The 2021 WSL Longboard World Champions are about to be decided at perhaps the most heritage-rich longboard wave in the world, Malibu. The Jeep® Malibu Classic presented by Havaianas will feature the Longboard Tour's Top 18 men and Top 18 women -- and a lot of the surfers are in contention to take home the Title.
This follows hot on the heels of the recent Cuervo Surf Ranch Classic, won by tour veteran Edouard Delpero and defending World Champion Honolua Blomfield, which itself broke an 18-month covid-related hiatus for the Longboard Tour.
Points for these two California events will be combined with points earned at the Noosa Longboard Open from February of 2020 to determine the 2021 WSL Longboard World Champions. After such a long break, its fitting the World Champions will be decided at Malibu.
A world-class wave, it's had to imagine a better venue for combining high and tight noserides with traditional longboard turns that engage a large part of the board's rail in and around the Bu's perfectly formed pockets. On top of that, it's a major star in the galaxy of surf history, a name synonymous with the evolution of surfboards and the development of surf culture in the collective imagination.
There are spots which have an outsized impact on surfing -- the North Shore of Oahu, in Hawaii, or Queensland's Gold Coast, but when it comes to longboarding, which is now undergoing a renaissance care of a new generation coming up through the Longboard Tour, there's none bigger than Malibu. It's the spiritual home of logging.
Malibu is the quintessential right-hand point, perfectly shaped over thousands of years by the outflow of the Malibu Creek system, with waves breaking on cobblestone reef and sand.
The wave can be divided into First Point, Second Point and Third Point, with the best waves found at First Point. Malibu offers good protection from northwest winds, meaning when there's a good south swell running, there are waves all day long. This is part of the reason First Point is the most popular, as it has the best protection from the prevailing afternoon winds.
The best swell direction for Malibu is south, or southwest, generally created by large storms in the Southern Hemisphere. Though a west-southwest swell can also be good.
Really, the only thing that some might not like about Malibu is its notorious crowds, but that's all part of the fun. It's been crowded since the '60s, thanks in no small part to the wild popularity of the film "Gidget," which showcased surfing to a whole new audience, many of whom wanted to get in on the action.
The Longboard Tour format for the Jeep Malibu Classic pres. by Havaianas will see six Rounds of competition.
Round 1 will feature three surfers in six heats, with the top two spots advancing through to Round 3. The last-place finishers of Round 1 will be relegated to the first elimination heats in Round 2.
Competitors who survive elimination will join the head-to-head matchups in Round 3, where the top surfer advances into the Quarterfinals, Semifinals, and Finals.
The events will include the Longboard Tour's Top 18 men and Top 18 women. Due to the previous season's cancellations, there will be no wildcards featured in these events -- although cancellations and travel restrictions for athletes may open spots for the next surfer on the rankings.
The Top 10 surfers at this season's end will requalify for the 2022 Longboard Tour, while places 11 through 18 will need to earn their spots through regional events.
Surfers to keep an eye out for include defending World Champion Honolua Blomfield, who after winning at The Ranch, is in with a great shot of another title. Still, she'll need to get past surfers such as Soleil Errico, who pushed her in Lemoore, or Kelis Kaleopaa, who also has a win to her name this season.
The winner of the men's Cuervo Surf Ranch Classic, Delpero, can claim his first World Title at Malibu, but there's a few contenders with a pathway, including the veteran, Joel Tudor -- a surfer who inspired the new crop of young logging talent on the Tour.
After more than 15 years, Tudor won his first event at Noosa a year and a half ago, and with points from that event counting for this season -- and with Tudor the benchmark for surfing at Malibu -- he will be a strong contender. Also in the mix are Harrison Roach, Kai Sallas, Kevin Skvarna and Taylor Jensen.
The Jeep® Malibu Classic presented by Havaianas will be broadcast LIVE on WorldSurfLeague.com and the free WSL app. Also, check local listings for coverage from the WSL's broadcast partners. The event will take place over two days between October 3 and 13.
Jeep Malibu Classic presented by Havaianas Competitors
Honolua Blomfield (HAW)
Chloe Calmon (BRA)
Alice Lemoigne (FRA)
Lindsay Steinriede (USA)
Tully White (AUS)
Kirra Seale (HAW)
Sally Cohen (HAW)
Zoe Grospiron (FRA)
Kelia Moniz (HAW)
Soleil Errico (USA)
Kelis Kaleopa'a (HAW)
Ophelie Ah-Kouen (REU)
Mahina Akaka (HAW)
Natsumi Taoka (JPN)
Avalon Gall (USA)
Sophia Culhane (HAW)
Haley Otto (HAW)
Keani Canullo (HAW)
Justin Quintal (USA)
Rodrigo Sphaier (BRA)
Taylor Jensen (USA)
Kaniela Stewart (HAW)
Kai Sallas (HAW)
Steven Sawyer (ZAF)
Harrison Roach (AUS)
Tony Silvagni (USA)
Ben Skinner (GBR)
Edouard Delpero (FRA)
Lucas Garrido Lecca (PER)
Taka Inoue (JPN)
Cole Robbins (USA)
Jefson Silva (BRA)
Phil Rajzman (BRA)
Joel Tudor (USA)
Kevin Skvarna (USA)
Augusto Olinto (BRA)