Steven Sawyer Wins WSL World Longboard Championships in Taiwan

Steven Sawyer Wins WSL World Longboard Championships in Taiwan

Jinzun Harbour, Taitung/Taiwan (Sunday, December 2, 2018) – South African Steven Sawyer (ZAF) has won the 2018 World Surf League (WSL) World Longboard Championship at the Taiwan Open of Surfing, defeating longboarding legend  Kai Sallas (HAW) in clean, one metre waves at Jinzun Harbour in Taitung, Taiwan.

The 24-year-old from Jeffreys Bay was on fire all event but saved his best performances for the final day, posting excellent heat totals in all three heats, including a near-perfect 9.50 (out of 10) single wave score in the semi-finals, the highest of the entire event. Sawyer’s combination of traditional and progressive longboarding manoeuvres was impeccable as he went one better than his runner-up finish at the 2016 World Longboard Championship.

“2016 was my second year at the World Championships and I don’t think I was ready or prepared to win — This year I was definitely ready,” Sawyer said. “I still pinch myself when I surf against guys like Kai (Sallas), Taylor (Jensen) and Harley (Ingleby), They are all my heroes so competing against them is surreal.

“I was watching Kai all week and he was looking to be the guy to beat so when I came up against him in the final I was really nervous. It was all good though, as I had such an incredible crew cheering me on from the beach that got me really pumped up to perform.”

Sawyer, who is also an accomplished shortboard competitor having won a WSL Qualifying Series (QS) event and earning a wildcard into the 2017 J-Bay Open Championship Tour event, was competing on a surfboard shaped by his father, Des Sawyer, that seemed to suit the waves of Taiwan perfectly. He now joins a select group of South African born WSL World Champions that includes Shaun Thompson, Wendy Botha, Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker and Jordy Smith (Junior)..

“My dad has been shaping me incredible boards recently and they worked so well all event. This is my second time to Taiwan and it is such an amazing place with amazing waves, I think it’s the best surf trip I have ever done — Now it’s become even more special for me,” said Sawyer, who had the massive crowd supporting him on the beach erupting every time he caught a wave, making the atmosphere electric.

Kai Sallas was obviously despondent after coming just short of the title once again. In his 15th year of competing at the World Longboard Championships, a maiden title continues to elude him. Regardless of his runner-up finish, the Hawaiian will remain as one of the icons of modern longboarding.

“To make it all the way to the final and then lose never feels good — it really hurts,” Sallas said. “I feel like I was surfing so well all event and then just lost my rhythm in the final. I’ve been competing for a World title for 15 years now and come really close a few times. I think maybe next year I won’t be taking it as seriously as I do because it hits you harder when you don’t win. I’m happy for Steven and his win, but I’m definitely hurting.”

On his way to the final, Sawyer took down the reigning three-time WSL World Longboard Champion Taylor Jensen (USA) in their semi-final encounter and former Taiwan Open winner Tony Silvagni (USA) in the quarter-finals.

Sawyer’s fellow WSL Africa representatives in the Men’s and Women’s World Longboard Championships were eliminated earlier in the event with Sam Christianson (Durban) advancing to Round 3 before ending his debut campaign in equal 13th place overall. Alfonzo Pieters (Muizenberg) and Chrystal Hulett (St Francis Bay) were both ousted in Round 2  with Pieters finishing equal 25th in the men’s event and Hulett equal 13th among the women in her maiden world title event.

The 2018 Taiwan Open of Surfing will continue on Monday with the WSL World Junior Surfing Championships now that longboard champions have been crowned. This is the first year in WSL history that the Junior and Longboard Champions will be crowned at the same event. The best 18-and-under surfers in the world will do battle for the chance to join the historic winner’s list that features the likes of Andy Irons (HAW), Joel Parkinson (AUS), Adriano De Souza (BRA), Jordy Smith (ZAF), Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS), Laura Enever (AUS) and many more.

The WSL Africa regional representatives include Luke Slijpen (Hout Bay), Max Elkington (Kommetjie), Eli Beukes (Kommetjie) and Luke Thompson (Durban) in the junior men’s event while Kai Woolf (Jeffreys Bay) and Zoe Steyn (East London ) will be challenging for the junior women’s title.

Round 1 of both the men and the women are expected to start at 7:00 am local time (12 midnight Sunday night, South African time). The WSL World Junior Surfing Championships run from 3 – 9 December

All the action from the Taiwan Open of Surfing can watched live at and on the Free WSL App. Head there for more information, images, highlights and results.

Taiwan Open World Longboard Championship Men’s Final Results:

1: Steven Sawyer (ZAF) 16.10
2. Kai Sallas (HAW) 15.10

Taiwan Open World Longboard Championship Men’s Semi-final Results:

SF1: Steven Sawyer (ZAF) 16.10 DEF. Taylor Jensen (USA) 12.96
SF2: Kai Sallas (HAW) 15.80 DEF. Cole Robbins (USA) 15.10

Taiwan Open World Longboard Championship Men’s Quarter-final Results:

QF1: Steven Sawyer (ZAF) 14.76 DEF. Tony Silvagni (USA) 12.94
QF21: Taylor Jensen (USA) 14.23 DEF. Harley Ingleby (AUS) 13.57
QF3: Kai Sallas (HAW) 16.33 DEF. Edouard Delpero (FRA) 12.83
QF4: Cole Robbins (USA) 14.67 DEF. Antoine Delpero (FRA) 12.36

SRC: WSL / Life’s a Beach Communications

La Muse Longboard Surfing Classic to Celebrate Womenhood at Muizenberg next Weekend

La Muse Longboard Surfing Classic to Celebrate Womenhood at Muizenberg next Weekend

Img: Taryn King displays the form that makes her one of the top seeds in the La Muse Classic at Muizenberg on 11 and 12 August. Photo: Ian Thurtell

The second annual La Muse Classic women’s longboard surfing event will be staged at Muizenberg next weekend to celebrate womanhood, the ocean and community.

