ARICA, CHILE (MONDAY, JULY 22nd, 2019): LAVERNHE NEAR PERFECT. KIRKMAN FINISHES STRONG. ROBERTS RETURNS FROM THE BRINK.
The 4th day of competition at Arica saw the same swell size as the previous day’s competition – clean 2 to 3 metre waves with the occasional larger sets unloading on the reef at El Flopos. Critical rides were again available for the world’s best riders at the famous reef break and the level of riding was exceptional for some and challenging for others. Wave selection and strong performances were again the difference makers.
Here are some of the highlights of the day
LAVERNHE NEAR PERFECT
Amaury Lavernhe (REUNION ISLAND) continued his devastating form in Arica today, throwing away every score he collected in the previous round of Sessions competition and finishing at the top of the leaderboard again but this time with a total score of 29.9 points.
It was Lavernhe’s wave knowledge and comfort in the barrel at El Flopos that was again the difference, with the multiple world champion finding the waves that others couldn’t and on one occasion driving fast through an impossible barrel section to exit almost after the keyhole at El Floppos. For his other ten-point ride, Lavernhe once again managed to find a deep tube and then launch a huge backflip that saw him travel a long distance upside down over the shallow end section at El Flopos and bring the move around perfectly before sneaking into another barrel to finish off.
Lavernhe backed these ten-point rides up with a 9.9 for yet another long barrel but finishing with a rollo instead. The final result was a near perfect Sessions round and the rapturous applause from onlookers enjoying the show on Ex Isla Alacran. Continuing this form sees Lavernhe the standout favorite to take out the event and his relaxed demeanor shows that he is feeling like the eventual champion himself.
But Lavernhe wasn’t the only rider to receive the Golden Boom today, with fellow Frenchman and multiple world champion Pierre Louis-Costes (FRANCE) snatching a ten-point ride himself for a long tube ride at El Flopos that saw him leg stalling and moving rail-to-rail from start to the very finish of the wave. He himself finished second on the leaderboard and is also looking deadly moving into the man-on-man heats.
KIRKMAN FINISHES STRONG
Joshua B. Kirkman (AUSTRALIA) has been quite publicly ‘in the wars’ during the Chilean leg of competition, coming down with an aggressive flu in Iquique that saw him struggle through competition there and then in Antofagasta. Coming into Arica, he was feeling like his energy was returning and he was ready to put in a strong performance at the wave that really signified his comeback to international competition back in 2017 when he placed 9thhere.
But he had another stumble in Arica, smashing into the reef in freesurfing and suffering significant cuts and scratches to his back and only remaining healthy for the competition due to the fact that he was wearing a Gath Helmet during this incident (the helmet had significant cuts and scrapes on it too, that would have resulted in Kirkman needing many stitches if it wasn’t on his head at the time of impact). All these injuries combined certainly lowered expectations for one of the few riders representing Australia on tour, but Kirkman had other ideas.
In Round 1 of Sessions, Kirkman was able to secure two scoring rides that saw him sitting in 9thplace at the end of that round – a lefthander that saw him in a clean barrel followed by a lofty invert, and a righthander that saw him perform a large rollo on the outside peak before being smashed on the end section after attempting an invert (which nearly broke his jaw). In round 2, Kirkman once again delivered a strong performance against Chilean rising star Moises Silva (CHILE), Maxime Castillo (FRANCE) and Lewy Finnegan (AUSTRALIA).
The first strike for Kirkman came with a wave similar to the day previous, a decent tube ride that was punctuated with another clean invert onto the shallow end section on the left at El Flopos. This earned him 7 points and a jump up the leaderboard. In the dying seconds of the heat, he scooped into a large righthander and found himself deep in the tube and exiting cleanly with a long drawn out carve that was then ridden to shore, earning him a 7.5 and a moment at the top of the leaderboard (until PLC took it back with a Golden Boom worthy tube).
It has been a strong performance from Kirkman but he will face last year’s event winner Tanner McDaniel (HAWAII) in his next heat, a rider who was in devastating form today, launching a huge air reverse that was incomplete, but which showed that he means business this year again.
ROBERTS RETURNS TO THE TOP
After Round 1 of the Sessions, Tristan Roberts (SOUTH AFRICA) found himself in a very poor position on the leaderboard (in the high 20’s) and needing a strong performance to get himself out of an elimination situation. Starting the South American leg of the tour in such strong form with a win in Brazil and then a high finish in Iquique, it was uncharacteristic to see the inform rider in such a dire situation.
