IQUIQUE, CHILE (TUESDAY, June 25, 2019): VERGARA X SOTO PRO JUNIOR FINAL SETTLED. THE WOMEN SHINE. A SHOCK EXIT FOR ALEXANDRA RINDER.

The waves continued to be in high supply at Punta Dos for the Bellavista Pro, Iquique today with Pro Junior Semi Finals and 3 Rounds of Women’s competition being held.

VERGARA WINS A SEESAWING BATTLE AND SOTO CONTINUES TO PROVE HE IS A CLASS ACT 

The Pro Junior division at the Bellavista Pro, Iquique has not failed to provide some very impression action for spectators and viewers online alike. The level on display in these exceptional conditions at Punta Dos provides great hope that the future for bodyboarding is bright.

The first semi-final of the Pro Junior division saw Arica’s Rodrigo Silva (CHILE) and Iquique local Lucas Vergara (CHILE) face off in a battle that saws some quality aerial moves on the lefthander play off against long tube rides on the right. The first to strike was Vergara, who managed to find an early tube-ride on the right-hander at Punta Dos and thread the barrel perfectly before finishing with a rollo on the shallow end section. This ride saw him awarded with 7.5 points from the judges and immediately put the pressure on Silva to find a response, which came in the form of a clean ARS on the lefthander for a 6. Silva backed up this score with another 5-point ride, holding the lead as Vergara waited patiently for another wave.

This patience by Vergara paid off with around 9 minutes remaining in the heat, backdooring a long tube at the main peak of the right-hander again at Punta Dos and completing this ride with two rollos back-to-back on the shallow, urchin-encrusted reef. This patient reply provided a strong second score for Vergara and with a combined heat score total of 14 to Silva’s 11, the rest of the heat was his to hold onto. Silva did manage to find another score to build his total to 12.15, but in the end, this was not enough and the place in the final went to Vergara.

The second semi-final of the Pro Junior division saw the very much in-form local rider Joaquin Soto (CHILE) who has been delivering sensational results in the Open Men’s division too,

Soto kicked off the semi-final with a deep tube going right at Punta Dos, that saw him disappear deep behind the curtain, only exiting long after the barrel completed on the foam ball. He completed the ride with a clean rollo onto the dangerously shallow mid-section of the reef. This score set the tone for the semi-final.

Joe Rosero (ECUADOR) answered back with a clean ARS on the lefthander for a 6.25 to build on an earlier 4.5 he was awarded for a smaller ARS. Like the previous semi-final though, it was clear that the judges were awarding larger score for waves taken on the longer righthander, which offered more opportunities for longer and deeper barrels, with clean air sections.

With 11 minutes remaining in the heat, Soto struck again, finding another deep barrel on a larger right-hander and punctuating this ride with a larger rollo to build on his previous scores. His heat score total grew to 13 and this was enough to hold the heat despite later efforts from Rosero.

It will be an all local final at the Bellavista Pro for the Pro Juniors and with the performances we saw today, you can be sure that it will be a spectacular final.

THE WORLD’S BEST FEMALE BODYBOARDERS SHINE IN PERFECT CONDITIONS

There had already been some great heats surfed the previous day by the women in the early rounds, with the perfect 10 from Suy-Yin Estay (CHILE) and the heroics of Soraya Valdivieso (CHILE) still fresh in everyone’s memories – now was the time for the current crop of the world’s best riders to take to the water.

With so many world titles shared between them, it could be argued that the women’s world tour race is much more competitive than the men’s – Ayaka Suzuki (JAPAN), Joana Schenker (PORTUGAL), Isabella Sousa (BRAZIL), Alexandra Rinder (CANARY ISLANDS) and Neymara Carvalho (BRAZIL) all here in Iquique to continue the battle for the ultimate prize in bodyboarding. With perfect waves on offer, and the qualifiers from the early rounds eager to perform some upsets, the anticipation for this round of bodyboarding to kick-off was palpable at Punta Dos.

