Caption: Ecstatic champions Chloe Calmon (BRA) and Emilien Fleury (FRA).
Credit: © WSL / Poullenot
PRAIA DE GAIA, Gaia - Portugal (Saturday, June 10, 2017) — Chloe Calmon (BRA), 22, and Emilien Fleury (FRA), 31, have claimed the 2017 Longboard Pro Gaia titles today in good two-to-three foot surf. The day started early with the quarterfinals on the outgoing tide and ran an uninterrupted six hours under the Portuguese sun to crown our event champions by the early afternoon.
Calmon and Rachael Tilly (USA), 19, took it to the lineup in the decreasing surf towards high-tide and suffered a relatively slow first half of their final, exchanging mostly average scores. The first exchange of consequence came at the 15-minute mark, with Calmon taking the nod, courtesy of a combination of hang-fives and tens for a 7.73 against Tilly’s 7.17.
The Brazilian quickly put an even bigger score on the board, an excellent 8.67 to stamp her authority and take the lead. Despite the Californian’s multiple efforts, Calmon’s lead was never questioned and the current leader on the World Longboard Tour walked away with the win.
“I feel really comfortable here, Portugal is like a second home to me,” Calmon stated. “This event was really challenging as conditions kept changing and the level of the girls was so high. Today it felt like a world tour event as I surfed against Rachael, Lindsay and Natsumi from Japan.”
Calmon, who won the first of two events counting for the World Longboard Championships, earlier this year in Papua New Guinea, is in a strong position to claim a maiden World Title when competitors head to Taiwan in November.
“I started doing the European leg last year cause there’s more events here and a very strong level,” she continued. “It seems more girls have chosen to do the same this year and it’s great to be able to compete against all of them and experience that level in competition in different conditions all year long. I hope pressure won’t be a problem leading up to the Taiwan event but I feel like I’m prepared well and I just want to go there and surf the best I can.”
The former World Longboard Champion, Tilly had a near-perfect road to the final, posting big score combinations, and eliminating current form European surfer Alice Lemoigne (REU) in the process. The San Clemente local placed runner-up and will build up her confidence levels before her next event in Newquay for the Boardmasters Women’s Longboard in August.
“I’ve been feeling good the whole week leading up to the event,” Tilly said. “Today, each heat has been different conditions wise. It was kind of hard to know where to sit and we basically surfed three different spots. It was not easy to catch the waves, but I still think I surfed well and I’m happy with my performance. In the next days I’m going to explore Portugal a little bit and then I’m going back to California. But I will come back soon to Europe as I will be competing in the last European LQS event.”
In the men’s final, perennial threat Edouard Delpero took on Emilien Fleury for a remake of their Boardmasters clash last season. The pair had a more consistent bout, with a lot of waves surfed including multiple high-scores.
At that game, Delpero found his rhythm quick and put two solid 8+ rides on the board to build a comfortable lead. Fleury didn’t back down and found his own 8.33 to stay in striking distance of the win. A long classic ride later, Fleury put an impressive 9.10 to flip the situation and put Delpero under-pressure for the first time in this event. Fleury proceeded to keep the former European champion off the best waves and eventually claimed his first-ever LQS event title.
“It’s awesome to get one over Edouard after our final in Newquay last year,” Fleury admitted. “I knew I’d maybe get one chance at a really big score, I got it and I like the way I surfed that wave, even with my backup board, so I’m stoked to get the win.”
With the win today and a fourth place in Caparica in April, Fleury moves into pole position on the European rankings, and for the first time stares down the barrel at a potential regional title. With one event left in Cornwall this summer, pressure builds between the French trio still in contention for the coveted European trophy.
“Fistral is weirdly very similar to my homespot of Hendaye and I get comfortable surfing there quite easily,” he added. “The vibe is great too so I really look forward to competing there again. I don’t think I’ll be feeling too much pressure, it’s more just excitement to be in this position for the first time.”
The Hendaye local had previously performed some of his best surfing in the opening semifinal to dispatch of Brazil’s powerhouse Rodrigo Sphaier and reach a career’s third final on the longboard qualifying series.
