Dave Winchester: the boys are right behind you

The 2012 IBA World Tour title race is fired up. With only three Grand Slam stages to be surfed, everyone is still chasing Dave Winchester.

Before the Sintra Portugal Pro, Pierre-Louis Costes was already relaxing. He had few chances of revalidating his world bodyboarding title and was not planning to compete at Praia Grande.

"A week before Sintra Pro started, I was sitting in the hospital, in France, ready for a lip surgery, after catching staphylococcus, one of the worst bacterias in the world", explains the French rider.

"It was sort of a last-minute call. I was meant to wait two weeks before going in the water. When I came back to Portugal, I had great support from my girlfriend who did everything for me. We took good care of my lip and went to see others doctors to know my situation".7

"One day before the event started, they told me I could go in the water. So here I was entering my first heat of Round 1. I felt ridiculously tired, I had cramps after my second wave and it very was difficult to find my feeling on a board", Costes adds.

From the hospital bed to the cold waters of Praia Grande, everyhting changed for Pierre-Louis Costes. He's heading to the Mexico Zicatela Pro, in Puerto Escondido, in second place and still negotiating a possible second consecutive world title.

Dave Winchester leads the world rankings with 7920. He holds a comfortable lead over Costes (6590 points), Jeff Hubbard (6040 points), Ben Player (6020 points) and Mark McCarthy (5980 points), but he will have to confirm this leadership in the last events: Mexico, Puerto Rico and Gran Canaria.

Mitch Rawlins decided not to compete in Europe due to work commitments and lost his second place. Nevertheless, he has a virtual advantage over the top six riders, as he still hasn't punctuated the fifth GSS event for the overall score.

2012 Grand Slam Series (GSS) Ratings after Sintra Portugal Pro:

1. Dave Winchester - 7920
2. Pierre Louis Costes - 6590
3. Jeff Hubbard- 6040
4. Ben Player -6020
5. Mark McCarthy - 5980
6. Guilherme Tamega - 5660
7. Mitch Rawlins - 5400
8. Mike Stewart- 5300
9. Jared Houston - 5240
10. Andrew Lester - 5020