TEN – TANNER MCDANIEL ARRIVES – JACOB ROMERO FLIES
Arica, Chile, 9th June, 2018
A moment in time in Arica, when the clock was counting down steadily towards zero and Tanner McDaniel needed a 9-point plus ride to take the lead away from the local favourite, will go down in history for two reasons – 1) it was one of the best competitive heats ever surfed in bodyboarding, and 2) Tanner McDaniel morphed from being the teenager we all knew had the potential in him, to being the man we all know can now win a world title.
This all took place in the Round 4 man-on-man heats, and there is much more to report about that. But let’s take it back a step and talk about the deciding Round 3 performances.
Amaury Lavernhe finished at the top of the leaderboard for this year’s Arica Cultura Bodyboard Pro following a huge flip and then long tube ride under priority in his Round 3 heat. Lavernhe managed to improve on his already high scores and put his stamp on the competition and is definitely one rider to expect near the podium. Iain Campbell managed to remain at the top also, finishing just behind Lavernhe, with Pierre Louis-Costes in 3rd position.
Big movers in this final Round of the new format were Jared Houston, Jacob Romero and Tristan Roberts, who all needed to find significant rides to see them jump from down the leaderboard into the top 16 cut-off. All riders secured positions in the top 16 in 10th, 6th and 4th position respectively by launching large reverse airs off the right-hand section at El Flopos.
The majority of rides at El Flopos this year have been taken on the more consequential left-hand ride that finishes on near dry reef this year. The smaller swell in the earlier rounds was the determinant of this trend as the right-hander doesn’t really find its teeth until the swell exceeds 2 metres. With the swell and period growing over the last few days, the right-hander was available for these riders to take to the skies. All three of these exceptional athletes completed their air reverses in spectacular style, but it was Romero who got the first 10-point score of the competition. Needless to say that the crowd went wild, and social media is now awash with viral posts of the epic launch.
Other notable movers up the ranks from Round 2 were: Mike Stewart, who managed to find enough scoring potential to narrowly improve his position to 15th; Lewy Finnegan, who also managed to take to the skies to secure his spot in 13th position; and Joshua Burguete-Kirkman, who again found a long tube ride to leap from 21st up to 11th position on the leaderboard.
A special mention should also be made of Alex Uranga, who put in a strong performance despite his injuries in Round 1. The Basque super star didn’t show much sign of discomfort as he launched an ARS in his final round, landing heavily in the flats and improving his position on the leaderboard in the process. All present for his efforts agree that he went above and beyond given the circumstances.
The day was not without challenges and controversies. The live stream for the event suffered technical difficulties during the morning and given the complicated nature of the location and responsibility for the site. The APB and event promoters apologize to viewers for the problems today and appreciate your understanding that we are working within limited budgets to deliver this content.
The controversy of the day was regarding a last minute interference call between Sacha Damjanic and Antonio Cardoso in the dying seconds of Heat 6. With only 10 seconds remaining in the heat, priority was held by Cardoso as large set waves approached. Damjanic was in dire need of a scoring ride and stroked into the wave as well despite not having priority and has received a fine of $500 USD for his actions.
With the top 16 decided, event officials decided to head straight into the man-on-man elimination heats beginning with a see-sawing battle between Iain Campbell and Yoshua Toledo. Both riders exploded out of the gates with a large backflip from Toledo and boosting invert from Campbell. Both riders maintained a high level throughout the 30 minute exchange but it was defending world champ Campbell who came away victorious.
Heat 2 saw Jacob Romero and Tristan Roberts take to the growing right-handers at El Flopos in a quieter exchange. Roberts found some ramps to launch backflips on, but the wave size was not enough to stay ahead of Romero’s air reverse attack.
Heat 3 was explosive with Alan Munoz and Tanner McDaniel throwing literally everything they had at the growing left hand ramps at El FLopos. Munoz led for most of the heat with a large backflip and air forward as his scoring rides. McDaniel launched a solid air reverse but which had him still needing a near perfect score to take the lead. A large set wave approached and McDaniel launched an even bigger air reverse in the last few minutes of the heat to earn him the 10 points needed.
The final heat of the day was between Mike Stewart and Antonio Cardoso. The waves seemed to turn off a little and the wind was beginning to mess with the texture of the waves. Neither rider was able to find a definitively high score, but Cardoso did enough to progress.
The man-on-man heats will continue early tomorrow morning with Jared Houston taking on Joshua Burguete-Kirkman first up. Tune in to the live stream at: https://apbtour.com/live/
Images: Pablo Jimenez, Patrick Perez