2009 Sintra Portugal Pro 

A cool change greeted competitors for day 4 at Praia Grande’ and the day started as nippy and overcast but things soon heated up when the IBA Top 16 hit the water.

R7 is always a highlight when you get the top seeds taking on the inform qualifiers in the “money round” & you could almost feel the tension in the air as the first heat started and the front runners in the 2009 IBA World Title race started their campaign.

Heat 1 and Brazilian Eder Luciano and Australia’s Michael Novy dominate the line-up with superior positioning and solid moves to leave Oliver Herrera (Canary Isle) and GuilhermeTamega (Brazil) in their wake. Tamega looked he waited for a wave that never came and the current ratings leader was gone in the blink of an eye. If that can happen to GT, then everyone was on notice from the get go.

Heat 2 was a see-sawing affair that saw AmauryLaverhne (Re-Union) take control at the halfway mark and never looked like failing. That left the other three guys to battle for second and in the end Mitch Rawlins (Aust) held off Dave Hubbard (Hawaii) and Magno Oliveira (Brazil).

Jeff Hubbard (Hawaii) continued his great form with a win in the 3rd. Brazilian Paulo Barcellos scored the wave he needed in the dying seconds to finish second ahead of GilhermoCobo (Spain) and Andre Botha (Sth Africa).

The 4th heat was a tough one as the ocean started to change and the good waves were harder to find. Pierre Luis Costes (France) made the most of the conditions and moved through with Portugals Manuel Centeno. Exit BenatElosua (Spain) and Airam Cabrera (Canary Isle)

Former World champion Damian King (Australia) and Goncarlo Silva (Portugal) were beaten by Hugo Pinheiro (Portugal) and current World Champion Uri Valadao (Brazil) in the 5th. By this time the cross-shore winds were leaving some surface scarring and creating some ribs in the wave face and the bigger scores were tough to nail.

In the 6th heat it was all eyes on Ryan Hardy (Australia), as he is one of the potential title contenders, and he seized the moment by both hands to secure a win ahead of AritzLarinaga (Basque Country) with Pablo Prieto (Germany) and Luis Villar( Brazil) disposed of in 3rd& 4th.

Heat 7 was the most high power heat of the day and the water was almost bubbling with adrenalin. Mike Stewart (Hawaii) had been watching as GT, Uri and Hardy jumped the hurdles but his job was made harder when Ben Player (Australia) and Diego Cabrera (Canary Isle) flipped and twisted their way into first and second with Mike in third and Brazil’s Lucas Nogueira forth.

“That was tough out there” said Mike.

“When I turned up and saw that GT had been beaten I thought that conditions must be tricky and they were”

“The vibe in the line-up was pretty gnarly and I guess it will come down to Confital, depending on the results here” said the 9 time World Champion.

The last heat of the round saw two of the new crew dominated with Australia’s Dave Winchester and South African Mark McCarthy goin1,2. Brad Hughes (Australia) fell one place short and joined Alex Uranga (Spain) on the sidelines.

When the dust settled 4 of the top 6 kept their hopes alive for scoring the “Double-points” up for grabs at this IBA Grand Slam.

Tomorrow the event goes Man-on-man and the heats are as follows

H1 Eder Luciano V Mitch Rawlins
H2 AmauryLaverhne V Michael Novy
H3 Jeff Hubbard V Manuel Centeno
H4 Pierre Luis Costes V Paulo Barcellos
H5 Hugo Pinheiro V Aritz Larrinaga
H6 Ryan Hardy V Uri Valadao
H7 Diego Cabrera V Mark McCarthy
H8 Dave Winchester V Ben Player

The quarterfinals of the WWT also served up some epic clashes and some interesting upsets in an ocean that was rising and becoming unpredictable.

Heat 1 saw Portugal’s Rita Pires and the current World Champion NeymaraCarvalho (Brazil) sift through the trash to find some gold but in the end Pires was victorious.

Heat 2 and Brazilians Isabella Sousa and Jessica Becker were tossed about in the unforgiving seas. Isabella was washed way down the beach and spent a good 10 minutes paddling back into position. In the end she needed a 2.5 but just could not get out there to find it.
The 3rd quarter featured Spanish ratings leader Eunate Aguirre and Portugals Catarina Sousa. Maybe the pressure of seeing Neymara eliminated played on the mind of Eunate as she struggled, while Catarina lookedsolid and moved into the semi’s.

Eunate and Neymara will finish with equal points and the World Title race for Women will remain wide open until the final Grand Slam at Confital.

The last heat of the day saw Portugals Marta Fernandez eliminate Puerto Rican Luz Marie Grand Perez in an ocean that had taken on a “Washing machine” like appearance.

Best score of the day went to Diego Cabrera who netted a 9.25 average for a crazy ARS.  Diego had been battling a back injury from the earlier rounds but he showed no fear and there was no sign of that during this moment.

The 2009 Sintra Portugal Pro enters its final two days on the weekend and tomorrow will start with the R8 man on man heats followed by the Womens and then the DK semi’s.

Tune in live at www.portugalbodyboard.com or www.ibaworldtour.com/live for all the action from 9am local time.


SOURCE: IBA World Tour