The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) North America Longboard Qualifying Series (LQS) will kick off the first of six events on the regional tour with the PLA Pro and Gidget PLA Pro at Ocean Beach Pier in San Diego this weekend, February 28 and 29, 2010, and will see America’s top men’s and women’s competitors look to start the year off strong despite the tough weather forecast for the upcoming competition.
The ASP LQS acts as a qualifier for the ASP World Longboard Tour (WLT), with each competitor out to finish within the top of their regional rankings to find their way on to the elite stage of competition, where they earn the right to compete for the title of ASP World Longboard Champion.
Steve Newton (San Clemente, CA), 24, is one standout who is about to embark on his inaugural year on the ASP World Longboard Tour, and is going to use the regional ASP LQS events to hone his competitive skills before doing battle amongst the globe’s top longboarders.
“I’m psyched to have all of the regional ASP LQS events to help get ready for my rookie year on the WLT,” Newton said. “It’s great that the PLA has stepped up to put on a regional tour and with the prize purses increasing, I think we’ll begin to see some good international talent showing up at the American events as well.”
With this weekend’s weather forecast predicting stormy conditions, the San Clemente native has been spending his time on dialing in his equipment to combat all of the possible conditions for the San Diego based event.
“I took some time to figure out which boards are the best in storm surf,” Newton said. “I’m used to surfing in those conditions and usually do well in stormy surf, but Sunday’s forecast is looking like it’s supposed to be bigger with better conditions, so I’m going to be ready for everything.”
Cori Schumacher (Carlsbad, CA), 32, who is a former ASP Women’s World Longboard Champion and the defending two-time ASP North America Longboard Champion, is set to attend the Gidget PLA Pro, but does not have plans to launch a full attack on a third consecutive regional title for 2010.
“This year might be a mixed competitive bag for me,” Schumacher said. “The last couple of years I focused almost completely on preparing myself mentally and physically for over-seas and local competition but this year, I am focusing on emphasizing the work I am doing with Surf For Life, a non-profit organization that seeks to connect surfers with global community outreach. “
Although the San Diego native’s not in the same competitive mindset as in previous years, she’s still hungry to post an impressive result while competing close to home.
“I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to compete in world class events so close to home,” Schumacher said. “Although I love traveling outside of California to surf waves I am less familiar with, I feel it is a competitive advantage to be able to sleep in your own bed and surf your home breaks during competition.”
Watch the 48 man and 16 woman field compete LIVE via www.surfpla.com