Nilda Point, Antofagasta (Saturday, 1st August 2015)
Australia’s Lewy Finnegan has won the 2015 Antofagasta Bodyoard Festival by defeating 2008 World champion Uri Valadao (Brazil) in the final.
As predicted a fresh South swell rolled up the coast and provided some solid 2-2.5mtr sets for the competitors.
Nilda showed what an unforgiving beast she can be with big punchy peaks exploding onto the super-shallow reef.
The day started with the women’s semi finals and both Isabella Sousa (Brazil) & Alexandra Rinder (Canary Islands) showed their experience by finding the better waves and outpointing their rivals.
Finishing equal third were Sari Ohhara (Japan) & Anais Velis (Chile)
Anais really rattled some cages on her way to nthe semis and had some of the more experienced pros looking over their shoulder at her flawless technique.
Next up were the Round 5 Men’s heats and right from the get-go the action was explosive.
Chilean rider Sasha Damjanic, Lewy Finnegan (Aust) and the South African Duo of Jared Houston & Iain Campbell all looked rock solid in the growing swell but it was Campbell that topped the scoring with a 16.40 average out of 20.
Into the ¼ finals and Lewy Finnegan never looked like slowing down nailing a series of mammoth flips. The Western Australian posted a near perfect 9.25 wave score to get the edge over current world champion Amaury Laverhne (Reunion).
Picture Gallery (All Images Pablo Jimenez)[df-gallery url=”http://apbtour.com/gallery/2015-antofagsata-bodyboard-festival-day-5/”]
Uri Valadao showed moments of brilliance in a high scoring hit-out with Hawaiian Jacob Romero.
The semi finals lined up like this
Semi 1 Sacha Damjanic (Chile) V Lewy Finnegan (Aust)
Semi 2 Uri Valadao (Brazil) V Iain Campbell (Sth Africa)
Despite the roll that Damjanic was on leading into Antofagasta, he couldn’t stop the in-form Finnegan whose superior wave selection and fiery combos earned him the nod.
Lewy looked super relaxed and his carefree approach was working for him and the crowd loved it.
As the last man standing the Chileans cheered Damjamic up the beach like he’d won the event, and an equal third was another great result.
In the second semi Uri picked the eyes out of the random wedges and looked unstoppable going into the final.
One of the new innovations from APB is the consolation final to determine third & forth places.
Iain Campbell’s work rate in this heat paid dividends and he finished ahead of Sascha Damjamic to lock in his best result on the World tour.
Next up the women’s final hit the line up, and despite earlier expressing concern about the venue and the hazardous nature of the wave, the girls attacked Nilda with passion.
Current world champion Alexandra Rinder was coming off a win at Arica and her upbringing in the heavy waves of the Canary Islands gave her the edge in the shifty line up.
Alex posted an 8.25 & 7.50 to lock in her second victory against Isabella in as many events.
“I can’t believe it,” said an ecstatic Alexandra.
“To beat such a talented rider like Isabella twice in a row is very satisfying,” she added.
The crowd peaked at Nilda for the Men’s final and the two most consistent riders of the 6-day event with the grandstand overflowing with spectators.
Lewy consistently landed some gigantic moves throughout the contest and he continued the theme dropping 8.67 & 7.67 in the opening exchanges that left Uri hunting for the remainder of the final.
His happy-go-lucky attitude to life and wave riding really won over the local crowd during the week and he was a popular winner once he hit the beach.
“I’m just so stoked,” said an elated Finnegan.
“ This is like a dream come true, I cant believe it,” he added.
And so as the sun set over Nilda, the 2015 Antofagasta Bodyboard Festival was over.
APB head honcho Alex Leon summed it nicely.
“The last three events have put the sport into a great position in the action sports market.
The size of the waves and the quality of the pre & post production have given us the tools to approach some big companies to sponsor the sport, we are in a very healthy position after the South American triple crown,” he added.
The next event for fans to watch will be the Shark Island Challenge (APB Specialty event) followed by a new women’s event in Japan in early September.
Then late September / early October the APB hits Europe for the 20th anniversary of Sintra followed by the inaugural event at Nazaré.
The live scores & heats from Antofagasta can be seen here http://chile.refreshtec.com/2015/apbant/#
For more information, daily imagery, news and information check out www.apbtour.com
1 – Lewy Finnegan (Australia)
2 – Uri Valadao (Brazil)
3 – Iain Campbell (SFA)
3 – Sasha Damjamic (Chile)
1 – Alexandra Rinder (Canary Islands)
2 – Isabella Sousa (Brazil)
3 – Sari Ohhara (Japan)
3 – Anais Velis (Chile)