Champions crowned in Noosa longboard open
IT MAY may have been 16 years since his last triumph, but Joel Tudor has declared he’s back on the hunt for a third world title after taking out the Noosa Longboard Open.
The 43-year-old legend of the longboard scene revealed little had been lost since his 1998 and 2004 titles, matching it with athletes more than half his age throughout the four-day event to eventually be crowned champion on Tuesday after a thrilling decider with fellow Californian Kevin Skvarna.
He won with a score of 12.86 to Skvarna’s 12.77 and was now “100 per cent” fixing his sights on a tilt for the overall tour crown.
“The last time I made an ASP or WSL final was in 2004 when I won the world title,” he said.
“I actually came here to scout talent for my events (Duct Tape Tour) that are coming up.
“I’ve ended up winning so I’m going to try and go for a third world title.”
Tudor was especially ecstatic to take out the event in front of his children.
“It’s just cool because my kids are here, that’s the biggest gift of them all, the fact that they got to see their dad (win),” he said.
“As you get older your kids just look at the trophies on the mantle and you go ‘back in the day you should’ve seen your dad’ but today they got to see their dad.”
He savoured his battle with Skvarna in the decider.
“It was crazy because it just kept going back and forth – it’s one thing when you’re leading but it was (to and fro) and those are the kind of finals that you want,” he said.
It’s not the first time Tudor has triumphed on Noosa breaks, having taken out the Noosa men’s logger pro back-to-back in 1999 and 2000.
Noosa’s Harrison Roach was the best place local, making it into the Round of 8.
A solid member of the huge pool of talent coming out of Hawaii on the WSL Longboard Tour is 14-year-old Sophia Culhane who came to Noosa this year to compete in her first-ever WSL event.
Culhane was the most surprised when she earned her spot in the final, with good friend Kelis Kaleopaa.
Although she finished short of the event win, the new world number two leaves Noosa as a leader of the huge pack of surfing talent, representing Hawaii on the 2020 WSL Longboard Tour.
“I can’t believe I’m number two in the world at the moment,” Culhane said.
“That’s not what I was expecting this week. I couldn’t have done it without all of the support of my Waikiki family who has been cheering me on from the beach all week.
“Surfing a final with Kelis was so amazing. She is such an amazing surfer and I’m so happy that she got the win. She deserves it so much. I can’t wait for the year ahead — I’m so stoked.”