ARICA, CHILE (FRIDAY, JULY 19th, 2019): BLACKWELL RIDES DEEP TO GLORY. JACK BAKER RETURNS WITH BETTER FORTUNES. BRAGA EXITS EARLY FROM COMPETITION.

 

The first day of competition at Arica saw clean 2-metre waves offering quality left and righthanders to trialists, all keen to secure one of the coveted 6 positions in the Main Event of competition. It wasn’t perfect by the high standards of Flopos on its best day, so high scoring potential was found through wave selection and the completion of rides. While most heats saw average scores counted, there were certainly some memorable moments from competition today.

 

BLACKWELL MAKES AN IMPOSSIBLE BARREL

 

This is Davis Blackwell’s (AUSTRALIA) first solid season of competing on the APB Tour. While he did join fellow ‘3 Amigos’ George Humphreys (AUSTRALIA) and Lewy Finnegan (AUSTRALIA) for the Nazare event last year (and where he advanced beyond the Sessions Rounds) this is his first real go at competing consistently at the APB Tour level.

 

His campaign on the tour has been mixed so far, performing well in Brazil, but then exiting early from competition in Iquique and Antofagasta. He came to Arica just outside the top 20 on the APB rankings and seemingly ready to make a statement about his true potential and intentions on tour this year, made clear by the impossible 8.5 barrel he found himself in today.

 

In a heat that was very flat in terms of standout performances during the 25 minutes, Davis Blackwell’s tube on the shallow lefthand ride at El Flopos was certainly enough to refresh interest. Taking off at the main peak, Blackwell made a sharp bottom turn and then held the perfect line to race the cascading curtain towards the exit at the keyhole. He was impossibly deep in the tube and most observers thought he had no chance of exiting. But exit he did, with the bright red competition jersey cruising at top speed, never slowing down, all the way to the end of the ride.

 

Blackwell exited full of confidence, chest puffed up and turned to the crowd and judges to make sure they all understood just how significant the wave was.

 

He passed through to Round 3 of competition along with Joaquin Soto (CHILE). It will be interesting to see if Blackwell can continue this high-level all the way into the Main Event.

 

JACK BAKER DOESN’T QUIT. RETURNS TO RIGHT THE WRONGS OF 2018 AT ARICA

 

It is no secret that Australia is not represented like it used to on tour these days. With only 3 seeded riders in the top 24 (George Humphreys, Lewy Finnegan and Joshua B. Kirkman) and Davis Blackwell regularly following the tour from the trials, when another Australian shows up to an event like Arica it shows that there is hope for Australia to come back to the fore. Jack Baker (AUSTRALIA) is one rider from Australia who made the decision to travel all the way over to Chile for the Arica event last year to try his luck. He seemingly had no luck, exiting in the first heat of trials.

 

Lesser individuals might have given up and directed their attentions elsewhere, but not Jack Baker – he returned to Arica again this year to try his luck again.

 

This year, luck seems to be on his side so far, with Jack Baker advancing through two heats today at Arica. The second of his heats today in a tough heat comprising Kevin Orihuela (CANARY ISLANDS), Rodrigo Silva (CHILE) and Marcelo Faundes (CHILE). The combined heat score totals of all four riders were only separated by just over 2 points – this is a narrow margin for victory. But today, it was Jack Baker’s victory to be had, taking the first position with some solid rollos and a clean invert on the righthander at El Flopos.

 

Let’s see if Baker can continue this form and secure a spot in the Main Event tomorrow.

 

BRAZILIAN RISING STAR BRAGA EXITS EARLY

 

The energy and form that the young Brazilian Gabriel Braga has brought to the tour this can best be described as explosive. He certainly put this on show in Itacoatiara, where he narrowly defeated current APB ratings leader Sammy Morretino (HAWAII) with high-flying inverts in the Quarter Finals and finding a spot on the podium. He then reached the Quarter Finals again in Iquique, only to exit at the hands of a Tristan Roberts (SOUTH AFRICA) in brutal form. He also placed well in Antofagasta. It would have been anyone’s guess that his strong form would continue in Arica, but today just didn’t seem to be his day.

