PRAIA GRANDE, SINTRA (Tuesday, September 10TH, 2019): WINDY CONDITIONS GREET COMPETITORS. ANAS HADDAR SHINES BRIGHTEST. DAVE HUBBARD RETURNS TO WORLD TOUR COMPETITION.
Strong winds and a confused swell greeted organizers and riders today at Praia Grande, Sintra, for the penultimate world tour event of the competitive year. While conditions were tricky, it didn’t stop competitors from delivering strong performances. What mattered was riders’ ability to find the clean sections to launch of, with judges ready to award high scores for cleaner performed aerial moves.
For bodyboarders the world over, Sintra has been somewhat of a competitive pilgrimage for years. While places like Pipeline and Arica loom large in the collective psyche of bodyboarding for world tour events, Sintra has been hosting international competition for 24 years now, making it the longest continuously running event in bodyboarding history.
This year Sintra is hosting a crucial QEST event for the Men’s World Tour as well as hosting a Bronze-rated Women’s World Tour event and Dropknee World Championship featuring a hotly contested field of riders. With the swell expected to clean up and the winds to back off, this week should see some incredible bodyboarding go down in Sintra.
ANAS HADDAR SHINES BRIGHT IN THE CHALLENGING CONDITIONS
For many years now, a passing thought of Moroccan bodyboarding most often conjures an image of regular world tour competitor Brahim Iddouch. Iddouch has held winner’s trophies up high on the podium in a number of instances throughout his career and is a well-regarded rider and ambassador for the sport. Brahim is a much-loved rider, but in more recent years there has been another rider taking more of the spotlight with his high-flying flips captured on film in Morocco and his name is Anas Haddar.
Today in competition at Praia Grande, Anas Haddar showed yet again why he is one to watch in international competition by finishing his Round 2 heat with the highest combined total of the day of 14.5 points. Such scores might have seemed unattainable to most considering the wave quality today, but Haddar was able to get his light frame sky high off a few sections, completing some large flips for the win.
Haddar’s performance was a rare treat on a day where most riders struggled to connect with any air sections at all, with most opting for combined moves on the wave’s face and safer el rollos. Haddar will certainly be one to watch as competition continues here and may be a spoiler for world title contenders in these conditions.
DAVE HUBBARD RETURNS TO MENS WORLD TOUR COMPETITION
It is now the second year that Hawaii’s Dave Hubbard has not competed as a regular on the Men’s World Tour and his absence is certainly felt. There are not many riders with the flamboyance and spark that Dave Hubbard brings to the water and the sport is poorer for it. So, with Dave Hubbard in Sintra to chase another World Dropknee title it is great to see him also participate in the prone division.
While time off from competition might have many expect that Hubbard would struggle in Sintra, it was quite the opposite today, with him able to find some clean sections to launch some extended-arm rollos and secure some decent scores from the judges. It was a characteristic performance from Hubbard, who is no stranger from world tour podiums and ten-point rides on tour. Viewers can also expect Dave Hubbard to be a potential spoiler for world title contenders this event.
TOP-SEEDED RIDERS KICK OFF CAMPAIGNS TOMORROW IN EXPECTED CLEANER CONDITIONS
There are three world title contenders in Sintra for the event this week (Sammy Morretino, Pierre-Louis Costes and Tristan Roberts) and all three of them will be hoping for strong starts tomorrow at Praia Grande. With conditions expected to improve, you can bet there will be some memorable performances from all three as they chase their world title dreams, so make sure you tune in to live action as it unfolds.
The Sintra Pro is one of the longest running Association of Professional Bodyboarding (APB) World Tour events, with organizers celebrating 24 years of the event this year.
All pics by João Araujo
For more information please visit the APB Tour Facebook Page.