Dave Winchester: Praia Grande is waiting for him

Europe's West Coast is preparing for the decisive Sintra Portugal Pro 2012, in Praia Grande.

The sixth stage of the 2012 IBA World Tour is playing a key role in the definition of the next world bodyboarding champion. Who is taking the crown out of Pierre Louis Costes? Is the Frencman out of the title race?

The truth is that the first 10 riders in the rankings are separated by only 3000 points. Interestingly, there are five Australians in the best 10 bodyboarders, before the Sintra Portugal Pro 2012 hits the water.

Dave Winchester leads the fleet. The blond rider holds the first position with 1520 more points that his fellow Aussie Mitch Rawlins. In third place, Ben Player is very close.

The cancellation of the fifth stage - Mexico Zicatela Pro - was good news to Winchester. There's less way to go, before the last stage of the 2012 IBA World Tour.

But, the fact is that there are still 6000 points (three victories) at stake. With three contests remaining Dave Winchester only needs to place third in two events and runner-up in one competition.

This year, Sintra Portugal Pro 2012 has been extended by two extra days to allow for the best possible conditions. A classic festival atmosphere and European summer will confirm it as one of the longest running and most successful events on tour.

After the Portuguese leg, all pro bodyboarders head to the Encanto World Series, in Puerto Rico, and finish the job with the iconic Fronton Pro, in Gran Canaria. The heat is on.

2012 IBA World Tour Rankings before Sintra Portugal Pro 2012:

1. Dave Winchester (6920 points)
2. Mitch Rawlins (5400 points)
3. Ben Player (5120 points)
4. Jeff Hubbard (4820 points)
5. Mike Stewart (4620 points)
6. Pierre Louis Costes (4590 points)
7. Mark McCarthy (4520 points)
8. Guilherme Tamega (4440 points)
9. Andrew Lester (4020 points)
10. Ryan Hardy (3720 points)