Large Swell Provides Huge Day of Action on Day 4 of the 2023 Surf City El Salvador ISA World Longboard Championship

May 11th, 2023

Zoe Grospiron joins teammate Edouard Delpero in keeping France with highest numbers for second day in a row

Rogelio Esquievel Jr’s performances highlight strong representation from Team Philippines

Buzzer beater keeps Liv Stokes (CAN) in medal contention as she moves through Repechage Rounds

Beautiful lines of clean 6-8 foot swell marched along the point at El Sunzal for the fourth day of competition in the 2023 Surf City El Salvador ISA World Longboard Championship (WLC). Main Round 4 in both Men’s and Women’s divisions was completed, along with Women’s Repechage Round 3 and Men’s Repechage Round 2 and 3.

At the end of the day five teams remain fully intact. Powerhouse nations Brazil, France, Peru and the United States each sit in equal first place on the rankings, along with newcomers Team Philippines.

Ana Camila Kaspar, Team Peru. Photo: Pablo Jimenez

Early high scores in Women’s Main Round 3 came from Chloe Calmon (BRA) and AnaCamila Kaspar (PER) before Maria Fernanda Reyes (PER) and Alice Le Moigne (FRA) put on a highlight reel in Heat 3 as they traded 8-point rides. It was Zoe Grospiron (FRA) however who capitalized on the conditions to deliver the best surfing of the Women’s division today. 

Utilizing full rail turns, combined with committed nose-rides, Grospiron was able to keep her team on top for the second day running. The newest member to Team France closed out her heat with an 8.83, the highest single wave score of the event in the Women’s division.

“It’s my first time doing the ISA and to experience this, so I’m taking this advantage for me to grow my surfing,” Grospiron said. “Seeing my teammates have the best scores of the day and beautiful waves, this makes me more confident and I want to be a part of that.”

Men’s Main Round 3 was full of stacked heats, but it was Heat 2 featuring Julian Schweizer (URU), Cole Robbins (USA), Antoine Delpero (FRA) and Sam Christianson (RSA) that proved the most competitive. A quiet ocean meant no waves were caught for the first 10 minutes, but non-stop action followed for the final 15 minutes. When the heat ended each surfer was waiting on a score and with just two points separating all four competitors, it was Delpero and Christianson who progressed.

In the following heat Edouard Delpero (FRA) opened with a 9-point ride for the second day in a row before adding an 8.17 for a 17.17 heat total, once again giving him the highest heat total of the day.

Rogelio Esquievel Jr., Team Philippines. Photo: Pablo Franco

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.

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