Roberts knew that he needed something special and inch-by-inch, that is exactly what he delivered today.
He started off with a 7-point ride for a deep barrel on the left at El Flopos that certainly gave him a confidence boost and a jump up the leaderboard. He then backed up this ride with a 5.5 for a faster barrel on the left that saw him not so deep but achieving a lot of coverage as he raced towards the safety of the keyhole.
He finished off his ‘comeback heat’ with a 6.7 for a trademark backflip on the right at El Flopos, seeing him jump the majority of the field and finishing the Sessions rounds in 8thposition. It was the stuff of champions and a signal that Roberts is back on track for the world title race.
Jeff Hubbard (HAWAII) was again in fine form today, putting on the aerial clinic that he is known for. One particular ride, a huge ARS on the right at El Flopos, was a huge attempt that was unfortunately incomplete. It was certainly classic Hubb and the audience onsite and online loved every moment. Moises Silva (CHILE) was also a standout performer today, after facilitating the departure of inform Hawaiian Sammy Morretino with some great tube riding. Another Chilean, Iquique’s Matias Diaz performed some great flips and threaded some clean tubes to eliminate 2017 World Champion Iain Campbell (SOUTH AFRICA) early from competition.
All riders are checking in at El Flopos at 7 am tomorrow morning for a potential 7:30 am start to Round 2 man-on-man heats. Stay tuned to all APB social media channels for updates.
Amaury Lavernhe ejecuta dos puntajes máximos en el Arica Bodyboard Culture 2019.
El ariqueño Diego “Chati” Sepúlveda logró una ovación de parte del numeroso público al ganar su heat y clasificar para los próximos rounds. El francés Lavernhe es muy conocedor de la ola Flopos tanto como los locales ya que viene hace catorce años a esta competencia, si bien ya no hace el tour completo, nunca se pierde este evento en Arica, anotó dos 10 sacando aplausos con sus maniobras.
El cuarto día del Arica Bodyboard Culture 2019 comenzó con los triunfos de Alan Muñoz de El Tabo, actual número 7 del ranking mundial, quien a través de un back flip y un tubo saliendo rolo consiguió quedarse con su manga y avanzar al próximo round del main event o evento principal. El francés Pierre Luis Costés, quien también realiza charlas motivacionales a los chicos del semillero ariqueño del bodyboard, dijo que “estaba complicado al comienzo no tuve suerte, me tocaron unos bombazos de olas pero logré al final ganar mi heat”.
El iquiqueño Matías Díaz logró acceder también al evento principal en una ubicación privilegiada al ganar su heat temprano en la mañana de este lunes, “las condiciones estaban difíciles, estaba muy nervioso al comienzo ya que ayer no hice buenas olas pero hoy elongué, distraje la mente y logré unos buenos tubitos de izquierda más rolo, pude sumar 5 y 5.75 puntos y estoy muy feliz, pasé del lugar 27 al 11”. En el siguiente heat Diego Sepúlveda, del Club Unión Flopos de Arica pasó al próximo round tomando la oportunidad con una izquierda con rolo, “después filtré y me pegué en las rocas pero pude pasar”. Gran labor del ariqueño considerando que llegó al ABC2019 con una wild card o “invitación”.
Ya a media mañana la espectacular presentación de Amaury Lavernhe provocó una ovación en casi 200 personas que llegaron a la isla Alacrán al lograr dos veces en un heat la anotación máxima de 10 puntos con un “tubazo” de 10 y tubo con salida ars (aéreo + rolo + 360°) recibiendo puntuación 9.8 considerado también un 10. Amaury dijo estar muy contento en Arica, “es mi decimocuarta visita, ya los años pasan y sigo viniendo a El Gringo, ya no sigo el tour pero no me pierdo este campeonato y volveré sin dudas el próximo año”. Amaury también est dando charlas motivacionales a chicos de Arica.
Sin duda el ariqueño Moisés Silva de 16 años, fue figura al pasar al siguiente round ganándole a Sammy Morretino de Hawai, discípulo del 11 veces campeón mundial Mike Stewart, junto a Tanner McDaniel, Morretino acaba de ganar el grand slam Antofagasta Bodyboard Festival. Al cierre ganaron sus mangas Michael Pascal de Antofagasta, Jeff Hubard de Hawai y Matías Díaz de Iquique. Para este martes se reanuda el campeonato con la primera llamada a las 07:30 hrs. El streaming se puede ver en vivo en www.apbtour.com yen las plataformas de Arica Cultura Bodyboard en YouTube, Facebook e Instagram.