French surfers dominate ISA World Longboard Surfing Championship
Peru’s Benoit ‘Piccolo’ Clemente takes Men’s Gold, holding off the Delpero brothers.
Britain’s Ben Howey finishes fifth
After eight days of world-class longboarding in Biarritz, France, the host nation continued to dominate their home break to earn the Team Gold Medal at the 2019 ISA World Longboard Surfing Championship.
France was led by an powerful four-medal performance, highlighted by Alice’s Lemoigne’s Gold Medal victory in the Women’s Division. Lemoigne’s teammates Antoine and Edouard Delpero earned the Men’s Silver and Bronze respectively while Justine Dupont took the Women’s Silver.
The Team Gold Medal is the second for Team France, after they took the top honors as the 2013 edition of the event in Huanchaco, Peru.
“This is amazing,” said Lemoigne. “I’ve been dreaming of this since I was selected for the team. Today that dream came true.
“All my family and friends are here, which makes this very special.”
Following the two-time World Champions France were Team Peru with the Silver, USA with the Bronze, and Brazil with the Copper.
Peru’s Benoit ‘Piccolo’ Clemente, the 2018 Silver Medalist, earned his first ISA Gold Medal in the Men’s Division, needing a dramatic 7.7 ride to surpass France’s Delpero brothers and overtake the pole position.
“I am so happy that I can’t express all the happiness that I feel,” said Clemente. “I’ve been wanting to win this World Championship forever. I’ve competed in so many ISA events that I can’t even remember what number this one is. I’ve always dreamed of winning it.
“It was a difficult final. The Delpero brothers are incredible competitors and great friends of mine.”
Cole Robbins rounded out the Men’s medals with a Copper for USA.
Britains Ben Howey surfed through to the final, but was denied a place in the Grand Final by uncooperative waves in a stacked heat. It is his second fitth place in the ISA World longboard champs.
After the top finishing French women were Brazil’s Chloe Calmon with the Bronze and USA’s Soleil Errico with the Copper.
Calmon and Clemente were the respective women’s and men’s top finishers from the Americas, which solidified their qualification slots for Surfing’s debut in the Lima 2019 Pan American Games. Both athletes already held qualification slots, but since this event has the highest priority as a qualifier, they both will take the top seed for their gender divisions.
Sunday’s action kicked off at Côte des Basques in an increased swell that provided excellent conditions for the world’s best longboarders to show the elegant style and flow of the sport. The powerful waves allowed for an impressive twelve total scores in the 8+ excellent range to be obtained through the Repechage Rounds, Main Event Final, and Grand Final.
Facing off in the Women’s Final were France’s Lemoigne and Dupont against Brazil’s Calmon and USA’s Errico. Lemoigne’s silky smooth noseriding style earned her the only excellent score of the heat and the Gold Medal that caused the local crowd to erupt in cheers. USA’s Errico was looking for a wave in the dying minutes to move into the Gold Medal position, but in her haste, she was called for an interference that negated her second highest wave score and dropped her to the Copper Medal position. As a result, Dupont and Calmon finished in second and third respectively.
The Men’s Final followed with a star-studded lineup. The local brother duo of Antoine and Edouard Delpero were the favorites after scoring a seemingly endless amount of excellent scores all throughout the week at their local wave. The French brothers jumped out to an early lead, but the perfect medal finish for France was spoiled by Peru’s Clemente who backed up his near-perfect 9.83 wave with a 7.7 to take the lead in the dying minutes of the heat. The Delpero brothers were sent down a notch to the Silver and Bronze positions with USA’s Robbins trailing with Copper.
The Silver Medal for Antoine Delpero is his eighth ISA Medal. Delpero has won the Longboard Gold twice in 2009 and 2013 and Copper in 2011. Delpero also won ISA SUP Surfing Gold in 2012, Copper in 2013, and Bronze in 2014 and 2015.
During the Closing Ceremony, the President of the French Surfing Federation Jean-Luc Arassus, spoke in the name of ISA President Fernando Aguerre.
“On behalf of the ISA President, and the world surfing family, let me congratulate all the athletes and teams for an amazing week of surfing!” said Arassus.
“No doubt, Cote de Basques has delivered a great venue for world-class longboarding. But most importantly, you – the world’s best longboarders – have delivered a phenomenal competition that has exceeded all expectations.
“Congratulations to all the medalists and teams – but also to all the competitors here. Your performances have inspired us. You have represented your countries with honor and pride.
“So, when you return home – share our vision of hope and optimism with your friends and families and together, we will truly work to make the world a better place through surfing.”
Gold – Benoit Clemente (PER)
Silver – Antoine Delpero (FRA)
Bronze – Edouard Delpero (FRA)
Copper – Cole Robbins (USA)
5th Ben Howey GB
Gold – Alice Lemoigne (FRA)
Silver – Justine Dupont (FRA)
Bronze – Chloe Calmon (BRA)
Copper – Soleil Errico (USA)
Gold – FRA
Silver – PER
Bronze – USA
Copper – BRA
5 – AUS
6 – GBR
7 – JPN
8 – RSA
9 – ARG
10 – POR