GALDAR, CANARY ISLANDS (Wednesday, October 16, 2019): SARI OHHARA IS THE NEW APB WORLD CHAMPION.
On a wild and windy day at El Fronton today Sari Ohhara (JAPAN) became your new APB World Champion.
After a competitive year highlighted by consistent podium finishes and then a win at Sintra, Ohhara didn’t take the world title with a triumphant victory in the final of the Fronton Queen in Galdar, Canary Islands, but instead was forced to wait with all eyes on her as her main rival Ayaka Suzuki was defeated by multiple world champion Isabela Sousa (BRAZIL).
Ohhara was eliminated in her Quarter Final by the in-form rider of the event so far, Alexandra Rinder (AUSTRIA) who launched a huge invert and continued to impress the local crowd with her power and control over the challenging conditions. This loss to Rinder did affect Ohhara, but she remained confident that the title would still be hers.
“I was really mad at myself because I wasn’t able to perform the way I knew I could. I knew everyone was seeing me and expecting me to win the world title, but I couldn’t find the waves I needed to beat Alexandra. I was a bit embarrassed, but I knew that I was still able to win the world title.”
In the heat that saw Ayaka Suzuki eliminated, Isabela Sousa was in blistering form as well, but unable to complete her spectacular air reverses on the open face of the wave on the challenging lefthander at El Fronton. Scores remained low in the heat, seeing Suzuki only needing a very average score to get ahead of Sousa.
In the end, the challenging conditions and wave quality failed Suzuki and her hopes at a second consecutive world title were swept away. As the reality set in for Ohhara, the crowd went wild in the Fronton King competitors’ area.
Reflecting on her relationship with her Japanese rival, Ohhara was quick to acknowledge the depth of their friendship above all else:
“She is one of my best friends. She is one of the only other people on the tour who are Japanese, but we are also rivals. Last year, when she won I was really happy for her, but I was also a little sad to not be the first Japanese to win the world title. This year I was only thinking about me. But always we are pushing each other and training hard, so we are going to be good.”
Ohhara’s victory came at the end of a big competitive year that saw her regularly on podiums, but not able to deliver that final killer blow for the win. Eventually this result came at the Sintra Pro in Portugal, where Ohhara was able to claim victory against the woman who eliminated her from competition today at El Fronton, Alexandra Rinder. With this victory under her belt, the task was made harder for Suzuki to claim a second world title, seeing her need nothing less than victory at El Fronton.
With the title seemingly hers according to most pundits, Ohhara herself wasn’t taking victory for granted:
“Honestly there was no time this year where I took for granted that I was going to win the world title this year. Even after Sintra, when I won and people started to say to me that I was going to win the world title I didn’t accept that. I didn’t feel it and we never know what is going to happen. I just wanted to do my best and honestly I just stayed a part of the audience and see what would happen, and in the end, it happened.”
It is often overlooked that the number of world title holders competing regularly on tour is significantly high. Neymara Carvahlo and Isabella Sousa of Brazil; Alexandra Rinder; Joana Schenker and last year’s champion Ayaka Suzuki have all been regularly attending events and in effect have constituted the gauntlet that Ohhara would have to run through to reach this milestone today.
Was there a significant change in her life or training that made the difference for Ohhara this year?
“There are many things that changed for me this year. First of all, I changed sponsors to Pride and that board has been making a huge difference for me. The board has been incredible. I also went to the Ryan Hardy Coaching Camps at Bali Bodyboarding and that made a huge difference for me, even though it was only 3 days. It really changed something in me”
“I also discussed with my trainer much more with bodyboarding and how we could change my training to improve my riding. It was really many little things working together this year. It wasn’t one big change for me this year, but many small changes that resulted in a big difference in my riding and competing.”
Sari Ohhara is the second ever Japanese world champion in bodyboarding and a great personality out of the water as well. The APB and all the riders on tour congratulate her on this triumph and look forward to seeing her defend her title well in 2020.
In addition to the APB Women’s World Title race being decided today at El Fronton, the 2nd Round and most of the 3rd Round of trials were completed as well, narrowing down the field of contenders for the Fronton King title. Standouts of the day’s competition included Julian David Gonzalez Perez (SPAIN) and Jacob Romero (HAWAII) who both progressed with high heat score totals of 15.9 and 14.37 respectively. Local rider Alejandro Barbosa (Canary Islands) progressed along with fellow local Guilhermo Cobo. Davis Blackwell (AUSTRALIA) kept Australian hopes alive with a late rollo to progress ahead of Chilean rider Matias Diaz.
The Gran Canaria Frontón King Pro 2019 returns tomorrow for a call from officials during the morning, for a potential continuation of Round 3 around 12 pm.
Gran Canaria Frontón King Pro 2019 is organized by Epic Events and promoted by the Cabildo de Gran Canaria through the Tourist Board and the Ministry of Sports that frames this test sports within the European Sports Island program in the Premium category of Events Grand Gran Canaria and the City Hall of Gáldar. It also has the sponsorship of Naviera Armas, NMD Board Company, 7 UP, Ahembo and Jacio Guest House. Collaborate Hydro Flask, RS Sonocom, Sen no Sen, Source Mist and Toyota.