Featuring several of the country’s top female longboard stars such as Taryn King, Mia Baard and Marishka Diebold, the event also encourages women of all ages, backgrounds and varying capabilities, who might otherwise feel intimidated to surf in a regular surfing contest, to come together to enjoy and share a common love for the ocean.

As the name ‘La Muse’ suggests, the event promotes the concept that surfing is more than a mere competitive sport but a ‘source of inspiration’. It is this element of ‘stoke’ that has inspired this fun-filled ladies event which seeks to introduce competitive women’s’ surfing in a fun, friendly and easy-going environment.

In honour of women’s month, each day will commence at 7:30am with a yoga session to salute the sun while a range of body products from the Skoon pamper tent, sunscreen from Back to Nature and a The Store pop-up shop available throughout each day.

“The energy of sisterhood at the La Muse Classic is intoxicating,” says Chio Moulang, CEO of The Store. “Our aim is to present an event that ticks all the girly boxes. This collective of like-minded women have come together to surf, dance, shop, get pampered and try save the world”.

As daughters of Mother Nature, the La Muse Classic is partnering with Ocean to make this year’s contest a ‘Blue Ocean Event’.  Waste management is a top priority and partnerships with Faithful-to-Nature,

Rolling Wood, Bootleggers, Expressions on the Beach and Hang Ten Cafe will ensure that the contest remains single-use plastic-free.

Beach Co-Op will be doing their monthly beach clean-up during the event and Waste-Ed will be demonstrating how to pack EcoBricks so that the plastic found on the beach can be used for social upliftment purposes.

In addition to protecting the environment, La Muse will be giving back to the community as well by collaborating with “The Young Knitters Club of Lavender Hill”, an NPO that empowers women with opportunities for education and employment. Each contestant will receive a hand knitted beanie that is sponsored by ‘Seven’.

The La Muse Classic runs on Saturday and Sunday, 11 and 12 August at Muizenberg Corner and the event will culminate in an attempt to set a record for the ‘most women riding longboards on the same wave’.

For more information see

Check out the following channels to connect with La Muse:

Src: Life’s a Beach Communications

Riding waves, that’s all that matter

I’m glad to see that the more wave riding sports progress, the better different genres of the sport are getting along. Except SUP’s at the moment it seems. Bodyboarders and surfers (I happen to do both) seem to get along better than ever in terms of mutual respect. At least in Cape Town waters where I surf frequently. (more…)

Shaping up for SA Longboard Surfing Champs

This past weekend I completed my second longboarding trials for making Southern Cape team to go to SA Longboard Surfing Championships and I’m glad to report that things went well! It looks like I’ll be seeing all my friends from last year again in Cape St Francis from the 27th of April.

The question is whether to stay in St Francis or near Supers in JBay for the off days when I’m not surfing champs (or for the two days we’re going up early :-). Having gone to JBay for the Billabong for many years I’m inclined to say JBay. It’s just 30-45 mins drive to Seals / St Francis anyway and who can resist a good Supers session or a relaxed Point at 2-3ft for longboard surfing sessions that never end?

Either way, I’m super amped to be part of things again this year and looking for sponsors so drop me a line if you feel generous!

I’m in need of

  • Accommodation (JBay) & Travel Budget  – First priority
    • Accommodation budget for 9 nights in JBay – R 3, 150.00
    • Fuel Budget – R 2, 500.00
  • Performance Hydration
  • Performance Nutrition
  • Clothing
  • Eyewear
  • Wetsuits (spring suit for warmer climates and a 4/3 with hoodie etc for cold locations)
  • Performance Waterproof Sunscreen

What sponsors get

  • Social & Blog mentions
    • Twitter: @dirktolken; @beachbumsa
    • Instagram: @dirktolken
    • Vine: @dirktolken
    • Pre & Post Event Blog post mentions with photos
  • Greyed out logo (two-up) in sidebar for duration of sponsorship with link to your website below the fold
  • Reduced cost on above the fold advertising (R100/1000 impressions, min 10,000 impressions)
  • Branding options (to be discussed)

Please drop me a line on if you’re interested!

KG Longboard Classic At Jongensfontein

South Africa’s top longboard surfers are descending on Jongensfontein, near Stilbaai in the Southern Cape, to participate in the KG Longboard Classic this weekend, 19 and 20 June 2010. The event is part of international World Surfing Day celebrations.

The Classic is the first of five events that form the South African Longboard Surfing Association (SALSA) Longboard Tour, of which the last event will be at next year’s SA Championships in Durban. More than 80 surfers are expected to compete in the Open division’s Ladies, Juniors, Over 50’s and Divas (Ladies over 35) categories.

Competitors for this weekend’s event include big names such as Brad Weare from KwaZulu-Natal, Justin Bing from Western Province, Michael Grendon and Port Elizabeth competitor Dylan McLeod. Last year’s winner, Ludi du Toit from Jeffreys Bay, will be returning to defend his title.