Taylor Jensen: victory lap

Kai Sallas has won the Bear Pro and Taylor Jensen took the 2011 ASP World Longboard Tour title. After a long flat period, the best longboarders in the world have finally put an end to the Levanto curse, in Italy.

In the a high-scoring final held in small 1-2ft waves, at the back up site of Andora, 180kms NW of the main event site in Levanto, Sallas scored 17.17 points against Jensen's 13.50 points.

"I haven’t got it all in yet but I will feel pretty good tonight for sure," began Jensen. "I was stressed out. I’ve been stressed out all week with running or not running so we got into the event and it is a relief. In the last couple of minutes he (Silvagni) needed a 9 and the conditions were tough. I mean Kai (Sallas) got a 9.5 in the heat before but it is very hard to get one. As long as I didn’t let him get a good wave I was okay. I just held on and it worked."

"Those were the most stressful last five minutes of my life," continued Jensen. "It is over now so I can sort of relax. I have been doing this since I was 17 and I’ve come really close before so finally to put it away is a good one for sure."

Jensen was aware of the importance of his title win on Italian soil and made special mention of the town of Levanto and to the many victims of recent flooding which had devastated the area prior to the event starting. The official handing over of the ASP WLT World Champion trophy was held in Levanto with all competitors returning to participate in the celebrations.

"Just to be in Italy is pretty amazing in itself and the first event here as well so it is insane. To be the first World champ crowned in Italy is amazing so stoked with that. It is really special to have the celebration in Levanto after all they have been through and the tragedy that they have had. To go back there is really important and to crown the champion there will be a very special moment."

Kai Sallas claimed his second ASP WLT victory with the Bear Pro presented by Jeep win and finished 2nd on the 2011 WLT rankings with a convincing performance over newly crowned WLT champion Taylor Jensen. Refocusing on the event victory when his World title hopes were dashed after the semi-finals, Sallas showed his superiority with an amazing display of technical nose rides and high speed turns in the small conditions.

"It was a final full of mixed emotions. I had a slight chance to win the title if Taylor didn’t make it. I lost that opportunity right before the final so I had to shake it off and just focus on the heat. Some good waves came through and the waves stuck around the whole event. Within that half hour final I managed to get two good scores so it worked out good. It is the second WLT event I have won in my career and still no title, (laughs) but I’ll keep trying. I’m super glad we got to run the contest and to come away with the win. I was stressed out if they were going to run so to win is just amazing."

The Bear Pro presented by Jeep had been riddled with nine straight lay days after a huge swell was on offer prior to the start official waiting period. Sallas was on hand to witness the quality and experience the power of waves in Levanto.

"They weren’t just lay days, they were days with absolutely no surf," stated Sallas about the beginning of the waiting period. "All the 32 competitors had not surfed until yesterday. We were definitely kept busy but a lot of us were real shaky coming into this so to keep a good focus to compete was pretty hard. Here in the Mediterranean Sea a lot of people don’t really think of surfing in Italy but there are some great waves here. The first days we showed up in Levanto the place is amazing. A beautiful bay and the waves were legitimate barrels. A few of us Hawaiians broke boards and it was so much fun but unfortunately it went flat. Levanto is amazing and Italy is beautiful."

ASP WLT Bear Pro presented by Jeep Final
Kai Sallas (HAW) 17.17 Def. Taylor Jensen (USA) 13.50

ASP WLT Bear Pro presented by Jeep Semi-final Results
Heat 1: Kai Sallas (HAW) 16.17 Def. Eduardo Bage (BRA) 12.83
Heat 2: Taylor Jensen (USA) 14.66 Def. Tony Silvagni (USA) 10.37