Day 1 & 2: Barbados ProAm, Bathsheba
A mind-blowing sunrise, the world’s best stand up paddle athletes and a legendary wave. That’s where the Barbados ProAm began. Soup Bowl delivered 3 foot surf and a clean canvas on Day 1 for athletes to draw their mark on this 3rd stop on the APP World Tour.
The athletes talked animatedly about the infamous right-hand point break on offer while APP World Tour Director Tristan Boxford gathered this global cast of characters together to welcome everyone to Barbados and the competition ahead. Most of this well traveled surfing crowd has never been to Barbados before and after double lay days due to conditions, each had explored the island and come back enthusiastic about its bounty, diversity and the multitude of waves found.
Boxford and Head Judge, David Noirrit postponed the start of Day 1 until 10AM to give the winds a chance to lay down. By the time the first heats entered the water, the outdoor temperatures began to climb. Sunny, picturesque and tropical heat made for a rousing first day of competition.
“This is the best first day we’ve ever had. It all just came together. From the broadcasters and judges to the cameramen down on the beach, everybody was working well,” - APP crew
Men’s Round 1 began after the countdown. The heat was on. Local legend, Jason Cole squared off against rankings leader and fiery Tahitian Poenaiki Raioha and Brazilian Bezinho Otero. From the sound of the first horn to the finishing heat, the day was non-stop action. Poenaiki dominated his Round 1, looking like he held back, perhaps reserving energy for later in the competition as he cleanly advanced to Round 3.
From there, it was a showcase of talent as each heat saw great match ups including Bernd Roediger of Hawaii vs. Julien Bouyer from France with Juan Barrios of Spain. We also bore witness to a searing rematch between current world champion Sean Poynter and teammate Daniel Hughes. Hughes competed against Poynter in New York and managed to knock the champ off the podium at the New York SUP Open. Here in Barbados, it is clear that Poynter is on point and focused as his heat was full of ripping turns, off the top maneuvers, power and massive style. Poynter scored a 9.47 in that first heat laying down the gauntlet for others to match his top wave score throughout the rest of the competition.
Other standouts include the entire Brazilian storm continues to unleash their raging talents here in Barbados. The energy and vitality, focus and skill these paddlers bring to every heat, every move is both electric and enthusiastic. Lucas Medeiros, a former competitor on the tour who took a few years off is back and blazing through his heats with power and flow setting a standard to beat.
Marcio Gillo, who made a name for himself as “the barrel hunter” in the APP Expression Session on Thursday is also surfing in dominant form. Wellington Reiss, clearly has
the podium in his sights as his performances are, as we have come to expect from him, bold and full of commitment on every turn, drive and snaps off the lip.
“I train all day. I train all night. I train all the time. I want to win. ” - Wellington Reiss
We’d be remiss to not mention the commanding presence of Leco Salazar and his brother Matheus who both have been offering great performance value in their commitment to airs and seeking barrels in Soup Bowl’s pumping right hand break. Their force is not to be taken lightly as the consistency of both men is astounding and their talents unmistakable.
And Luiz Diniz, who is currently 2nd behind rankings leader Poenaiki Raioha of Tahiti, is extremely focused and almost casual in his display of his soaring talent as he captured the “Best Air” win for Day 2’s Expression Session.
Benoit Carpenteir, Julien Bouyer, Camille Bouyer of France are all showing their massive skill in wave selection, strategy and commitment with beautiful combinations, effortless style and flow in every wave. The brothers were paired up in Heat 6 for the Repecharge Round, trading wave after wave as Soup Bowl offered 5’-6’ faces on Day #2. Julien knocked out his brother in a memorable moment saying, “It was hard because I wanted to win, but I didn’t want him to lose.”
The list goes on and on ...
For the women, it is an memorable display of talent and tenacity with current World Champion Iballa Moreno looking to reassert her dominance after some hiccups in New York. Iballa’s command in big swell and power in coming off the lip gives her an unmistakable presence here in Barbados.
Also present is 4X world champ, Izzi Gomez. Izzi’s standard for herself makes every surfer in the water level up, as the young champion from Columbia offers effortless control, power and flow through every heat. From Peru, Vania Torres has been marching through her heats, surfing with strategy to keep her heat scores on top. Aline Adisaka of Brazil put on some brilliant performances showcasing her deep strength, powerful drives and searing turns, but could not out-perform Torres’ sharp execution of maneuvers in the Repecharge rounds.
Fiona Wylde from the United States is a dominant force, showing no hesitation taking off on Soup Bowl’s biggest set in the competition to date in the 8’-9’ face range during her heat. Wylde’s consistency and drive plus her full throttled commitment to every wave keeps her moving through heats with alacrity. Shakira Westdorp of Australia is consistent and sharp throughout her rounds moving her past the Repecharge and into the Women’s Quarter-Finals set for Saturday. Finally, Lara Claydon of Maui is looking laser focused as she advances. Lara’s backside turns have been impressing the judges and her steep take off’s showing her commitment to earning a podium seat here at the Barbados ProAm.
Men’s Round 3 is set to begin at 12PM on Friday with the women taking a lay day. Saturday’s action will commence at 7AM as we run through the Quarter Finals straight through the Finals in a swell that promises to show quality surf for the final day here in Barbados.
Watch ALL the action LIVE on the APP World Tour’s Facebook Page and stay in touch with the athlete’s scoring in real time using @stactapp to be an active part of the competition both days.
We’ll see you on the beach!