Antofagasta Bodyboard Festival Day 6
Moroccan wildcard and aerial enthusiast Brahim Iddouch (MAR) has won the Antofagasta Bodyboard Festival Pro Men’s division today in rough but contestable 2 – 3 metre waves at La Cupula, Antofagasta. A consistently in-form Iain Campbell (RSA) simply could not find the waves or the scores to keep up with the high-flying Moroccan in the Men’s Final, seeing him on the podium for the 3rd consecutive time and very much in the race for the world title this year.
Iddouch (MAR) was in scintillating form from the get go, launching a huge ARS in the opening minutes of the 30 minute final, but failing to control the intense landing. Not one to hold back, Iddouch (MAR) shook it off to quickly post the scores he needed early to stay ahead of Campbell (RSA) who seemed out of synch with the waves compared to previous heats.
Iddouch (MAR) understandably ecstatic after the win, particularly given his preparation:
“This is just a crazy thing for this to happen. The last time I won was in 2012 in Brazil, so after that I have never won an APB event again. It was really difficult this year to prepare because since November 2016 I haven’t been able to get too much surf because I hurt my knee. After this I surfed maybe 20 times before coming here, and then I didn’t surf a month and a half because of Ramadan. So, I went straight to Arica, surfed there, then came here and it just happened! I didn’t think that I was going to win, but that is competition.”
“In terms of a strategy for the competition. We have a wave in Morocco that is kind of like this, so I have a lot of confidence in waves like this, heavy waves. So, when I come to the surf here I had a chance to put some good scores together. Going for a big flips and choosing the good waves was important. The strategy that I did, I just watched the other riders before the final (Uri Valadao and Roberto Bruno), and the approach was just to make big moves, and this worked out.”
Even more remarkable was the win given the field he had to surf through to get there in the first place:
“Having Iain in the final was a challenge, for sure. But all my heats in this event have been difficult: the first was with Tristan and Maxime; the second was with Jacob Romero; then with Maxime and Dave Hubbard; then it was with Uri Valadao. All those riders are really good, the best in the world. So, I just had the chance to make every heat and make the best moves that I can get in each heat.”
A clearly disappointed Iain Campbell (RSA) wasn’t completely deflated after the result in the final, given that he will most likely jump into first place on the ratings for the world title:
“It’s hard to say how I feel like being in the lead on the rankings. I have only ever been here once before (last year). So, I am kinda trying to brush it off a little bit and not put too much pressure on myself for the rest of the year I guess.”
Iain was in the running for the world title last year leading into the final event at Fronton, a situation that was new to him at the time, and the pressure of a potential world championship was a lot to take in.
“I definitely put too much pressure on myself towards the end of last year. To be in this position again is pretty good and I am feeling pretty confident. I know that my riding is going well, with these last three podiums showing it I feel.”
With around two months until the next 4 Star event at Sintra, Campbell is taking the time to enjoy some down time, develop other projects and begin preparing for chasing the world title again.
“My preparation for now is to go home and relax for a bit. I really need to take a break, just to get the amp back. Then I will possibly look to start training and just surfing a lot, and I have a movie I am actually trying to do for the end of the year so that will be in production the whole time I am at home.”
The finals day, just like the organization of this entire event in Antofagasta, was exceptional to say the least. The larger swell that greeted riders on the 6th day of competition was significantly larger, enabling more aerial maneuvers and also variety in the riders’ repertoires.
Apart from the well-earned victory by Iddouch (MAR), other highlights from the final day of competition of note included:
- Brazil’s Roberto Bruno finding another podium finish (3rd) and establishing himself as one of the best chances Brazil might have of a title this year;
- The performance of young Brazilian Joao Paulo, who defeated an in-form David Hubbard (HAW) to progress to the Quarter Finals. This was his first ever trip outside of Brazil, and his performance was nothing short of exceptional, defeating Jared Houston (RSA) on his way to the Quarter Finals; and
- Maxime Castillo (FRA) who eliminated Chilean favorite Alan Munoz to book a place in the Quarter Finals, deploying big flips and rollos along the way.
APB Tour CEO Alex Leon was overwhelmed with the organization and professionalism put on display at this year’s event:
“I could not be happier with everything that has happened here at Antofagasta. The crew have put on such an amazing show for everyone, locals and riders included. We are really stoked to have so much support for the sport in Chile generally, but when you have organisers of this caliber taking control of events and delivering great outcomes to sponsors and riders, it makes our job much easier.”
The next event on the World Tour is the Tahara Pro in Japan, which will feature both Men’s and Women’s divisions, but which is a lower rated event (1 Star).
The European leg of the tour is where the action will really heat up starting with the Sintra Pro in early September.