ANTOFAGASTA, CHILE (SATURDAY, JULY 13th, 2019): MORRETINO GRABS THE GOLDEN BOOM. CABRERA CONTINUES TO EXCITE. VALADAO TOO STRONG FOR PLC. MAXIME CASTILLO BEATS FINNEGAN TO THE PODIUM.
This morning at La Cupola the swell had backed off, but the conditions were perfect for the continuation of Men’s competition. Clean 2 – 3 metre swell greeted competitors and organizers and the day’s competition got underway quickly to make the most of the perfect conditions before the afternoon breeze would fill in as usual.
MORRETINO GOES BOOM!
Sammy Morretino (HAWAII) continued his strong form on this year’s APB World Tour today, earning the first 10-point ride in Men’s competition with a lofty ARS to rollo combo in the early minutes of his match-up against Australia’s George Humphreys. Humphrey’s had come fresh from a devastating performance against Nelson Flores (CHILE) where he earned 9-points for a huge backflip off the end bowl at La Cupola, but in this Quarter Final against Morretino, Humphreys couldn’t find the opportunities he needed to slow the Hawaiian down.
Morretino’s 10-point ride coupled with another strong back-up score sees him guaranteed for a podium finish at Antofagasta and almost certain to rocket up the ratings even further before the South American leg is done. His rise to the top of the rankings and becoming a legitimate title contender sees yet another next generation rider from Hawaii pick up the mantle from legendary riders and world champions previous such as Jeff Hubbard and Mike Stewart for another Hawaiian world champion to be crowned. It is still early in the competitive year, but who knows what is possible when Morretino is in such consistent and devastating form.
CABRERA CONTINUES TO EXCITE
It was unclear whether Diego Cabrera (CANARY ISLANDS) would even have a rider to compete against in his Quarter Final after his opponent Yoshua Toledo (CHILE) suffered a freak ankle sprain exiting the water the previous day. It was suspected that he might have suffered a fracture, but scans showed that it was a sprain requiring rest for about 3 weeks. Toledo wasn’t interested in rest, and instead showed up to his heat today against Cabrera ready to go.
Cabrera certainly was the dominant rider in this heat, securing a 6.75 early in the heat and then backing this score up with another of his trademark high-flying inverts for a 9.5. The rest of the heat was pretty quiet with Yoshua Toledo putting in a solid effort despite his injury and Cabrera showing again that he will be a serious contender for the title here at Antofagasta.
VALADAO TOO STRONG FOR PLC
Despite starting with a strong flip from PLC (FRANCE) in this Quarter Final with previous event winner and world champion Uri Valadao (BRAZIL), it would be the Brazilian who would continue his charge towards the podium in Antofagasta. It certainly wasn’t a guaranteed victory for Valadao, with the lead changing during the heat and both riders throwing everything at the lips of La Cupola.
Minutes after PLC’s flip in the beginning, Valadao responded with another of his high-flying inverts, combined with a roll, that has been his ‘go to’ move during this event so far and which earned him an 8.25. This invert was followed by another on a smaller wave that allowed him to build his scores, but PLC responded to take back the lead.
PLC held the lead for a few minutes before Valadao struck back with an even larger invert to earn himself a 9.1 and take the lead back. This invert was followed directly by a lofty backflip from PLC that brought him close, but still needing another excellent score to overcome Valadao’s new heat score total of 17.35.
Despite PLC’s best efforts, this score didn’t come his way despite a late reverse air that wasn’t perfectly executed, and the multiple winner of this event, Valadao, is now staring at another possible title in Antofagasta.
CASTILLO ON FIRST PODIUM AFTER NARROW VICTORY OVER IN FORM FINNEGAN
Maxime Castillo (FRANCE) is one rider who has had a very slow start to the competition year when compared to previous events. Usually a rider who manages to land 5thand 9thplacings in most events, this year has seen Maxime unable to advance beyond the early rounds. This stops now it seems.
His progression through heats has been less dynamic than compared to other competitors in this event – Maxime’s approach has been heat by heat, earning enough to defeat competitors by narrow margins. A win is a win though, and in his victory over the in-form Lewy Finnegan (AUSTRALIA), who himself managed to eliminate Jared Houston (SOUTH AFRICA) with a huge backflip in the heat previous, it was his patience that was the difference maker.
Finnegan (AUSTRALIA) took a more proactive approach to his heat with Castillo, finding many waves early and building average scores throughout the heat. Conversely, Castillo decided to wait it out for the larger set waves, and it was one such set wave, where he was able to launch a huge rollo on the outside section, that was one of the defining moments of the heat. Backing this score up with a smaller ARS was enough to see Castillo narrowly defeat Finnegan and book his spot on the podium.
Final day of competition at Antofagasta tomorrow. Tune in.