PRAIA GRANDE, SINTRA (Saturday, September 14TH, 2019): DOUBLE DAVE HUBBARD. NEW GENERATION RATTLES THE TOP-RANKED WOMEN. IAIN CAMPBELL DOUBLE PODIUM FINISH.
Despite the downward trending forecast, there was another day of clear skies and quality swell at Praia Grande, Sintra today for Day 5 of competition. During the morning the winds were clean and offshore, once again providing great conditions for riders in the all-important Quarter Finals. With the Men’s world title race moving on to Fronton, the focus was on the Women and Dropknee, with both divisions hotly contested.
DOUBLE DAVE HUBBARD
Dave Hubbard (HAWAII) is on track to repeat what was achieved by his main rival in the Dropknee Division, Sammy Morretino (HAWAII), back in Antofagasta this year – a double win. There are only two things standing in Hubbard’s way: a very much in-form Anas Haddar (MOROCCO) and Sammy Morretino.
Dave Hubbard had to overcome two very much on fire riders during the Sintra Pro to find himself in the finals of the Dropknee and Open Men’s divisions. In the Dropknee division he overcame Iain Campbell (SOUTH AFRICA) who managed to out-perform Mack Crilley (HAWAII) in the Quarter Finals with a huge backside floater and frontside hack to float. Crilley had been surfing well the entire event but was unable to stop Campbell. In the prone division, Hubbard had to overcome multiple winner of the Sintra Pro, Uri Valadao (BRAZIL), who had also been dominant during the earlier rounds of competition and looked likely to be the eventual champion.
Hubbard will have tough battles in both divisions in the finals tomorrow. Anas Haddar has certainly seemed a likely podium finisher since the first rounds and Sammy Morretino has been explosive the whole way through the Dropknee competition. Let’s see what Mother Nature provides tomorrow at Praia Grande tomorrow, but either way Hubbard has certainly reinforced the rumours that he is intending a return to international competition in 202 with his performances here in Portugal.
NEW GENERATION RATTLES THE TOP-RANKED WOMEN
There were some significant upsets and eliminations by narrow margins today in the Open Women’s division at the Sintra Pro, with 2017 World Champion Joana Schenker (PORTUGAL), 2018 World Champion Ayaka Suzuki (JAPAN) and multiple World Champion Neymara Carvalho (BRAZIL) eliminated in the Quarter Finals.
For Schenker and Carvalho, it was the next generation of young women on tour who were able to narrowly edge ahead of them, with Teresa Miranda (CANARY ISLANDS) making the most of a late-heat priority change to steal away victory and Lara Ascanio (CANARY ISLANDS) taking the highest score of the heat (6.5) against Carvalho to book a place on the podium.
In the case of defending World Champion Ayaka Suzuki (JAPAN), her heat against Alexandra Rinder (CANARY ISLANDS) went to a countback after both riders tied with 12 points. This loss for Suzuki means that depending on the result of Sari Ohhara (JAPAN) in the final tomorrow, she will most likely need no less than a podium finish to retain her title.
Regarding the performance of Ohhara today – the young Japanese rider is on fire. In her Quarter Final against Isabela Sousa (BRAZIL) she once again found the cleaner and bigger waves and launched some beautiful rollos to finish the heat with 14.45 and then reached a similar heat score total against Lara Ascanio (CANARY ISLANDS) to book her place in the final. A win for Ohhara tomorrow would make life very difficult for Ayaka Suzuki in Fronton, where the world title will be decided.
IAIN CAMPBELL DOUBLE PODIUM FINISH
The performance from Iain Campbell (SOUTH AFRICA) at this year’s Sintra Pro deserve further mention. He leaves this event with two podium finishes before the final event of the year at the Fronton King. While many knew that Campbell possessed a high degree of competency in dropknee, his 3rdplacing in the world championship has had everyone talking.
Seeing him return to form in the Open Men’s is also a sign that the 2017 World Champion might be back on track and ready for a better campaign in 2020. He is now certainly safe from missing a top 24 finish this year and you can expect to see a more relaxed Iain Campbell at Fronton and looking as dangerous as ever at that event and into the new year.
Tomorrow, competition will conclude in further diminishing swell 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.
Final day – 9.30am call for a 10:00am start.
For more information please visit the APB Tour Facebook Page.
All pics: João Araujo