ISA World Kneeboard Championships

10 Jan 2007 0 Share

Kneeboard Surfing USA announced today that it is hosting the 2007 World Kneeboard Championship in Santa Cruz January 9 through January 13. Top Kneeboard surfers from around the world will begin arriving soon for the first-ever U.S. hosted world titles event and are competing for a first-place cash prize of $3,000.

Leading the international field of competitors is 2-time world champion Baden Smith of Australia. Smith is the reigning world Kneeboard champion – having won the last world titles held in Tahiti in 2004. Another Australian expected to be among the top finishers is Matt Gallagher, who placed fourth in Tahiti and recently won the South Coast Pro Bendalong Contest against world-class field of Kneeboarders. Adding to the depth of the Australian contingent is Gavin Coleman, a former Australian champion. Australians have won every Kneeboarding world championship held since 1996.

Other international top international competitors include Karl Ward and Richard Smith from Great Britain. Smith is the current British Champion. Ward, who was narrowly edged-out by Smith in the UK titles, finished fourth in the last KSUSA Titles held at Steamer Lane in 2005. In addition, a talented field of competitors is expected from New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Ireland and South Africa.

“The 2007 World Kneeboard Championships is expected to be one of the largest events held outside of Australia,” said Don Harris, president of Kneeboard Surfing USA which is organizing the event. “This is providing a tremendous boost in visibility for a sport that has been mostly under the radar for many years. While the contest is the primary focus, this will really be a spirited gathering that brings together Kneeboarders to celebrate their unique form of waveriding.”

Among those U.S. Kneeboarders expected to compete for the world title are San Clemente’s Barry Baker, San Diego’s Jack Beresford and Santa Cruz’s Roger Hughes. Baker won the KSUSA Titles held at Pleasure Point in 2004 but was edged out by Beresford and Hughes at last year’s event. While no U.S. Kneeboarder has ever won a world open men’s title, the Americans have had the opportunity to hone their skills at Santa Cruz’s point breaks the past three years at KSUSA-sponsored events. Several Santa Cruz Kneeboarders, such local legends Jon Manss, John Mel and Scott Wessling, may also gain an edge from their many years of experience in the area’s big winter surf.

Considered one of the purest forms of wave riding, Kneeboarding has its roots in groundbreaking performances by internationally known waveriders such as George Greenough, Steve Lis and Peter Crawford. Today, the sport is experiencing a true renaissance in the U.S. and overseas. More than 1,100 people have registered on the Kneeboard Surfing USA Web site at www.ksusa.org.

The 2007 World Kneeboard Championships will kick off on Sunday, Jan. 7 with opening ceremonies at Coastline Brewery (120 Union Street, in Santa Cruz) starting at 5 p.m. The competition begins Tuesday, Jan. 9 and runs through the rest of the week (conditions permitting) with the finals tentatively scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 13. Throughout the week, evening gatherings are planned and will include raffles, a silent auction, special video presentations, and other entertainment.

The event is sanctioned by the International Surfing Association and Kneeboard Surfing International. In addition to the Open division, the contest will include a variety of age divisions and a women’s division. For more information, visit www.ksusa.org.

Sponsors of the 2007 Kneeboard World Championships include Freeline Design Surf Shop, NewSwell Studios, Surfing Magazine, Coastline Brewery, Hurley, Viper Swim Fins, Blast Kneeboards, Stay Covered, Maxim Capital Advisors, Inc., Tide Has Turned, Independent, Parkes Australia, Flashpoint, Luxurysurf.com, Neil Luke Surfboards, Shoelkopf Designs, and Surf City Coffee.

Established in 2003, Kneeboard Surfing USA is de

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