Arica Chile – 9th July 2017
Pierre Louis Costes asserted himself as one of the greatest competitive riders in history with his dominant performance in the final of the Arica Chile Pro today. 20 out of the 40 minutes in the final saw Pierre keep Iain Campbell (ZA), Roberto Bruno (BR) and Chilean Alan Munoz (CL) in combination situation (needing two scores to catch up with Pierre).
Today was a memorable day for the sport of bodyboarding, as well as one that very much tightened the world title race for 2017.
Competition kicked off in the morning with the completion of Heat 4 of Round 3, which was cut short the previous day due to a power outage to the site. 10 minutes remained on the clock and Jared Houston (ZA) was in a dominant position, but Matias Dias (CL), Miguel Rodriguez (PE) and Yoshua Toledo (CL) weren’t going to let him move through to the quarter finals without a fight.
The swell had cleaned up significantly overnight, with competitors greeted by consistent 6 to 10 foot waves with favourable winds.
The 24-hour heat delay didn’t break Houston’s stride though, with him picking up where he left off, finding some decent barrel rides on the more groomed swell. Yoshua Toledo (CL) could find the scores to follow close behind Houston (ZA) into the quarter finals.
Heat 5 saw Chilean wild cards Sacha Damjanic (CL) and Kevin Torres (CL) energised by the growing crowd at Flopo’s, defeating Maxime Castillo (FR) and wild card Brahim Iddouch (MA). The final heat of Round 3 was an extremely tight affair with all riders posting exceptional scores in the perfect conditions. In the end, it was Iain Campbell (ZA) taking the win, earning 8.5 for a long right hand barrel, with Alan Munoz (CL) following him into the quarter finals.
Quarter Final 1 was a very slow heat, with Australia’s Joshua Burguete-Kirkman (AU) getting busy in the beginning, but unable to post a decent score. Jacob Romero (HA) and Roberto Bruno (BR) were more patient, finding stronger scores (after 10 minutes had elapsed in the 30-minute heat) with Romero (HA) launching a flip to post an excellent score and Roberto Bruno (BR) linking together spins and rolls to also build his scores. Burguete-Kirkman (AU) was able to get within striking range of Bruno (BR) with only minutes remaining, but was unable to find a suitable wave to deliver.
Quarter Final 2 saw Pierre Louis Costes (FR) and Antonio Cardoso (PT) advance ahead of Diego Sepulveda (CL), with Costes (FR) attempting a 720, sending the crowd into a spin themselves. Cardoso (PT) was more patient than in previous heats, finding the rides that mattered, and progressing close behind Costes (FR). Sepulveda (CL) was within striking range, but once again, could not find the ride to deliver the result he needed.
Quarter Final 3 saw Jared Houston (ZA) and Alan Munoz (CL) advance ahead of Sacha Damjanic (CL), with Houston (ZA) clinical in his approach, mixing long barrel rides with some solid inverts to finish with a commanding 15.75. Once again, Munoz (CL) was close behind, also posting excellent scores to finish with 14.65.
Quarter Final 4 saw Iain Campbell (ZA) continue his domination during this event, posting a heat score total of 15.25 after finding some long tube rides on the right hander, finishing every wave in style. Yoshua Toledo (CL) was able to edge out fellow Chilean Kevin Torres (CL) to book a spot in the semi finals.
The swell maintained its size and perfection into the semi-finals, with expectations high for some quality performances from the remaining athletes in the competition.
In Semi Final 1, all riders managed to find an excellent ride each, with the difference separating them being the ability to find a solid second wave score. With conditions this perfect, it was back and forth between the riders from start to finish. Pierre Louis Costes (FR) and Jacob Romero (HA) were early leaders, Romero (HA) launching a solid air reverse off the right hand ramp, and Costes (FR) finding a good barrel on the left hander. Antonio Cardoso (PT) also managed to find some quality rides, grabbing some tube-time and finishing manoeuvres, but was ultimately unable to keep up with the other three riders in the heat. It was Roberto Bruno (BR) who provided a late charge in the heat after finding a large barrel on the lefthander that had the crowd cheering.
This ride from Bruno (BR) put Romero (HA) on the proverbial ‘ropes’, needing to find an excellent score to get back into contention. It also put Costes (FR) into second position, also within reach of Romero (HA). Jacob Romero (HA) is well known for his ability to launch off the biggest waves on the planet and in the dying moments of the heat, he attempted to use this ability to grab a place in the final.
Travelling at speed on the right hander, the section grew in front of him as he adjusted his line. His bottom turn was timed well, but his speed failed him, launching a reverse but not achieving enough projection to avoid falling into the ‘V’. Soon after this attempt, Pierre Louis Costes (FR) stroked into a lefthander deep on the reef, racing at first in the barrel, then stalling for the latter part of the section, finishing with a backflip into the channel.
This was a sign of what was to come…
Semi Final 2 was also extremely close, with Iain Campbell (ZA) continuing his dominant form. A long right hand wall stretched out before Iain, as he looked far ahead for the section to launch off. The elements and his abilities came together in perfect harmony to see him launch one of the biggest backflips in competitive history, earning him 10 points. He later backed this score up with a long barrel on the left hander to seal his spot in the final.
The remaining competitors in the heat were forced to fight it out for the remaining place, with it coming down to the two Chilean riders, Alan Munoz (CL) and Yoshua Toledo (CL) being the centre of attention as Jared Houston (ZA) was in a combination scenario in the final moments. Heavy barrels were exchanged between both of the Chilean riders, with Alan Munoz (CL) ultimately out-surfing the very much in form Toledo for the remaining place in the event final.
Jared Houston (ZA) did manage to break out of combination late in the heat, but the clock didn’t give him any time to get back in contention.
The final was a decidedly on-sided affair, with Pierre Louis Costes holding the other three riders in combination for the second half of the heat, after finding a heavy left hand barrel with a smooth roll to finish and then launching an absolutely crazy air forward out of the left end bowl.
Roberto Bruno (BR) did manage to eventually find two strong scores on the left hand barrel to post what would have been a winning score in any other heat of the competition, and Alan Munoz (CL) launched a late invert that would have to be one of the biggest ever attempted but could not hold the landing. Iain Campbell’s golden run throughout the event came to an end, with him finding big barrels, but no exits.
An emotional Pierre Louis Costes dedicated the win to his new born son back in Portugal and all riders were applauding his efforts.
Costes’ performance solidified his place as one of the greatest competitive bodyboarders of all time, and also earned him some valuable points towards his world title defense.
Riders are now off to Antofagasta for the 4 Star-rated Antofagasta Bodyboard Festival, with a week of large swell expected.
As usual, tune into the live webcast for all of the action!