Home > Contests, Girls Surfing, Longboarding, WSL > Steven Sawyer Takes Runner-Up Spot as Phil Rajzman Wins Jeep World Longboard Title in China

Steven Sawyer Takes Runner-Up Spot as Phil Rajzman Wins Jeep World Longboard Title in China

December 11th, 2016
Steven Sawyer (Jeffreys Bay) hangs 10 on his way to second place in the Jeep World Longboard Championships in Hainan, China on Sunday.  Image: 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.  Image: WSL / Hain

– SA’s Matthew Moir Finishes 9th
– Tory Gilkerson (USA) Wins Women’s World Longboard Title
– More at WorldSurfLeague.Com & the WSL App

Riyue Bay, Wanning/China (Sunday, December 1, 2016) – South Africa’s Steven Sawyer (Jeffreys Bay) finished 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.

The South African 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 winning 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.”

The Jeffreys Bay resident is just as dynamic on a shortboard as he is on a longboard, winning a wildcard into the J-Bay Open Championship Tour event in his home town in July. He earned US $6 000 (approx. R81 000) for his runner-up spot in China and will be seeded second at next year’s world longboard champs.

Rajzman surfed a solid event but left his best performance till last, displaying huge commitment to nose rides and smooth flowing power turns. He made history in 2007 by becoming the first Brazilian World Longboard Champion and nine years later he has done it again.

“This does not feel real,” Rajzman said. “I feel like it won’t hit me properly for a few days. This event is so amazing because us Longboarders only catch up a few times a year and we are like a big family. Coming and seeing everyone is great and then to win and have all of this support is just unbelievable. I am just so happy.”

“In 2007 I was young and didn’t work too hard for it and didn’t think too much about winning the Title. This one is different – it’s nine years later and I have been working so hard to keep surfing at a high level. All of the work has paid off and it is so important to me, this is the greatest win of all.”

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.

For more information on the 2016 Jeep World Longboard Championships hosted by Wanning Province with support from Corona head to www.worldsurfleague.com or the WSL App


NOTE: Complimentary high resolution images and broadcast quality video footage are available on request for media outlets

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Email: cfitch@worldsurfleague.com

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