to longboarding in a more traditional style."
The name Karina Rozunko is synonymous with stylish, flowing, traditional longboarding. The Californian is another surfer who has taken a few years away from competing at WSL events but has been drawn back in by the lure of good waves and classic longboarding. Rozunko revelled in the long-running walls of First Point, progressing in second place, rewarded for time on the nose and cross stepping through the critical sections.
"It's cool to be back competing especially at a place like Noosa," Rozunko said. "I've always enjoyed competing but to know now, I can do it in the way I like to, is pretty awesome. Having a number of events to decide a World Longboard Champion is really exciting and I think it's about time and so good that the WSL are putting more focus into this style of surfing. I'm excited to see how I go over the next few days and how everyone surfs in this beautiful part of the world."
Known more for his raw talent and pure style on surf crafts of all shapes and sizes than for his competitive exploits, Noosa local Harrison Roach was an unexpected but exciting name to see in the draw at the Noosa Longboard Open. Having not competed at a WSL event for nearly 10 years, Roach saw an event in his backyard along with criteria that looked to suit his style of surfing as the perfect excuse to don the jersey and try to make a few heats. Making heats is exactly what he did as he surfed his way through the opening three rounds with some epic performances.
"It was always a drawcard having this event in my backyard but seeing there was a new Longboard Director and maybe some adjustments to the criteria definitely pricked my interest," Roach said. "I don't think the criteria is looking for a ‘traditional' or ‘logging' style I think it's just good longboarding. It's cool to have everyone here and have a bit on the line and a good result here would definitely have me consider travelling to the other stops. It's a shame the swell that we've had for the last six weeks is on the way out but there is still some great surf on offer with sections that allow interesting cross stepping and some functional nose rides which are all we can hope for."
Another local competitor who fared well on Day 1 was Nick Jones. Jones had his first professional competitive surfing experience at First Point when it was an LQS event and he was still a young teenager. Now, almost a decade on, Jones is a regular fixture at WSL World Longboard Championships and is pleased to see the direction longboarding is taking in 2019, which was punctuated with a heat win on Day 1 of competition.
"Getting to share my home break with the best longboarders in the world is such an honour," Jones said. "There is a fair bit of pressure to perform with all of my friends and family down here, so I'm stoked to have had a win. This revamped Longboard Tour is really exciting especially kicking it all off at a spectacular longboarding wave like this. Having a number of different style waves to allow us all to showcase our surfing style at points, reefs and beach breaks means that we will have the most well-rounded competitor crowned World Champion which is super exciting."
Other notable heat winner's included local favourite Josh Constable, along with Troy Mothershead, Lola Mignot, Ashley Ahina, Megan Godinez and Tully White. A special mention must go to Hawaiian Kaniela Stewart and Aussie Clinton Guest as the pair posted the highest heat totals of the opening day.