2017 World Champion Joana Schenker was impressed and proud of the performances from the women today at Punta Dos:“The conditions today were pretty good for the women. The waves we had allowed everyone to surf with a lot of confidence and that is why I think we saw such a high level. There were some really good scores today and every heat was battled out until the very end.”

In Round 3 of competition, it was the top-seeded riders who all managed to take the top positions in each heat. But not all of these wins were dominant.

In the first heat, 2017 World Champion Joana Schenker (Portugal) managed a very narrow victory over Sari Ohara (JAPAN) who has recently been working with Ryan Hardy for coaching in Indonesia, Teresa Padrela (Portugal) and Maira Viana (Brazil). The lead changes multiple times throughout the opening heat, and in the end only 1.4 points separated all four riders. In a final flurry of rides in the final minute of the heat, the victory went to Schenker (Portugal).

In Round 5 later, Schenker (Portugal) managed to secure her place in a Quarter Final match up with Ayaka Suzuki (JAPAN) by launching a solid rollo on the outside section earlier in the heat to have a less nail-biting progression.

Schenker (Portugal) reflects on her efforts following the day’s competition:

“I felt pretty confident out there. I did have a chance to surf this wave a few times before this event started but it is really hard to find the better waves free-surfing out there. So now today, since we had the line-up to ourselves in each heat, it was way easier to find the best waves and to ride them the proper way.”

“This was really my strategy – find the best waves and try to give the judges what they wanted to see!”

The remaining heats in Round 3 were much clearer victories for Ayaka Suzuki (JAPAN), Isabella Sousa (BRAZIL) and Alexandra Rinder (CANARY ISLANDS) who all took to the skies to secure much higher heat score totals. Both Suzuki (JAPAN) and Rinder (CANARY ISLANDS) had slower starts to their heats but eventually prevailed after selecting the right set waves to execute their moves. Conversely, Isabella Sousa (BRAZIL) was in brutal form from the very beginning of her heat, launching a strong ARS on the lefthander after a beautiful fade to vertical bottom turn and also finding a clean tube ride on the right hander.

The action during the early heats of the Women’s competition today were exceptional and the repercharge round saw big wave charger and Chilean super star Valentina Diaz (CHILE) and previous world champion Neymara Carvalho (BRAZIL) managing to rejoin the new school batch of world champions in Round 5. But not all of these world champions would be able to continue their dominant form…

A CLEAN TUBE IN THE DYING SECONDS FOR ANAIS VELIS SHOCKS ALEXANDRA RINDER

Alexandra Rinder (CANARY ISLANDS) took the early lead in Heat 3 of Round 5 against Valentina Diaz (CHILE) and Anais Velis (CHILE) with a pair of average scores as a foundation. This lead was taken away mid-way through the heat when Diaz (CHILE) took off late on a large set wave on the right-hander and scooped into a beautiful barrel that was finished with large rollo that was landed cleanly. This score earned Diaz (CHILE) 8 points and elevated her to the lead.

Rinder (CANARY ISLANDS) held onto second position for the duration of the heat and was unable to find the scoring potential necessary to take back the lead. Anais Velis (CHILE) was stuck in third place for the entire heat, holding a 4.5 and a back-up of a 2. Velis (CHILE) didn’t look like she would be able to match the level of the other two riders in the heat and in the dying seconds, she needed a 6.51 to leap ahead of Rinder (CANARY ISLANDS) to take second position.

Velis (CHILE) did hold priority as only seconds remained and the wave she needed found the reef in time, seeing her ride a clean tube and exit with a large rollo to not only get the score she needed to push Rinder into third place, but to jump all the way to the number one position.

This effort by Velis (CHILE) proves that with perfect waves on offer and the consistency of these waves being so high, not even world champions are safe at Punta Dos.

WHAT’S NEXT?

With a predicted increase in swell tomorrow, competition will resume with an estimated 7:30 am for the Open Mens Round 4.

Details on the statistics of each heat during the event can be viewed by downloading the Stact App.

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