There are many surfers across the men's and women's draws who currently have a chance to become the 2021 WSL World Longboard Champion at the Jeep® Malibu Classic presented by Havaianas.
Among them is the godfather of modern longboarding, Joel Tudor. If Tudor secured a third title, he would be -- at 45 -- the oldest surfer to become a World Champion. Tudor is already a two-time World Longboarding Champion, with wins in 1998, and 2004.
Tudor, mentored by Donald Takayama, Skip Frye and Nat Young, has been the standard bearer for classic longboard style for decades now. While longboarding has undergone a renaissance through a generation of young stylists who grew up watching him and his mentors surf, he's been pushing the benefits of this particular form of surfing more akin to dancing than athletics, even through periods when it wasn't as widely appreciated.
Tudor needs a very strong result at Malibu to claim the title, but he's got more experience out there than anyone else in the field; in fact, his surfing has set the benchmark for performance at what is perhaps the best longboard wave on the planet.
Meanwhile, tour veteran Edouard Delpero is in with a solid chance at securing his first World Title after a win at the Cuervo Surf Ranch Classic. France's Delpero has been on the longboard tour for a decade, and the win at the Ranch was his 11th career victory.
Speaking of that new generation, there are several young surfers from the new wave of loggers who could also become 2021 WSL World Longboard Champion at First Point Malibu, the spiritual home of longboard surfing. The one who first comes to mind is defending World Champion Honolua Blomfield, who won the recent Cuervo Surf Ranch Classic, threading one of the best switchfoot barrels on record along the way. It's worth noting Blomfield already has two World Titles to her name.
But also in the new guard with a shot at winning is Kelis Kaleopaa, who won the Noosa Longboard Open as a 15-year-old wunderkind back in February 2020. Points from this event will be added to the two California events to decide the champion, after an 18-month covid-induced hiatus for longboard competition.
Blomfield and Kaleopaa will need to get past Malibu local Soleil Errico -- going for her second World Title -- who is in with a solid shot after a running-up finish at the Ranch. With local knowledge on her side, and one of the best all-round acts in longboarding, she's going to be tough to beat. In fact, at the Ranch she set the standard for the entire field -- Men's and Women's -- during Qualifying Rounds where she posted highest score by far at 8.90.
The event will run across October 11 and 12 with coverage beginning at 7:30 a.m PST. As each heat of the Jeep Malibu Classic progress, there will be multiple ways the World Title scenarios could play out, so to help you follow what could be, here's a full breakdown:
Women's World Title Contenders -- Honolua Blomfield, Kelis Kaleopaa, Soleil Errico, Avalon Gall, Chloe Calmon and Alice Lemoigne
- If Blomfield makes the final in Malibu she clinches the World Title.
- If Blomfield comes 3rd then Kaleopaa needs to win to clinch title and if Errico wins would tie with Blomfield.
- If Blomfield comes 5th then Kaleopaa needs 2nd to clinch title and Errico, Gail, Calmon, Lemoigne need 1st. Culhane would tie with Blomfield.
- If Blomfield comes 9th then Kaleopaa needs to be in 3rd to win, Errico, Gail, Calmon 2nd, Lemoigne, Culhane, Cohen, Taoka 1st. White would tie with Blomfield.
Men's World Title Contenders -- Edouard Delpero, Harrison Roach, Joel Tudor, Kai Sallas, Taylor Jensen and Kevin Skvarna
- If Delpero wins Malibu he clinches the World tilte.
- If Delpero comes 2nd then Roach, Tudor, Sallas need to win.
- If Delpero comes 3rd then Roach, Tudor need 2nd to win, Sallas would need 1st.
- If Delpero comes 5th then Roach, Tudor need 3rd to win, then Sallas needs 2nd, and Jensen needs 1st.
- If Delpero comes 9th then Roach, Tudor 5th, Sallas 3rd, Jensen 2nd.