ANTOFAGASTA, CHILE (SATURDAY, July 6th, 2019): NEAR PERFECT CONDITIONS AT LA CUPOLA. 10 POINTS TO SARI OHARA. MANNY VARGAS PUTS ON THE CONTEST JERSEY.
LA CUPOLA SHINES AGAIN
Organizers were greeted with a longer period swell this morning, which cleaned up the waves breaking across La Cupola’s urchin bejeweled reef but didn’t deliver the increase in size that was hoped to bring on the first of the Sessions Rounds for the Pro Men’s division. It was decided early that such perfect conditions would not go to waste, with the call being made to progress the Women’s division up to the Quarter Finals, get the Pro Juniors into the water and also see the Dropknee division carve up the clean walls at La Cupola.
SARI OHARA TAKES 10 AND SIGNALS REAL CHALLENGE FOR WORLD TITLE
Women’s competition picked up again with Round 4, which was a second chance round for riders who were unable to finish in the top 2 positions in the previous Round 3. In this round, the second chance was an opportunity missed by many, but firmly grasped by a few.
The standouts in this round were Bellavista Pro winner Anais Velis (CHILE), Valentina Diaz (CHILE) and Maira Viana (BRAZIL). Viana (BRAZIL) in particular managed to stage a last-minute surge to capture two near near excellent rides for a pair of solid rollos on set waves.
In Round 5 of Women’s competition it was the usual batch of world champions who dominated, with the exception of Neymara Carvahlo (BRAZIL) who was eliminated by a very memorable performance from Sari Ohara (JAPAN) as well as her compatriot Maira Viana (BRAZIL).
Sari Ohara (JAPAN) comes to Antofagasta holding a 2nd place in the recent Bellavista Pro in Iquique. She surfed well there to earn that result, eliminating her main rival from Japan Ayaka Suzuki on the way to that result. She was in good form, and she certainly has brought that form with her to Antofagasta, demonstrated by her perfect 10 ride today.
For her ten point ride, Ohara (JAPAN) stalled perfectly on the take-off and positioned herself cleanly in the barrel at La Cupola and sat deep for a long time before building speed out of the tube, carving a long drawn-out bottom turn before launching a full-body air rollo out into the flats. It was exceptional riding
It was truly a perfect ride for the conditions available today. Here’s Ohara’s (JAPAN) take on the incredible ride:
“I was surprised about the barrel. The section just fell over me, so I just adjusted my line to make it out and kept going full speed because I wanted to do more on the wave. When I prepared for the next section with the long bottom turn the wave shaped up so beautifully, I knew I could get a big roll with all my speed.”
“I just finished the wave with my roll on the inside section of the wave to fully use all the potential of the wave.”
“I was super stoked to hear ten points.”
DROPKNEE TAKES TO THE WATER AND MANNY VARGAS PUTS ON THE CONTEST JERSEY
Hawaiians Sammy Morretino and Mack Crilley as well as Manuel Cepeda (CHILE) were the standouts during the Dropknee heats today, with all riders putting on powerful displays that matched expectations. Mack Crilley’s (HAWAII) smooth and stylish approach on his backhand was certainly a pleasure to watch, but it was the vintage dropknee addition to the draw in Manny Vargas (USA) that had everyone talking.
Typically found in the commentary booth, Manny Vargas (USA) is a well-respected dropknee rider who is regarded as an icon of 90’s bodyboarding culture. Having not competed in a very long time and being thoroughly unprepared for competing too (he wore trunks in the frigid waters for his heat), the going was tough for Vargas, finishing in 4thposition.
Vargas was disappointed with his result, but fired up to do better in Sintra:
“Props to all the athletes that put on the comp jersey and deal with all the things I experienced in that short 25-minute heat. The cold, the cramps, the sharp reef, the pressure of not being in first or second place with only minutes to spare and the heartbreak of losing out in your first heat… all of it sucks ass. Yet, we will all do it again because we know we can do better.”
“Time to rethink, rebuild and redeem in Sintra.”
We are all looking forward to seeing what the master can deliver in Portugal later this year.
Organizers are expecting tomorrow to be a lay-day for competition but will wait to make the call at 8 am local time. Swell is predicted to drop and a much larger swell is due to arrive on Wednesday afternoon. Stay tuned to APB social media channels for all contest updates.
All pics @pablojimenez