Roach pipped by Tudor to longboard title
A semi-final exit for Australian surfer Harrison Roach has handed the world longboard championship to American Joel Tudor, who won his first title almost two decades ago.
Roach was ranked second heading into the final tour event, the Malibu Classic in California, chasing Edouard Delpero in the championship race.
The Frenchman bowed out in the first elimination round while Queenslander Roach advanced through to the final four.
But he was narrowly beaten by Briton Ben Skinner in a high-scoring round while Tudor overcame compatriot Tony Silvagni in the other semi-final.
He then pipped Skinner in the final on Tuesday to take the Malibu Classic trophy.
With Tudor just 225 points behind 31-year-old Roach before the final round, his place in the final was enough to secure the American his third world title.
Dubbed the godfather of modern longboarding, Tudor, at 45, is oldest surfer to become a world champion.
"The most proud thing of all of this is that I finally beat Kelly at something," Tudor told the World Surf League.
"So remember that."
He first won in 1998 and then again in 2004 before walking away from full-time competition in the belief that there was too strong of a focus on rewarding shortboard moves on longboards.
He set up his own invitational series that rewarded the more traditional style.
Roach was aiming to become Australia's first longboard world champion since Harley Ingleby and Chelsea Williams won the men's and women's crowns respectively in 2014.
In the women's world title race, Hawaiian Honolua Blomfield won her third crown.
The 22-year-old only needed a quarter-final victory over American Lindsay Steinriede to take an unbeatable lead in the standings.
Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.
Sign up for our emails