- 16 March 2009 | Surfing
The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) North America Longboard Qualifying Series (LQS) saw three-time ASP World Longboard Champion Colin McPhillips (San Clemente, CA), 33, claim the ASP LQS 1-Star Costa Del Mar Pro this afternoon in peaky three-to-four foot (1 metre) surf at Ninth Street in Huntington Beach over Hawaiian talent Kai Sallas (Honolulu, HI), 27.
The ASP LQS North American regional series allows the nation’s top two performers to qualify for the prestigious ASP World Longboard Tour (WLT) the following year where each surfer strives to earn the title of ASP World Longboard Champion.
McPhillips claimed the event by smashing the Final’s highest single wave score of an 8.33 out of a possible 10 with three massive backside carves on a steep Huntington Beach lefthander. The former champ followed up with a second solid score, which proved to be enough to take out the win over Sallas.
“That one wave was the best wave I caught all day,” McPhillips said. “I caught one wave and got a low score and decided I was going to wait until I got a good one and luckily that set came through, it was the only good wave in the heat.”
Although bumpy afternoon conditions were not ideal for longboarding, McPhillips was able to capitalize on the best waves over his tough competitor.
“I haven’t surfed that many heats in a long time,” McPhillips said. “It was really bumpy and tough and there was tons of current, so I’m beat, but I’m happy with the win and it’s a great start to the year.”
Sallas smashed some of the day’s highest scores in earlier heats, but was unable to find a rhythm in the Final and could not uncover the scores needed to overtake McPhillips.
“I didn’t have to wait more than two-minutes to catch a wave all day and in the Final I just felt like it shut off,” Sallas said. “I just could not get into rhythm out there.”
Sallas is now looking to utilize the joint ratings between ASP North America and ASP Hawaii in the longboarding division to keep a top Hawaiian seed.
“It’s great that we have these events because we don’t have any in Hawaii,” Sallas said. “This way I can sharpen my competitive skills. Coming over to California to compete is good for me because all of my sponsors are here. I feel like I live here half of the year.”
Local Huntington Beach Longboarder Josh Mohr (Huntington Beach, CA), 33, entered the contest via a last-minute entry and surfed his way through to the Semifinals. Mohr utilized his local knowledge to oust current ASP WLT veteran Josh Baxter (San Clemente, CA), 38, on the way to his third place finish.
“At least there are waves and it’s always good to do well at home,” Mohr said. “ I just couldn’t find a rhythm out there against Colin (McPhillips), but I’m still happy to get the year off to a good start.”
Steve Newton (San Clemente, CA), 22, also donated a strong performance at North America’s ASP LQS season opener, working his way through to the Semifinals where he fell short of a Final berth to Sallas. The stylish longboarder is hoping he can continue to contribute solid results throughout the entire season in order to reach his goal of qualifying for the ASP WLT in 2010.
“I wanted to start the year off strong because I really want to finish within the top two on the North American series this year so I can qualify for the WLT,” Newton said. “I’m going to focus on doing all of the regional contest this year, so hopefully I’ll qualify.”
The next ASP LQS contest will be the PLA 1-Star in Ventura from April 24-26, 2009
Costa Del Mar Pro Results:
1 – Colin McPhillips (USA) 11.50
2 – Kai Sallas (HAW) 6.00