Sawyer takes second spot at world champs

2016-12-15 06:02
Steven Sawyer (Jeffreys Bay) hangs 10 on his way to second place in the Jeep World Longboard Championships in Hainan, China on Sunday.               Photo: WSL/ HAIN

Steven Sawyer (Jeffreys Bay) hangs 10 on his way to second place in the Jeep World Longboard Championships in Hainan, China on Sunday. Photo: WSL/ HAIN

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JEFFREYS Bay surfer Steven Sawyer fi-nished runner-up to Brazilian Phil Rajzman in the final of the 2016 Jeep World Longboard Championship presented by Wanning at Riyue Bay on the Island Of Hainan in China on Sunday.

Sawyer started the final day of competition by defeating Rodrigo Sphaier (BRA) and Cole Robbins (USA) in Round 4, before overcoming the challenges of former world champion Harley Ingleby (AUS) in the quarters and Sphaier again in the semis in the inconsistent 1 – 1.2 metre waves.

Rajzman got off to a fast start in the final, posting a championship winning total of 17.34 on his first two rides. Sawyer opened his account with an excellent 8.50 for a series of critical nose rides and sweeping cutbacks, but was left chasing a score of 8.85 for the remainder of the 30 minute encounter.

Sawyer found some long set waves under priority, but couldn’t quite post the excellent score he needed, coming closest with a 7.93 on his penultimate ride. After finishing in last place in the 2015 event, to finish second in the world this year, is as good as a win for Sawyer.

“I am so stoked, I just can’t believe it,” Sawyer said. “There were a few things I could have done better in that heat to win, but I’m just as happy with second as I would have been had I won the thing. Every heat I made was just a bonus. When I made it to the fourth round I was ecstatic. Making it to the final I feel like I can go home and be proud forever.”

He earned R81 000 for his runner-up spot in China and will be seeded second at next year’s world longboard champs.

Sphaier and two-time World Longboard Champion Taylor Jensen (USA) finished in equal third in the world, while Matthew Moir was the next highest placed South African. A two-time ISA world longboard champion, Moir finished equal ninth overall in China after placing third in his Round 4 heat behind defending 2015 world champ Piccolo Clemente (PER) and Ingleby.

Tory Gilkerson (USA) clinched the Jeep Women’s World Longboard title on Saturday, defeating Brazilian prodigy Chloe Calmon in the final. South Africa’s Tarryn King (Muizenberg) finished 13th overall.

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