PLC & DUBB set the benchmark in Nazaré
The forecast said that there would be light offshore winds and a larger swell averaging 6 to 8 feet. The forecasts were right.
Today in Nazare saw many riders deliver what was expected and others delivering even more.
Let’s start at the top.
Dave Hubbard has been in lethal form all week in Portugal. Last year he was a regular on the prone tour and a rider to be taken very seriously in competition. In 2017 he finished in the top 24 cut-off and has been a standout at Praia do Norte in years past. Back in 2016 he was awarded ten points for a stratospheric invert. Today he collected another 10 for his efforts.
Today he was able to collect some solid scores in his first sessions round, but it was in his second round where he cemented why he is still one of the best riders in the world right now.
With the tide rushing in, the waves were breaking ever closer to the shore at Praia do Norte, making rides at the take-off very much an unknown in terms of what would happen next for a rider. Dave Hubbard scooped a clean bottom turn on a solid left-hand wave and disappeared in the tube, only to pop through the foam-ball and then launch a lofty air rollo on to the shore. The wave had the crowd cheering and elevated Dave Hubbard to number 2 on the leaderboard, effectively guaranteeing him a place in the sudden death round of 16.
He finished number 2 on the leaderboard for the day because Pierre Louis Costes was the other 10-point ride recipient for the day. In typical form, PLC took off on what would have been called an average-sized wave for the day and built up speed fast before launching a huge forward air spin out of the bowl. He completed the maneuver perfectly, but he wasn’t done there, continuing the ride and blasting a lightning-fast reverse floater off the oncoming closeout section. After so many years and so many tens, it shouldn’t be surprising that PLC was able to deliver again at Nazare.
There are many stories at this event, but the main one is the world title.
PLC certainly showed that he is serious about claiming another title with his efforts today. Iain Campbell was also in strong form in his first heat of the day, locking in an 8.5, 6.15 and a 6 to see him in 3rd place on the leaderboard. Tanner McDaniel sits in 6th position on the leaderboard with a total of 18.75 while Jared Houston is sitting in a more precarious position of the leaderboard in 14th position. Houston is holding a 7 and a 6.75 so a strong third ride will see him in a good position to advance.
The surprise packages for today were seen from the qualifiers from the trials. Isaias Ravyc and Socrates Santana both of Brazil are in the top 10 on the leaderboard and proving why they are riders to take seriously next year on the full tour. A standout move from Santana was a high-flying reverse air in his 2nd round of the sessions. Sammy Morretino is another trialists who was making moves in the sessions rounds, launching a number of flips, rollos and inverts to see him currently in 12th position. Sammy rarely sits still in a heat, so maybe this is a strategy for other riders to consider as we enter the final round of sessions competition.
Stay tuned for all live action tomorrow morning when competition resumes on apbtour.com/live or APB Facebook