PRAIA GRANDE, SINTRA (Friday, September 13TH, 2019): HADDAR AND IDDOUCH ELIMINATE MORRETINO. SARI OHARA ROLLING INTO THE FINALS. CAMPBELL BACK IN FORM AND POTENTIAL SPOILER IN DROPKNEE FINALS.
Slightly poorer conditions greeted competitors and officials at Praia Grande, Sintra this morning. The waves on offer were suffering some morning sickness, but by mid-morning the winds swung around offshore, and with the increasing tide, competitors were afforded quality conditions.
The day started with the non-elimination round of dropknee competition, seeing the best of the best take to the water and hope for a leapfrog into Round 5. Hawaii’s Kawika Kamai, defending world champion Sammy Morretino, multiple world champion Dave Hubbard and 2017 prone world champion Iain Campbell were all standouts in this opening round of competition, setting the tone for what it would take to grab the title. Following this opening round of dropknee during the morning it was time for Men’s Round 6 of competition to kick off, and it was the Moroccan duo of Brahim Iddouch and Anas Haddar who were the most consequential of the round.
HADDAR AND IDDOUCH ELIMINATE MORRETINO
The Moroccan duo of Brahim Iddouch and Anas Haddar put the brakes on Sammy Morretino’s journey to the podium in the Open Men’s division of the Sintra Pro today, launching huge flips in the improving conditions to disrupt the young Hawaiian’s flow. The pair switched on to a grinding lefthand bank that appeared as the tide increased and made the most of the bowly sections to out-perform Morretino and send the World Title race on to Fronton.
In other heats during Round 6 it was Kevin Orihuela (CANARY ISLANDS) who was dominant in his match up with Miguel Ferreira (PORTUGAL) and the Australian duo of Lewy Finnegan and Joshua Kirkman. Uri Valadao (BRAZIL) and Dave Hubbard (HAWAII) dominated their heat against young French rider Milo Delage and Portugal’s Daniel Fonseca.
The other standout performance of the round came from Iain Campbell (SOUTH AFRICA) who seems to have found form and built momentum throughout this event, looking dangerous in both dropknee and prone divisions.
CAMPBELL BACK IN FORM AND POTENTIAL SPOILER IN DROPKNEE FINALS
It’s no secret that 2017 World Champion Iain Campbell (SOUTH AFRICA) has had a challenging year on tour this year. Sitting in 20thposition on the world rankings, Campbell came to Sintra in a position that could see him fail to requalify to the tour in 2020. That all seems unlikely now, with Campbell finding the form he is known for, launching critical moves off well-selected waves and handling rough landings with aplomb.
Campbell is back in form and now looking at a Quarter Final match up against Brahim Iddouch (MOROCCO) for a place on the podium again in Sintra. His return to form is welcomed by fans and certainly helping him build confidence leading into the final event of the year at the Fronton King. But his prone skills aren’t the only signal that Campbell is back in form – his dropknee skills thus far in competition at Sintra could see him be a very real world title threat. But Campbell does face the flamboyant Hawaiian Mack Crilley in his Quarter Final of dropknee, so if he can overcome this opponent, he will be a serious threat.
SARI OHARA ROLLING INTO THE FINALS
The title race for the women is hotly contested, with still a large number of ridders in contention, including: Ayaka Suzuki and Sari Ohara (JAPAN), Anais Velis (CHILE), Isabela Sousa (Brazil) and Joana Schenker (PORTUGAL) all still in contention. The two Japanese rivals sit at the top of the rankings though, and their performances today could not have been more in contrast.
On the one hand, Ayaka Suzuki (JAPAN) struggled to find the rides she needed in her heat against Joana Schenker (PORTUGAL) and Teresa Almeida (PORTUGAL). Joana Schenker (PORTUGAL) was in fine form during this critical round of competition, performing smooth reverses on the clean faces and landing a huge roll to take her heat. Suzuki managed to sneak through to face off against Alexandra Rinder (CANARY ISLANDS) in the Quarter Finals and keep her title hopes alive.
For Ohara, it was a different story all together. Finishing her heat with a combined heat score total of 15.5, Ohara was in killer form, launching two huge rolls on one wave, executing them in quick succession and with maximum control. Her other scoring ride included a combination of maneuvers that saw her finish up on the beach. Ohara looked confident in and out of the water, and she will need this confidence when she faces off against Isabela Sousa in the Quarter Finals tomorrow.
Tomorrow, competition will resume in a diminishing swell but still clean conditions at Praia Grande.
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.
For more information please visit the APB Tour Facebook Page.
Next call will be 7:45 am for an 8:00 start.
ALL pics courtesy of João Araujo