Nicholas Bastos Wins Shorebreak Challenge 2017
Written by Steve Jackson
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL- After an eight year hiatus, the fourth edition of the Shorebreak Challenge was held in Copacabana on Wednesday, May 24th. Don’t be misled by the name. Copacabana Shorebreak is a misnomer. Located just off the coast of the world famous Copacabana Beach, this bodyboarding sanctuary is a heavy reef slab. Waves break below sea level, over a razor sharp reef, in half a meter or less of water, depending on the tide. At times, during low tide, the reef sucks dry and exposes itself. Last Wednesday morning, event organizers Diego Souza, André Paiva, and João Gabriel filled a boat with competitors and event staff, and embarqued on what would turn out to be an incredible day of bodyboarding!
This year’s field of 24 invitational riders consisted of old school Brazilian chargers, next generation young guns, slab specialists, and 2001 Shorebreak Challenge Champion Luciano Cunha. Round One saw competitors battle it out in 20 minute, 3-man priority heats with the top two advancing on. In Round Two man-against-man heats, some big names that had high hopes for this event were eliminated from the field. In Heat One, local charger Alexandre Cruz defeated APB Pro Junior World Tour standout Matheus Bastos. In the next heat, 2015 APB Men’s Rookie of the Year David Barbosa took out Daniel Lima. Heat Three saw Brazilian slab specialist Leopoldo Neto battle local upstart Caio Araujo, with Leo coming out on top. In Heat Four, Ian Vello came away victorious over Renato Brandão. Former world tour competitor Jefferson Urdan faced off against Leme charger Felipe Lima in Heat Five, with Urdan advancing through to the quarterfinals. The next big upset came in Heat Six when 2-time APB Pro Junior World Champion Socrates Santana was taken out by fellow Posto 5 local Rodrigo Otavio. In the last heat of Round Two, Nicholas Bastos bumped Marcus Vinicius from the field.
In the Quarterfinals, there was almost a palpable sense of pressure as riders continued to push one another. Alexandre Cruz eliminated David Barbosa in Quarterfinal One, while Leopoldo Neto continued his winning ways with a Quarterfinal win over Ian Vello. P5 young gun Rodrigo Otavio was able to take out the seasoned veteran Jefferson Urdan in Quartefinal Three, with Nicholas Bastos putting in a strong performance to eliminate Jefferson Oliveira and round out the final four riders in the field. The Brazilian slab hunter Leopoldo Neto continued his charge towards the final with a win against Alexandre Cruz in Semifinal One. Nicholas Bastos clashed with Rodrigo Otavio in the second semifinal, with Bastos coming out on top and moving on. The two most consistent and impressive competitors in the event, Neto and Bastos battled it out in the Pro Final. They exchanged some heavy waves, but a perfect 10 from the judges on a deep barrel ride and clean exit sealed the win for Bastos.
As daylight began to wane, competition shifted into the final three divisions of the day. Serving as the final event of the local Série Técnica and crowning its division champions, the amateurs hit the water. Pedro Henrique Oliveira won the Sub-14 title, with Iago Nascimento being crowned the Sub-17 Champion. Iago was so overwhelmed with joy that he jumped overboard to celebrate! In the Open division, Daniel Ferreira walked away with top honors. As Sub-14 and Sub-17 division champions, Oliveira and Nascimento will receive airfare to Chile, while the Open champion Ferreira will receive paid entry into the 2017 APB Itacoatiara Pro, the next event on the world tour schedule.
At the conclusion of the Shorebreak Challenge, many of the competitors remained onboard for the boat ride back to the docks in Urca. Many of the conversations revolved around the success of the days’ events. Former world tour competitor and a participant in the 2017 event, Jefferson Urdan summed up the thoughts of many in saying that, “I would like to see a world tour event over there!” When asked via Facebook about his 2010 free surf session at Shorebreak, 2015 APB Men’s World Champion Jared Houston (South Africa) replied, “Definitely a unique wave and a bodyboard-only zone. I’d love to score it pumping one day!” With an expressed desire to build this event into something bigger, and a growing international interest in this venue, could we possibly see the Shorebreak Challenge evolve into a world tour specialty event similar to the likes of Tand (South Africa), Annaelle (France), or Shark Island (Australia)? Time will tell but, for now, the Shorebreak Challenge has shown the world that there are more than just beach break waves on offer in Brazil.
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