“I was really scared when Rodrigo literally smashed his last wave in the semifinal, I could see it from the back, and he put two massive turns, but I guess he didn’t get the score as he didn’t put any noseride. Last year I lost against Piccolo Clemente in the same kind of situation, in the last minute”
Edouard Delpero (FRA), 27, tried everything he could to overturn the heat but fell short on three occasions, scoring good scores but never quite the excellent 8.91 required. With a runner-up in Gaia, Edouard keeps his second place on the regional ranks, now tied with his brother Antoine leading up to the final event of 2017.
“Five minutes before the end, I made a mistake,” Delpero explained. “I had my two scores and I thought I could improve on an average wave, but I didn’t and he got the priority, that’s when he got his 9-point. I regret taking that one, but I surfed my waves and did my best. Emilien deserves this win. He’s been fighting for the last few events to take the title, and today he gets it, this is great”.
The Delperos clash in the semis was one of the most anticipated heats of the day as pressure between the two brothers had built up during the whole event. Edouard scored two near-perfect scores for an incredible heat total of 19 points. They are now tied in second place of the European rankings.
Before the final stop on the European LQS, the Boardmasters in England this August, the new regional Top 5 stands as follows:
Men’s European LQS Top 5:
1 - Emilien Fleury (FRA)
2 - Edouard Delpero (FRA)
2 - Antoine Delpero (FRA)
4 - Jack Unsworth (GBR)
5 - Alberto Fernandez (ESP)
Women’s European LQS Top 5:
1 - Alice Lemoigne (REU)
2 - Emily Currie (GBR)
3 - Kathleen Barrigao (PRT)
4 - Francesca Rubegni (ITA)
5 - Justine Dupont (FRA)
The Longboard Pro Gaia is scheduled from June 9-11, 2017 at Praia de Gaia, Gaia - Portugal. For all results, photos, video highlights and press releases, log on to worldsurfleague.com.
The Longboard Pro Gaia is organized by Portugal Ativo Club with the support of Câmara Municipal de Gaia, Águas de Gaia, Turismo do Porto e Norte, sponsored and suported by IPDJ, Freguesia de Canidelo, Novotel Gaia/Porto, Vitalis, Nelo Kayaks, SupDouro, Douro Academy, Malibu Surf School, with media partners Porto Canal, FuelTV, MegaHits, SurfPortugal, Surftotal and Onfire, O Gaiense among others; official forecaster magicseaweed.com.
LONGBOARD PRO GAIA MEN’S FINAL RESULTS:
1 - Emilien Fleury (FRA) 17.43
2 - Edouard Delpero (FRA) 16.60
LONGBOARD PRO GAIA WOMEN’S FINAL RESULTS:
1 - Chloe Calmon (BRA) 16.40
2 - Rachael Tilly (USA) 14.20
LONGBOARD PRO GAIA MEN’S SEMIFINAL RESULTS:
SF 1: Emilien Fleury (FRA) 15.77 def. Rodrigo Sphaier (BRA) 15.03
SF 2: Edouard Delpero (FRA) 19.00 def. Antoine Delpero (FRA) 16.60
LONGBOARD PRO GAIA WOMEN’S SEMIFINAL RESULTS:
SF 1: Chloe Calmon (BRA) 15.30 def. Lindsay Steinriede (USA) 13.07
SF 2: Rachael Tilly (USA) 15.34 def. Alice Lemoigne (REU) 13.33
LONGBOARD PRO GAIA MEN’S QUARTERFINAL RESULTS:
QF 1: Rodrigo Sphaier (BRA) 13.50 def. Jack Unsworth (GBR) 8.50
QF 2: Emilien Fleury (FRA) 15.63 def. Augusto Olinto (BRA) 14.53
QF 3: Antoine Delpero (FRA) 16.20 def. Federico Nesti (ITA) 10.30
QF 4: Edouard Delpero (FRA) 15.84 def. Alberto Fernandez (ESP) 10.56
LONGBOARD PRO GAIA WOMEN’S QUARTERFINAL RESULTS:
QF 1: Lindsay Steinriede (USA) 13.00 def. Emily Currie (GBR) 0.94
QF 2: Chloe Calmon (BRA) 15.24 def. Natsumi Taoka (JPN) 11.17
QF 3: Alice Lemoigne (REU) 10.76 def. Lucie Milochau (FRA) 6.97
QF 4: Rachael Tilly (USA) 16.40 def. Francesca Rubegni (ITA) 8.90