One of the surprise packages of this year’s WLC has been the strength of Team Philippines, though it should have been expected. The Philippines has a long, rich history of longboarding and a deep culture of great surfers, especially in La Union, home of three of the four athletes on the team.
Leading the charge is Rogelio Esquievel Jr., who continues his run in the Men’s Main Round, along with Aping Agudo in the Women’s, while teammates Jomarie Ebueza and Daisy Valdez move through the Repechage.
“We are so stoked to come here and represent our country,” Esquievel said. “We have been dreaming about this and we are happy now that we are here. This will really improve surfing in the Philippines, especially for us who compete here against the big names.”
On top of performing in the WLC for the first time, the team are hopeful for qualification in the upcoming Bali 2023 ANOC World Beach Games. “It would be really nice to represent the Philippines in Bali,” Esquievel continued. “It will be a big achievement for us, especially because it’s the first time. We would be so happy if we get to qualify for it.”
An interference in Women’s Main Round 2 unexpectedly sent Liv Stokes (CAN) to the Repechage Rounds where she narrowly missed elimination today, on the back of a last second buzzer beater. Stokes was thrilled to keep her WLC medal hopes alive after coming into the event with high expectations as one of four women provisionally qualified for the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games.
“Going into Santiago 2023, I’m super stoked about that,” Stokes said. “I tried to qualify for Lima back in 2019 but I unfortunately was knocked out in the first round and that was really hard for me. So it’s been really good knowing that all my hard work paid off. I’m excited for the future.”
Just three men in contention for Santiago 2023 remain in the Main Round. Provisionally qualified Carlos Bahia (BRA) has fellow teammate Rodrigo Sphaier (BRA) hot in his heels, while Benoit ‘Piccolo’ Clemente, who is also provisionally qualified, leads the charge for Peru. Many are progressing through Repechage however, including host nation El Salvador’s Amado Alvarado, and the women’s competition is also still wide open.
Competition will resume tomorrow at 7:30am CST with Men’s Main Round 4.