THE REAL DEAL – TANNER MCDANIEL RISES TO THE CHALLENGE IN HISTORIC PERFECT 20 FINAL AT ARICA
Tanner McDaniel looked dangerous in earlier rounds, but in the finals he was lethal. He defeated two world champions, first Iain Campbell then Pierre Louis-Costes, to claim his first ever APB Tour victory.
The conditions for today in Arica were some of the best that have ever been seen at this location. A solid 2 to 3 metre swell greeted competitors in the morning and the action was non-stop from the beginning. The local community turned up in force to see some bodyboarding for the history books.
Lewy Finnegan was one of the riders vying for a coveted place in the finals. His hopes were dashed at the hands of Brazilian veteran Dudu Pedra in the 4th round:
“What we witnessed from the top floor of the scaffolding in the final day of competition will be ingrained in the minds of all who were part of the day. I’ve been to all of the competitions over the last 4 years on the APB tour and today has gone down as the highest level of riding I have been a part of.”
“Jacob Romero was my pick to take the win. His approach yesterday in the scary right bowls reshaped what I thought was possible and I really thought that he would carry his momentum into his heats today. He did perform, but it wasn’t enough today.”
Iain Campbell was in form the whole event, until he met Tanner McDaniel in the Quarter Finals. The defending world champion looked unstoppable despite his injuries suffered in Round 1.
“I remember thinking last week that surfing was on a higher level than bodyboarding because of what I saw on the live feed from Keramas. But after seeing the last 2 days of competition here in Arica I truly believe that we have once again proven that bodyboarding is the superior way to ride big, barreling waves.
I want to thank the top 16 in this event for reaffirming my faith in the sport of bodyboarding. Even though it wasn’t me who stood out in the event I still feel like a part of the madness that proved bodyboarding to be the most badass sport in the world.”
Jared Houston was explosive in his Round 4 match-up against Joshua Burguete-Kirkman, who was in a combination situation from the early stages of the match-up, with Houston launching a large backflip to roll on one wave, then an air forward on another scoring ride to win definitively.
“I fell in love with bodyboarding all over again today. Contests in good waves show the sport/riding style in the best possible light, and I’ll support and be a part of that for as long as I can. People say the level of competition isn’t what it was 5 years ago, but to those people I say you’re tripping. I’ve been around through some of the most hi-fi years the sport has seen and this event was most likely the pinnacle. I’m stoked with a 3rd and looking forward to seeing what Brazil holds!”
Jacob Romero was on fire from the final round of the of the leaderboard stage of the competition. Despite his elimination at the hands of Iain Campbell in the Quarter Finals, he was pleased with the new format and the performance of his long-time friend:
“To be honest, I came to Arica because of the new WGS format. The APB has been stagnant with the format for years and I was getting tired of doing the same thing. After competing and being a part of this new format, I can say it made me love competing again!
Everyone was going all-out and it was refreshing to have something new. I am amped on my performance but even more amped on Tanner’s win. I’ve known him since he was 12 years old and he’s grown so much, and this win was only the beginning. Yessah!”
And it was Tanner McDaniel who truly took the sport into a new era:
“This is my fifth year competing in Arica. Every single year I’ve been here I’ve been consistently blown away by the level of riding from everyone in this event, especially the finalists.”
Tanner kept the crowd onsite and online entertained every time he put the competition jersey on. He was performing at the height of his capacity, but knew he had more to deliver:
“Going into the final day I was really content with how I had already done so far in the event, but at the same time I felt like my work wasn’t done yet.
To me, the Arica comp is one of the major events were you really can show what you are made of. I found a strange clarity in my last few heats that I haven’t experienced before. It just felt like things were going to come together for me.
Winning my first event against PLC in the finals was a dream come true. Not to mention my first perfect heat. I can’t wait to come back next year to see how much higher level is.”
The final will go down as one of the greatest in history. 9-time world champion Mike Stewart agreed:
“Today was a very significant day in the progression of bodyboarding. Tanner McDaniel, not only made his first final but won it with the highest final total in history – 20 points.
In convincing style against the very best technical riders of this era, he lived up to the performance everyone has hoped for and in so doing opened a new level of performance wave-riding.”
Pierre Louis-Costes, multiple world title holder, was in control for most of the final, but after Tanner took away the moment he may have said it best, in one of the most gracious speeches for a runner-up ever:
“Tanner is the future of the sport and this is the first of many victories for him to come.”
Only time will tell…
All Images: Pablo Jimenez, Patrick Perez, Josh Tabone