Pro Juniors shine in first day of competition in Viana.

The APB QEST-rated Viana World Bodyboard Championships started today in Praia da Arda, with decent waves for the Rounds 1 and 2 of the Pro Junior division and Round 1 of the Open Mens. The swell built steadily throughout the day up to around 2 metres with a high competitive level in the water.

In the men’s Open division, Ricardo Rosmaninho of Portugal was the stand-out performer of the day. Rosmaninho not only won his heat but had one of the best heat score totals of the day with 14:25 in total, which secured him a position in Round 2 facing off against current world champion and world tour ratings leader Iain Campbell.

Rosmaninho was feeling very confident after his first heat:

“I’m in good form. I was third in the Portuguese Cup recently and also third in the National, so I’m confident.”

“The goal is to return to strong form, but today it was difficult, and it will only get more difficult. But it’s the World Cup and that’s the way it has to be. ”

The Viana World Bodyboard Championships will also crown a Pro Junior Champion this year for the first time and Portuguese rider Rodrigo Lopes, who is also the European Junior Champion, showed that he is a serious contender for the title, winning his first two heats of the day.

“It is a unique event, with many athletes from many countries, with a very high level, but the goal is to reach the final,” said Rodrigo Lopes, 17, who excelled in the difficult conditions. “The waves were closing a lot but getting my heats through first gave me a lot of confidence.”

In the opening round of competition, 16-year-old Hawaiian Kainoa Lono was a standout, securing the highest heat score total of the round. Unfortunately, Lono was unable to continue this form into Round 2, eliminated by Carlo Costas and Liam Lucas.

Round 2 saw one of the highest single wave scores of the event awarded to Nicolas Capony who managed to time to perfection the steadily building backwash with the bowl section of an inside left-hander. He projected from the bowl section out into the flats and completing a huge ARS. 9 points were awarded to go with his 7.25.

Mike Stewart, the undisputed greatest bodyboarder of all time, was on the beach at Praia da Arda during competition today and will compete in Round 2 of the Pro Men’s tomorrow

The presence of the 9-time world champion in Viana, the first place where he competed outside Hawaii in 1996, is more than symbolic.

Mike Stewart explained:

“I have a long history here. For me, Viana is one of the cradles of the world of bodyboarding. It is a very progressive and modern event here and it is gratifying to contribute.”

At 55, Mike Stewart is still a formidable opponent in any event. His view of his longevity:

“I never thought I was going to do this at this age. Today I feel like I am exploring new boundaries and I am always very curious to explore my ability and thus redefine what people can do long after 40 years. I do not do it to deliberately inspire anyone, but if this comes as a consequence, it gives me immense joy.”

As for the Viana World Bodyboard Championship performance, Mike is cautiously confident: “I’m not sure why but I usually get good results here. We will see…”

Next call for competition will be at 8:15 am Portugal time tomorrow.

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All pics by: Tó Mané  www.tomanephotos.com

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