Team rider Edouard Delpero recently captained the French team in El Salvador for the ISA World Longboard Championship. After a week of epic waves, meals shared, point breaks explored and heats competed, the team ranked in an impressive 3rd place out of the 39 countries that took part. The French longboard squad consisted of Zoe Grospiron, 24, Alice Le Moigne, 27, Martin Coret, 28, and team captain and C-skins rider Edouard Delpero, 34. 

Founded in 1964, the International Surfing Association is recognised by the International Olympic Committee as the World Governing Authority for Surfing. 116 countries across five continents take part, with individuals competing alongside their team members to take home titles for their country in Shortboard, Longboard & Bodyboarding, StandUp Paddle (SUP) Racing and Surfing, Para-Surfing, Bodysurfing and Wakesurfing.

El Salvador is known for its epic right handers. The current president Nayib Bukele recently developed ‘Surf City’, a project to amplify surf tourism in El Salvador. His dream is to use Central America’s surfing resources to attract international contests and surf tourism to boost the economy. The formerly self titled “coolest dictator” was voted in on an anti-corruption mandate after years of civil war and government corruption. This does of course leave a question about how this will all play out in the long term and how history will view the ISAs relationship with the El Salvadorian government.

We spoke with Edouard about his trip to Surf City and competing in the ISA World Longboard Championship event.

How does competing as a team for your country rather than as individuals impact the atmosphere at ISA events?

I love the team spirit that it brings. Surfing is such an individual sport but as youre not only competing for yourself it brings another dimension. In this contest we’re really fighting for the team and everyone is supporting you on the beach. Every heat is for everybody. It makes a huge difference and I love it. 

From start to finish, we spend the whole week together and have such a good time; the morning and preparation, supporting each other and having evening meals. Everything backs building a good relationship as a team, which is what promotes such a positive energy. I think it can aid a better result than can be achieved alone. As a team we push each other to our max.

What did it mean to you to be selected as team captain for France, particularly in a high profile year for French surfing with the Paris Olympics?

Being captain at the ISA was a privilege and was definitely a new experience for me. Whilst I’ve been on seven French teams, from Juniors to 4 teams in Open Longboarding, the ISA team was my first captain role at international level. Doing it without my brother was a big challenge for me as together we bring such a huge energy, however I think the experience will be beneficial for future opportunities.

Did you feel any additional pressure as team captain, or did the accolade carry you through high pressure moments in your heats?

I don’t know if there’s a huge difference between being a captain or not. For me, the biggest factor is in terms of motivating our team. My job is to motivate the squad when they are struggling. I find it helps me to take a step back and reflect on what the contest is and how to drive everyone. I aim to release the pressure, enabling the others to perform at their highest level. These added tasks allows me to be more present, consequently boosting my performance during heats. 

What was your favourite (overall) heat of the event? (doesn't have to be one of your own, could be a team mates?)

Probably the paddle battle with Martin Coret. He won two paddle battles in his heats. He was 30 metres behind, and raced all the way from the bottom of the point, and still won priority! However, afterwards he confessed he’d never do it again because it was too intense and he was basically dead afterwards! The atmosphere was great, everyone was supporting and yelling from the beach. 

And your personal highlight?

The times I spent with the team and all the meals we had! Contest wise, Round 3 against Benoit (Clemente) and Decal (Wyton). It was a pretty tough heat but the rhythm was on my side. On that particular wave in El Salvador you pick a rhythm in the first section and the rest can depend on the ocean. Declan went on the first wave, but the second one that I took was better. We were waiting on the sand for the scores together and I got a 9.23! I really enjoyed that wave. 

What is El Salvadors Surf City like as a venue, but also as a surf break/destination?

It’s super hot - the hottest place I’ve ever been in my life! It’s beautiful. They’ve done an amazing job at creating a base for tourism in El Salvador. There are beautiful point breaks everywhere and the consistency of the waves is crazy. But the heat is too much for me! 

What boards did you take to the event, to compliment the break and judging criteria? 

I’m took 2 models from Torque and Minivielle Surfboards. The Classic and the EDpro. I surfed both throughout the event but I actually switched boards in the semi-final: the waves were smaller so I took the Classic. Both are really good boards and turn and nose ride well so to start with I was just taking my time to work out what criteria the judges were looking for. It became obvious they were focusing on lines and smooth turns, and both boards help me to do that, so it just came down to wave size. 

What C-Skins kit did you take?

I took my C-Skins Long Sleeve Vest for the sun. The French team have to wear the branded French federation kit for the competition, however I wore my jersey for protection whilst free surfing.

To follow Edouard’s journey click here to visit his Instagram. 

Team photo by Jersson Barboza 

Surf photos by Pablo Jimenez