Finals day in paradise culminated with Tony Silvagni and Maria Fernanda Reyes claiming wins at the inaugural Rincon 50 Surf Fest. Clean, two-to-three foot swell at Domes provided beautiful conditions for competitors to showcase more of their style and power as Silvagni and Reyes stood apart from their fellow contingent throughout the week.

This marked a big, second LQS win for Silvagni, deeming him the 2018 North America Regional Champion after putting on a clinic during his finals day campaign. The Carolina Beach, South Carolina, native’s Final started off brilliantly with a 7.75 (out of a possible 10) before keeping to his strategy and finishing in a flurry of action against runner-up Kevin Skvarna. The duo battled in the final minutes that started with Silvagni nose-riding and cross-stepping his way to an excellent 8.75 to all but seal his win.

“It’s insane to win a North America title,” Silvagni added. “It’s been a dream of mine to win one and I’m really thankful for my family, friends, girlfriend, and her family for being here to support me. I’ve been working on being more patient to catch a quality wave and I noticed that throughout the competition. There were a lot of great surfers here like Kai Hamase who I had to face in the Semis, but Kevin Skvarna was just insane doing some perches through critical sections of the wave.”

Mikkelsen took second in the finals but secured the title: North America Champion

Mikkelsen took over finals day starting with a Quarterfinal win against Emily Flannagan before taking down 15-year-old event threat Brooke Carlson in the Semifinals. The 31-year-old now prepares for a big finish to 2018 at the World Longboard Championships in Taiwan alongside the world’s best and a shot at her first World Title after claiming her first North America Regional Title with a runner-up finish.

“I’m really excited to be North America Champ even though I wanted to get that win badly,” Mikkelsen said. “I’ve got more fire in my belly than ever and Taiwan it is, those girls better watch out (laughs). It got way better than the first day and it was great to have some size to put it all on the line for bigger turns, long nose-rides, and not having to baby a wave in.”

“I haven’t done an event like this since last year so it was a great way to prepare just getting used to priority, turning it on for heats, and realizing what it’s like,” Mikkelsen added. “This was an all or nothing event and it teaches you to just put everything out there. You can’t hold back, there’s no second chance so I just wanted to give it my all.”

The World Longboard Championships will be held from November 26 – December 2 at Jinzung Harbor, Taiwan.

Skvarna Gets the Job Done to Compete in 2019

Skvarna’s late comeback efforts were cut short needing an excellent 8.66, but the San Clemente, California, native put on a show to finish things off. The 20-year-old kicked it into high-gear on the way to the Final, taking assertion in his Semifinal bout against 2x World Champion Piccolo Clemente and earning an excellent 8.50 to all but seal a massive heat win.

Skvarna also eliminated another South American contender, Julian Schweizer, in a close heat that came down to Schweizer’s last ride, but the runner-up wasn’t to be outdone and punched his ticket for a spot among the world’s best in 2019.

“It’s super nice to know I’m in next year and takes off all the pressure heading to Taiwan because I surf better when I’m in that mindset,” Skvarna said. “I’m happy I took the time to come here and see everyone, as well as get the focus started. It’s really inspiring to see all guys like this coming up because there’s masses of longboarders around the world no one knows that can surf so well. But, to know I can set a goal and make it happen means a lot.”

Also earning their way into Taiwan, Steven McLean and Austin Hollingshead are confirmed for a shot at World Longboard Championships — and making their way onto the Tour full-time next season with a result or if both Silvagni and Skvarna double qualify.

original article: wsl.com