There will be no four-man heats for the top 48 riders on the 2016 Men’s World Tour as the APB plans to implement a similar format to the World Surf League’s Championship Tour.
The Association of Professional Bodyboarders (APB) board gave the green light to the new format changes recently, meaning the first round of competition will be a three-man, non-elimination heat, followed by man-on-man elimination heats for the remaining of the contest.
It is a similar style to the one used by the WSL Championship Tour. However, the WSL differs by returning to non-elimination, three-man heats in Round 4 before going back to elimination.
APB CEO Alex Leon confirmed the new format will be adopted in 2016 for all APB Tour events. However, four-man heats will be used during each event’s trials (which, by looking at the diagram, are to be named something different).
“This format is better for TV and broadcasting,” Leon said.
“It appeals more to networks and mainstream media and also puts emphasis on the top athletes of the world as we try and create the hero aspect of each one of these athletes.
“It is also easier for fans and spectators to follow this format and follow the tour.”
Mr Leon also said the top 28 athletes will hold their position all year as an elite athlete of the APB Tour.
Each of the main events will consist of 32 seeded riders from the previous APB Tour (top 28 plus wild cards), as well as 16 qualifiers from the trials whom will be seeded from 33 to 48.
The APB will also bring back the star rating system for events in 2016 and while it is yet to be confirmed, it is understood Pipeline is expected to make a return to the APB schedule.
If it goes ahead, the Pipe event will differ from the rest of the tour by having four-man heats (see diagram below).
APB CEO Alex Leon said the 2016 APB Calendar will be released by mid-December.