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After a week of enjoying Madeira The Bodyboard Girls Experience finally got underway at Fajã de Areia in a clean 2-3 feet swell this morning.
Sari Ohhara (Japan) set the pace early with a solid combo to ARS that netted a 9.5 average from the judges.
Other outstanding performances from day one of the competition included Traci Effinger (Hawaii) Neymara Carvalho (Brazil) andAlexandra Rinder (Canary Islands) who all found clean faces and punchy pockets to advance.
Shock eliminations included Ayaka Suzuki (Japan) & Teresa Almeida (Portugal) who both struggled to find decent scores at the random reef break.
Teresa was locked in a race for the ETB title with Schenker but her early exit brought that dream to a speedy halt.
So the big story of the day belonged to Portugals Joana Schenker who earned enough points at this event to secure her 4th ETB title for 2017.
“I’m really happy. It’s a big goal every year to get the title again, and today the conditions were pretty tough for everyone, particularly given the fact that all the girls from the world tour are here this year” said Joana.
After two rounds of competition the pro women’s division was put on hold until tomorrow when a bigger more powerful swell is expected.
Organises rolled through the afternoon with a local junior tournament featuring some of the upcoming girls from Madeira and the Portugues mainland.
It’s been quite a week for Joanna Schenker, firstly winning the four-star event in Sintra, then securing the ETB title for 2017 today and now locked in a race for the her maiden world title.
Her main rival is Alexandra Rinda from the Canary Islands, a former world champion who thrives under pressure.
As it turns out Joana has Alex in her next heat along with two other former world champions from Brazil in the form of Isabela Sousa &Neymara Carvalho.
When quizzed about the world championship opportunity Joana was quick to reply.
“I can’t even think about that right now because I’ve never been in this position. The win in Sintra opened the door but to tell the truth I wasn’t even thinking about it, I was more interested in getting a good ranking. This wasn’t my main goal coming into the European leg so I’ll take it heat by heat and in the end if it’s enough great but if not I’ll be happy anyway“.
Portuguese riders have secured ISA world amateur titles before but never the coveted APB world title so all eyes will be on heat number twotomorrow.