Niterói (RJ) Brazil – 23rd June 2017
The Itacoatiara Pro has been completed with an emotional Diego Cabrera (ES) taking home the coveted prize, beating a consistent Dino Carmo (PT) in the final.
Conditions remained stable during the day after early rain kept the crowds on the beach thin. The riding on display in these last remaining heats of the Itacoatiara Pro did not fail to keep viewers online glue to their screens.
The day started off with Round 5 Heats hitting the water.
Dave Hubbard (HA) spelled the end of South Africa’s Tristan Roberts (ZA) who without a doubt maintains the prize as having completed the manoeuvre of the competition. Jared Houston (ZA) continued his march towards the finals in his return to competition after injury halted his campaign last year at Nazare Portugal dispatching Antonio Cardoso (PT) with a dominant performance.
Heat 3 of Round 5 was a closer battle with the Basque Country’s Alex Uranga (EUK) being eliminated by Australia’s Lewy Finnegan (AUS) who managed to find a decent barrel amongst the predominant shorebreak closeouts to eliminate the defending champion from the event.
Eventual Itacoatiara Pro champion Diego Cabrera (ES) managed to edge past France’s Maxime Castillo (FR), who did provide a challenge with a diversity of manoeuvres completed in the challenging conditions, but failing to deliver the knockout punch.
With a prize purse of USD$30,000.00, this event is one of the biggest of the circuit with 5,000 points going towards the highly-contested rankings. The Brazilian stage of the APB World Tour celebrates its sixth edition this year with a waiting period from June 15th to 25th.
The Quarter Finals saw some significant departures from the event, with current ratings leader Jared Houston (ZA) eliminated by Portugal’s Dino Carmo (PT) after Carmo found a long barrelling wave along the shallow shorebreak, and Hawaii’s Tanner McDaniel (HA) being eliminated by fellow Kauaiian Dave Hubbard (HA).
Iain Campbell (ZA) continued his good form, defeating the Australian Lewy Finnegan (AUS), who was unable to channel a last minute save like he had done numerous times during the event. With Finnegan dealing with health issues during the event, his ability to remain competitive and progress this far was super-human.
Heat 4 of the Quarter Finals saw eventual winner Diego Cabrera (ES) put in the performance of the event to defeat multiple world champion Amaury Lavernhe (RE) in one of the highest scoring heats of the event too. From the beginning, Lavernhe was in control and dominating, completing a variety of manoeuvres in the waves that were increasing steadily in size and becoming more perfect in shape. Inverts, barrels, flips and rolls, the heat was controlled by Lavernhe until the halfway mark, when Cabrera responded with a solid flip and then a long tube ride, finished with a rollo onto the shore, earning him over 9 points.
With the clock ticking, Lavernhe needed a 9.2 to take back the lead, but the waves did not deliver, leaving him wanting and Cabrera celebrating.
The Semi-Finals seemed slow compared to the last heat of the Quarter Finals, with both Dave Hubbard (HA) and Dino Carmo (PT) struggling to find decent scores early on. In the end it was the Portuguese rider who would progress to his first ever pro final, sending Hubbard back to the commentary box and the podium final later on.
Semi-Final 2 was a nail-biter, with Diego Cabrera (ES) and Iain Campbell (ZA) trading waves throughout the 25 minutes with neither rider taking full control. Priority exchanges were frequent, with each rider strategically pushing the other to make a mistake and relinquish control of the close heat. At the close of the heat, Iain Campbell (ZA) scratched for a last second wave to push ahead of Cabrera, but the hooter had sounded and the backflip he completed not counting towards his final heat score.
With finalists settled, the Pro Juniors and Women’s finals were decided.
Japan’s Ayaka Suzuki (JP) was always the rider expected to take home the prize and she didn’t fail to deliver in the final against Brazil’s Nicole Calherios (BR). Despite Calherios having the hometown advantage and completing a solid rollo onto the shore in the final, the Japanese rider Suzuki managed to continue her domination and take the ratings lead for a world title that she so desperately seeks this year.
The Pro Junior final was a very close affair with Easter Islander Cristobal Fernandez (CL) controlling most of the heat, until some late scoring waves from both Luan Tavares (BR) and Nelson Flores (CL) took victory from him in the dying moments. Flores’ late backflip being enough to push him ahead of the pack and to victory. With Brazil’s Igor de Almeida (BR) finishing 4th.
The Podium Final between Dave Hubbard (HA) and Iain Campbell (ZA) was mostly a one-sided affair with Campbell finding again the form that saw him dominate so much of the middle rounds of the competition, leaving Hubbard struggling to find a significant ride to bring the 3rd place within his grasp.
Following that it was time for the Pro Final, seeing Diego Cabrera (ES) and Dino Carmo (PT) go head-to-head for the first time in the event. Carmo had been consistent all event, finding the rides that counted when it mattered in each and every heat, but from the beginning it seemed like he had surfed his event already, not able to find scores much above the average mark and never seeming in control. Cabrera on the other hand was a man driven to victory, finding sections with enough power to project his flips and rolls out into the flats and finding the wave size that gave the judges reason to reward him handsomely.
Carmo never really seemed in the final, but he most definitely deserved to be there. Cabrera put on a display that made everyone understand that this was a rider with a serious intent to claim the world title this year and who now has the points to prove that he is serious about it.
Next stop for the APB Tour is Arica Chile on the 4th of July, followed by the Antofagasta Pro on the 11th. By the end of the South American leg of the tour, the world title race will be maturing and the potential world champion for 2017 should be clearer.
Rankings After Itacoatiara Pro:
|1||Jared Houston||Sth Africa||6500|
|3||Diego Cabrera||Canary Is||5560|
|5||Iain Campbell||Sth Africa||5100|
Itacoatiara Final Results
Photo’s: Tony D´Andrea/Itacoatiara Pro