Taylor Jensen wins first Surfest longboard classic | photos

BIG IMPACT: Taylor Jensen powers through the Merewether surf on Tuesday on the way to winning the first James Bros. Longboard Classic. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers
BIG IMPACT: Taylor Jensen powers through the Merewether surf on Tuesday on the way to winning the first James Bros. Longboard Classic. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

AMERICAN Taylor Jensen took an instant liking to Merewether before winning the battle of the multiple world champions at Surfest’s inaugural James Bros. Longboard Classic on Tuesday.

Jensen, the defending and three-time world champion, dominated his heats, scoring two 16-point totals and a 14.85 to qualify for the final against Coffs Harbour’s Harley Ingleby.

A two-time world champion, Ingleby also had little trouble making the decider in the 24-man field for the 1000-point World Surf League longboard qualifying series event, held in two-foot swell off Merewether rocks.

Jensen produced the highest total of the day, 16.60, to defeat Ingleby (12.40) in the final and take the $US2000 first prize.

The 33-year-old, who lives part of the year at Angourie on the NSW north coast, said he was fortunate to score big in the final as conditions deteriorated.

“I lucked into the first one [8.50] and almost got hung up on the top, but it ran really nicely,” Jensen said.

“I realised my back-up score [8.10] was not as good. It wasn’t the sets that were the best, you had to pick the waves that hit the bank the best as they seemed to offer the higher scoring chances.

“It was super consistent and fun. We had waves all day.”

North Sydney goofy-footer Tully White claimed the women’s title, beating Queensland’s Emily Lethbridge 10.55 to 6.85.

White, 18, who hails from Allambie Heights, is the reigning Australian champion and took home $US1000 for her first WSL title on Tuesday.

“It was fun because it’s a right, which I like,” White said. “It reminded me of one of the waves at home but out in the final it was definitely a bit slow and it was hard to try and find the ones that would take us all the way through.”

“I was stoked to get a set.”