 

Despite posting a strong score for another of his trademark inverts on the righthander at El Flopos, it was Braga’s ability to find a decent second score that brought him undone. The eventual winner of the heat Igor Sanchez (CANARY ISLANDS) launched some strong rollos on set waves for the higher scores, while Sacha Damjanic (CHILE) did enough to just edge out Braga by 0.6 points.

 

This result will certainly be disappointing for the Brazilian, but we are sure that he will be ready to build on his results in the remaining events on tour.

 

WHAT’S NEXT?

 

Event organisers will be looking to start early and finish the trials before making a call to proceed with the first Sessions Rounds of the Main Event. A new swell is predicted to arrive tomorrow that is larger, more hollow and ready to provide a stage for the world’s best to perform on. Stay tuned to social media updates from the APB for all the action.

SPANISH

Olas de 4 metros espera este fin de semana el Mundial Arica Bodyboard Culture en la ex Isla El Alacrán.

Chilenos destacaron en la primera jornada de la quinta fecha del tour mundial anual organizado por la Asociación Profesional de Bodyboard a nivel mundial y la producción local del Club Unión Flopos con el apoyo del Gobierno Regional y la Municipalidad de Arica.

Buenos tubos y ramplas para el despegue y vuelo de los riders entregó la ola El Gringo también llamada Flopos para “localázos” este pasado viernes en el primer día de competencia del Arica Bodyboard Culture 2019 que reúne a los mejores del mundo en nuestra ciudad de Arica. A través del streaming en vivo y la cobertura nacional e internacional las playas, el Monumento Natural ex Isla El Alacrán, la Cultura Chinchorro y diferentes atractivos turísticos permiten la difusión de la ciudad de la eterna primavera y la ponen en la retina de millones de personas en todo el planeta.

Con una mañana fresca y nublada puntualmente a las 8 partió el primer heat del primer round que se logró completar casi al medio día cuando comenzaba a salir el sol como es costumbre en este vergel en medio del desierto. En el segundo round el Australiano Jack Baker de Sidney con 24 años se golpeó dos veces en las rocas del poco profundo fondo marino afortunadamente sin lesionarse y logrando Baker clasificar para la siguiente manga, “esta es mi segunda vez en Arica, experiencia tan loca como la primera vez, cada vez que caes luego de volar topas el fondo, hay muy poca agua entre la superficie y el fondo y las rocas son muy filudas”.

Igor Sánchez de Islas Canarias radicado en Chile señaló “vengo hace más de diez años a competir a Arica, es un placer estar acá nuevamente, estoy muy contento de pasar al round tres, logré el primer lugar con un par de buenas olas con un invertido y un rolo bien grande, vamos con todo mañana ya que se esperan buenas condiciones”. En tanto Manuel Cepeda de Antofagasta número 6 en el ranking nacional y quinto puesto en el mundial de Antofagasta 2018 dijo “me gusta mucho el Flopos, vengo para campeonatos locales, nacionales y los mundiales, hoy me tocaron condiciones con viento ya que era el último heat del día, conozco la ola, la izquierda sobre todo, me tiré unos back flip y tubos pero siempre hay que tener cuidado con las rocas.

Los organizadores del Club Unión Flopos Matías Miranda, Francisco “Rapo” Alvarado y su equipo invitaron a toda la comunidad a asistir para presenciar este espectacular evento gratuito en una de las más peligrosas olas del mundo, son cien riders que surfearan El Gringo que según el pronóstico de la Armada de Chile espera marejada con posibles alturas de hasta cuatro metros. Si bien hay importantes trabajos de Arquitectura y Arqueología en el monumento natural ex Isla Alacrán, que promete un precioso escenario para el próximo año, el acceso, las facilidades de ingreso y el sector de público son amplios y expeditos.

 

All pics: Pablo Jimenez 

 

 

 

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