Some big names fall. Ryan Hardy not here to make up the numbers. Lionel Medina is here.
An incredible day of action and upsets at the Fronton King today in the Canary Islands. Jeff Hubbard, Mike Stewart, Maxime Castillo and Brahim Iddouch were uncharacteristically eliminated from the event today in the challenging wind-swept conditions. Hubbard was unable to find the right waves to get him on the board, while Mike Stewart did find some quality rides but needed more. Maxime Castillo was eliminated in a lackluster heat by local rider Jonathon Vega and Joshua Burguete-Kirkman of Australia.
Brahim Iddouch was in a commanding position for most of his heat against Uri Valadao, Lionel Medina and Jeff Hubbard until both Valadao and Medina made a late comeback to leap frog the Moroccan aerialist. The local Pro Junior rider Medina in particular showed a level of maturity beyond his years in this heat, launching a flying backflip in the final seconds to advance ahead of Brahim Iddouch. A truly remarkable effort from the young rider.
Tanner McDaniel was another standout of the morning, launching some of the best air reverses of the competition and going for a huge loop in his Round 1 heat. But the best of the day went to a true legend of the sport Ryan Hardy.
Ryan Hardy is the APB Wildcard in this event and after a lackluster performance in round 1, Hardy was out in Round 2 to make amends. And did he ever!
Left and right, Hardy was in ferocious form. A huge spin out of the pocket on an early ride, then a long, draining tube on the right saw him ahead of the pack. He wasn’t done there though, finding two more lefts that saw him launch a huge roll onto the shallow ledge and also sneak into a heaving barrel and exiting with a beautiful air reverse. He was simply unstoppable and if this form continues, he will be very hard to stop. The crowd and the judges liked what they saw and the cheers could be heard all the way from Australia.
The APB Wildcards are great tools for bringing guys like Ryan Hardy back into competition from time to time. Many of the top riders from Australia are working on other projects in life, whether they be businesses, studies or building new careers post-professional bodyboarding. The tour misses them, and it is truly spectacular when they are brought into events like these to put in performances like the one from Ryan Hardy today.
Rough seas and strong winds are predicted for the coming weekend so it looks like competition will be on hold for a while. It is rumoured that a Thursday/Friday finish is most likely, but stay tuned to the APB Facebook page to keep up to date.