Ryan Hard: impressive victory

Ryan Hardy has conquered The Box Pro 2011, in Australia. The Margaret River local clinched an historic victory in outstanding bodyboarding conditions.

"It means so much to win at my home break and with your friends and family and everyone here from my hometown, it’s the biggest win of my career by far. To get the conditions we have and to be able to win is just incredible, it’s a dream come true," said Hardy.

The 31 year-old bodyboarder challenged wild and dangerous five-metre plus waves to defeat the Brazilian Magno Oliveira in the final heat. Hardy choked back tears as he accepted his trophy, in front of family and locals. Watch the final highlights, here.

"I could see the guys who hadn’t surfed out there much were getting pulled out of position. Knowing the way the water moved around on the reef was a huge advantage. When a wave breaks at the Box, it’s much more intense than a lot of places, you have these swells that travel so far through the Indian Ocean and then hit this shallow slab of reef. It can be dangerous, but if you know which ones to catch, then it’s easily one of the most exciting waves in the world," said Hardy.

Twenty years of experience means a lot and Ryan Hardy is taking 2,000 valuable Grand Slam Series points. He's now in second place on the IBA World Tour ranking.

Oliveira’s runner-up performance was world-beating. The 26 year-old eliminated two world champions on the final day, taking out reigning champion Amaury Lavernhe in the semi-finals and six-time world champion Guilherme Tamega in the quarter-finals to post what is easily the best result of his career.

"It was the best result of my life for sure. These are the kind of waves are the waves I like best. There are giant waves and it’s shallow and pretty dangerous. You don’t see any other sports run in these kind of conditions. I’m proud of being a bodyboarder and days like this," said Oliveira.

Oliveira’s path to the final also would not have been possible if it were not for the implementation of the unique new three round non-elimination format at the IBA Box Pro.

"Miracles happen. I went through a lot of miracles to make the final," laughed Oliveira. South African, Mark McCarthy finished equal third alongside Lavernhe today.

Hawaiian Jeff Hubbard came into the BOX IBA Pro as ratings leader and bowed out to Lavernhe. "It was really tough out there. It’s the biggest I’ve ever seen it, there’s solid 15ft waves and you’re trying to get yourself into position, trying to decide which waves are makeable, which ones are going to close out", said Hubbard.

The attention of the world bodyboarding tour now turns to Arica, Chile, with a 10-day waiting period beginning May 20.

IBA BOX PRO – Final Results
FINAL
1st Ryan Hardy (AUS) 15.15pts
2nd Magno Oliveira (BRA) 7.35pts

Semi-finals
SF1: Ryan Hardy (AUS) 14.85pts d Mark McCarthy (ZAF) 10.95
SF2: Magno Oliveira (BRA) 16.75pts d Amaury Lavernhe 12.35pts