Local spectacle heralds start of longboard world surfing champs

Sports

THE World Surf League (WSL) Kumul PNG World Longboard Championships celebrated the inaugural event with an opening ceremony spectacle at Tupira Surf Club, Madang, on Saturday.
Despite there being no PNG government representative, the opening ceremony went ahead, with seven surrounding tribes presenting their unique traditional dances before keynote speakers addressed the crowd of hundreds in attendance.
In addition, local children involved with a surf initiative programme paddled out for a chance to be recognised and earn a spot in a session with some of the world’s best longboarders later in the week.
The women’s event was set to start following the presentations but due to inclement weather and awaiting the swell to arrive, competition was called off for the day — though surfers are still eager to start their PNG campaigns.
Tory Gilkerson (USA) the 2016 world champion starts her quest to reclaim the title in round one, heat three against Atalanta Batista (Brazil) and wildcard selection Rothy Kurumuk (PNG).
“Being number one definitely makes me want more,” Gilkerson said.
“It will be really fun and exciting to have a bit of a title race unfold at multiple events (as well).”
President and co-founder of the Surfing Association PNG (SAPNG), Andrew Abel, has worked relentlessly on bringing this event to life. The groundbreaking announcement was made at last year’s World Longboard Championships (WLC) in China after three decades of striving toward this goal.
“Surfing as a resource is worth all the timber, gold, and copper that are now being exported out of our nation. As long as we maintain this resource properly in a transparent and honest manner, future generations will prosper,” Abel said.

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