The long-standing Coastal Edge Steel Pier Classic presented by Katin brings the World Surf League (WSL) North America Regional Longboard Qualifying Series (LQS) back to Virginia Beach, Virginia, beginning May 27 - 29. The iconic 1st Street Jetty will play host to the 20th year of competition and welcomes some of the region's top longboard talents. A valuable 1,000 points toward the 2022/23 regional rankings are up on the line for an opportunity to qualify for the 2023 Longboard Tour (LT) and contest for a World Title.
“We’re so pleased to add this longstanding event to our regional tour and share in celebrating the 20th anniversary with Coastal Edge, Katin and the VB community,” said North America Regional Manager Meg Bernardo. “It’s been years since WSL has had a Longboard Regional Qualifying Series event on the East Coast and this is the perfect event to showcase our pros in conjunction with some of the area’s top amateur competitors.” “We are thrilled to partner with Katin and welcome the World Surf League Longboard Regional Qualifying Series to our iconic Virginia Beach shores for the Coastal Edge Steel Pier Classic,” said Coastal Edge President D. Nachnani. “As we celebrate the 20th anniversary of this event, it is an honor to showcase the top longboard talents in North America and provide them with the opportunity to qualify for the 2023 Longboard Tour. We cannot wait to witness the fierce competition and see who will come out on top."
2012 marked the last time LQS competitors took to the shores of Virginia Beach with the likes of Longboard World Champions Tory Gilkerson (USA) and Rachael Tilly (USA) joining surfing icon Karina Rozunko (USA) and event winner, Longboard Tour veteran, Kaitlin Mikkelsen (USA), in the Final.
The men’s side featured three-time Longboard World Champion Taylor Jensen (USA), 2021 Longboard Champion Joel Tudor (USA), and LT veteran Tony Silvagni (USA) with Jensen earning a big win before going on to win his second World Title. As the second event of the 2022/23 LQS season, competitors are looking to solidify their place atop the rankings and join the world's best. Current No. 1 Richie Cravey (USA) joins the likes of WSL Longboard Tour veteran Kevin Skvarna (USA) and rising Longboard Tour star Avalon Gall (USA), current No. 2, as they lead their respective fields alongside standout Jack Van Wagoner (USA), emerging competitors such as Virginia Beach's own Camden Hoover (USA) and more. For Skvarna and fellow contenders, a win is a must if they are to overtake Cravey as Skvarna finished at No. 11 on the LT rankings in 2022.
"This event is pretty important for me," said Skvarna. "I've been on the [Longboard Tour] for eight years now and would like to get a wildcard in, but that's not guaranteed. You have to fight for your spots and it's important for me to get back on, and I can do that in Virginia. Just knowing that I can do well on the Longboard Tour makes me want to do well in Virginia and hopefully there's waves, and just missing requalification by one spot makes me pretty hungry to get back there."
For local surfer Hoover, this event now provides her the platform to contend among some of the region's best and get her competitive experience at the next level with her community there to support.
"It means a lot to me to see the Steel Pier Classic return with a WSL format, especially now that I am at the level to be able to compete in it in my hometown," said Hoover. "My friends and I have been participating in this event since we were five years old. I was fortunate to be a part of the Virginia Longboard Federation and witness all the amazing things the Knight family and Coastal Edge did to help grow this event into an amazing Surf and Art showcase for both locals and the participants that travel from all over to enjoy what Virginia Beach has to offer."These competitors, and more, join an illustrious history of Coastal Edge Steel Pier Classic presented by Katin competition spanning two decades. The event, started in 2004, showcases both shortboard and longboard amateur divisions as former North America Longboard Regional Champion Silvagni earned a win in 2007, according to University of North Carolina Wilmington William Randall Library’s “The Cape Fear of Surfing Archives.”
Now, the event etches in a new chapter to its history beginning May 27 - 29 with the return of the WSL LQS 1,000.
More available at WorldSurfLeague.com.