PRAIA GRANDE, SINTRA (Wednesday, September 11TH, 2019): COSTES AND MORRETINO STUMBLE THEN REGROUP TO CONTINUE CAMPAIGNS. DAVE HUBBARD TAKES 9-POINTS FOR COMPETITIVE BRILLIANCE.
The wind backed down and the swell marched in clean to Praia Grande today, providing competitors with a much better platform to perform today. Waves ranging from the 3 – 5 feet range graced the competition zone and there were some exceptional performances today, some of which came from competitors outside the list of ‘usual suspects’. But it was also a day where the top two world title contenders, Pierre Louis Costes (FRANCE) and Sammy Morretino (HAWAII), almost exited uncharacteristically early from competition.
MORRETINO AND COSTES STUMBLE, THEN REGROUP TO STAY IN THE RACE
The conditions today certainly suited the reactive styles of both Morretino and Costes today at Praia Grande. The waves were unpredictable from the take-off, meaning that riders had to be able to react and improvise at short notice – a skill set that both of these contenders share. But the reality was that today, both riders failed to advance directly to Round 5 with victories in their first heats, seeing them having to fight it out through the Round 4 repercharge round to stay alive in competition.
Both riders lost in narrow defeats to two very much in-form riders. In the case of PLC, despite the ratings leader finishing the heat with a combined heat score total of 14.75 the high-flying Moroccan Anas Haddar got the better of him with a total of 16. In the case of Sammy Morretino, it was the young Canarian rider Kevin Orihuela who was able to edge him out for an advanced ticket into Round 5.
Even though the betting would have been on both riders to advance easily through Round 4 to stay in the competition, they weren’t able to advance in dominant style. For PLC, it was the Australian Joshua Kirkman who took a late ride in the dying seconds of their encounter to steal victory from him with a combination of rollos that ended up on the sand. For Sammy Morretino, it was another high-flying Moroccan, Ilias Ousmouth, who took the victory with a particularly strong invert on one wave.
Both riders remain in the competition, but it wasn’t easy for them today at Praia Grande. It will be interesting to see if they bounce back into dominant form in Round 5 tomorrow.
DAVE HUBBARD SCORES A 9-POINT RIDE AND SHOWS THAT HE’S SERIOUS ABOUT PRONE IN SINTRA TOO
Rumour has it that Dave Hubbard (HAWAII) is itching to return to more frequent international competition, and his performances today only assured onlookers that these rumours ought to be turned into facts.
In fine form from the start, Hubbard was unfortunate to tie in first place with world title contender Tristan Roberts (SOUTH AFRICA) with 14 points in their Round 3 match-up and lose out on a countback. This setback didn’t take the wind out of the Hawaiian veteran’s sails, seeing him rebound with a truly dominant performance in Round 4 against Manuel Cepeda (CHILE) and Brahim Iddouch (Morocco). Keeping busy from the get go in his Round 4 heat, Hubbard didn’t take long to advance into a leading position early, before hammering the final nail in the coffin with a huge backflip to rollo combination on the better forming lefthanders at Praia Grande for a clean 9 points.
Hubbard looked light and enthusiastic during his heats today and it will be no surprise to see him on the podium if he can keep this form up.
OTHER GREAT THINGS THAT HAPPENED TODAY AT THE SINTRA PRO
Look out Dave Hubbard and Sammy Morretino, Iain Campbell is on the knee and he is looking sharp. That’s right, World Champion of 2017 Iain Campbell demonstrated his advanced ‘Jack Stance’ skills in the competition jersey today at Praia Grande and it was beautiful to watch. Fast, clean lines; tidy carves and some near-makes off the lip – Campbell might just be the proverbial ‘cat’ that will be thrown amongst the ‘pigeons’ in this year’s dropknee world title showdown.
Go check out the live feed replay if you don’t believe us!
The early rounds of the Women’s division also hit the water in the afternoon today with dominant performances from Chilean big-wave charger Valentina Diaz, Portugal’s Teresa Padrela, Japan’s Mayumi Tone and young Canarian rider from Tenerife Lara Ascanio all left the water with heat wins today. A surprise exit from the competition early was Anais Velis of Chile who took out the Bellavista Bodyboard Pro in Iquique during the South American leg of the tour. A near exit was avoided also by former world champion Neymara Carvalho of Brazil.
Tomorrow the top-seeded female riders will be hitting the water and it will be very interesting to see how these qualifiers from the early rounds go at staging some upsets.
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.
Next call will be 8:00 am for an 8:30 start.
All pics: João Araujo
For more information please visit the APB Tour Facebook Page.