High-Profile Match-Ups Define Day 4 of the 2024 Surf City El Salvador ISA World Longboard Championship

April 23rd, 2024

Edouard Delpero (FRA) delivers event-high numbers in iconic clash against 2019 World Champion Benoit ‘Piccolo’ Clemente (PER) and Australia’s Declan Wyton

Honolua Blomfield (HAW) finds excellence while back-to-back defending Gold Medalist Alice Le Moigne (FRA) is relegated to repechage

Surf City El Salvador – April 23, 2024

Beautiful, clean four-to-six foot lines of swell set the stage for an incredible day of longboard surfing that saw high-profile match-ups deliver a full day of exciting action at Surf City El Salvador’s El Sunzal. Main Event Round 3 was completed in both men’s and women’s divisions, while women’s Repechage Rounds 2 and 3 and men’s Repechage Rounds 3 and 4 were also held.

Four teams maintain their status on top of the rankings, each with four surfers still in the draw. France, Brazil and the Philippines are tied with Japan, who has the strongest advantage as the only nation with all four surfers continuing in the Main Event.

Declan Wyton, Team Australia / Photo: Jersson Barboza

The heat of the event so far featured 2023 Bronze Medalist Edouard Delpero (FRA), 2019 Gold Medalist Benoit ‘Piccolo’ Clemente (PER) and WSL Longboard Tour standout Declan Wyton (AUS). The surfers capitalized on the incredible morning conditions, showcasing an impressive range of rail and nose work. The heat totals from all three were amongst the highest of the event so far, with each posting scores well into the excellent range, including the highest single wave score of the event so far (9.23) and highest heat total (17.40) from heat winner Delpero. After a long wait on the sand for final scores, Wyton advanced in second, just 0.03 ahead of Clemente, who was relegated to repechage.

Delpero was able to find his event-high score on the second wave of a set, directly behind Wyton, who took the first wave, in a tense final exchange that left Clemente sitting alone in the lineup with over two minutes left on the clock.

“It was supposed to be a hard heat for sure on paper, but in the water I really know Declan and Piccolo well and I know what they are able to do on the waves,” Delpero said. “I got lucky on the last exchange that flipped to me in a really good position. I knew there was a second one, I was just trying to see what Declan would do and let him make his choice and then when he started paddling I knew there was something bigger behind and hopefully not a third one, you know, just to make sure you close the heat like this. Then when I saw the wave I knew there was a potential line so I’m stoked to surf it through and make the score.”

Multiple strong heats filled out the rest of men’s Main Event Round 3, with highlights coming from Japan’s Kai Hamase and Taka Inoue, along with Kaniela Stewart (HAW), 2023 Copper Medalist Rogelio Esquievel Jr (PHI), and 2010 World Champion Rodrigo Sphaier (BRA).

Honolua Blomfield, Team Hawaii / Photo: Pablo Jimenez

A challenging bump arrived during the women’s Main Event Round 3 heats, making it hard to find high scores. For the most part experience paid off as 2013 Open Junior Gold Medalist Honolua Blomfield (HAW), 2023 Silver Medalist Maria Fernanda Reyes (PER), 2013 Silver Medalist Rachael Tilly (USA) and 2018 Copper Medalist Natsumi Taoka (JPN) each took heat wins. The exception was back-to-back defending champion Alice Le Moigne (FRA), who was sent to repechage after a strong performance from Sive Jarrard (ASA) saw Le Moigne knocked into third place after the buzzer by Reyes and Jarrard.

Blomfield, the three-time WSL Longboard Champion, found the best of the day, expertly navigating the conditions to earn an 8.00, the highest single wave score for the women, as well as the highest heat total, 12.83.

“I feel like I definitely tend to deal with conditions like these at home,” Blomfield said. “I’ve had to just go for it a lot of my life at Pipeline, for instance, or Pupukea, the big sandbars. I try to go out as big as possible, so I’m used to the bump and backwash. But that was a challenge out there I’ve got to say. I love (competing in the ISA). I think it’s a really cool aspect of team surfing, we don’t get that most of the year. I got the call and I was like, ‘Oh my god, yes, I’ll go, of course.’”

Blomfield’s teammate Kelis Kaleopa’a was the first to be eliminated from the exceptionally strong Team Hawaii. The 2023 WSL World Title runner-up, Kaleopa’a was knocked out in the first heat of the day along with Germany’s Mascha Trietsch by veteran Filipino competitor Daisy Valdez and Mexico’s 16-year-old rising star Coral Bonilla. Bonilla styled her way across the first ride of the day, a large set wave that delivered her multiple critical nose-ride sections to earn a 7.33. Valdez also found a solid set wave, earning an even better 7.40 to take the heat win, the pair moving into Repechage Round 4.

Santiago 2023 Pan American Games Bronze Medalist Lia Diaz (CRC) also found a critical heat win to continue in repechage, as did Emily Currie (ENG) and Anne Albers (NED).

Competition will continue Wednesday April 24 at 7 a.m. local time El Salvador live on isasurf.org.

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