Ben Player: a serious plastic man

Bodyboarders are the plastic men of modern wave riding. In less than a month, two competitions boosted the image of the sport founded by Tom Morey.

The Zicatela Pro, in Puerto Escondido (Mexico) and the Shark Island Challenge, in Cronulla (Australia) have shown why pro bodyboarding is a very serious venture.

While surfing, kitesurfing and windsurfing have found their solid base of loyal sponsors, bodyboarding is still struggling to consolidate its industry and, at the same time, a group of world sponsors for the major competitions.

The truth is that pro bodyboarding has evolved a lot, in the last years. From the athlete's point of view, bodyboarding has presented tricks and maneuvers than cannot be seen in any other wave sport. These men are made of plastic.

And that's why Terry McKenna and his IBA team are doing an excellent job promoting bodyboarding in many coastal towns and cities. Bodyboarding has conquered all the respect it deserves from fellow surfers, kitesurfers and windsurfers.

Let's hope plastic men like Ben Player keep us entertained.

Sintra Pro: expect huge crowds in the beach

The European leg for the 2010 IBA World Tour is all locked and loaded and the promoters are just waiting to pull the trigger.

The three leg series will kick off at Sopelana in Spain with the BBK Pro and this year Gonzaga and his team will just focus on the Men’s event.

From there the tour will move to Praia Grande for the Sintra Portugal Pro. This year Sintra will stage an IBA Grand Slam for both Men and Women that will also feature an IBA DKWT International event.

Finally the series will wrap up in Ferrol with the Deeply Ferrol Pro for the Men and DK.

The Miss Sumol for Women will be IBA Regional (250 points) and will as always run off the back of Sintra.

Ryan Hardy: he bit the shark, again

Pro bodyboarder Ryan Hardy has conquered the 2010 Shark Island Challenge, held in pumping 3-5ft (1.5m) waves near Cronulla, New South Wales, Australia.

"The final was the best heat for me because some of the best waves of the day came through in perfect conditions," said Hardy.

"Competing with Kingy and Benny P is always good fun and intense, because we have a long history of competitive rivalry which puts each of us on our toes. Throw in local young upstart Shaun Pyne, the local favourite with the crowd behind him, and it was a great atmosphere. After each wave the channel gallery was going wild and you could hear the cheers from the shore, and that's the ingredients of an epic finale."

Check the final highlights. He competed this year forthe 8th time in the Shark Island Challenge. Former winner in 2006 and winner of the richest prize purse in the events history - $20,000 for first place -Ryan is no stranger to the location or the pressures of competing.

The final produced some of the most electrifying manoeuvres of the contest, highlighted by Ben Player's (Avalon, NSW) ten point ride for a huge air above the inside rock ledge, known to local bodyboarders as 'Surge'.

The perfect score was also rewarded with a bonus $500 for "Move Of The Day", but Player's back up ride wasn't quite enough to take the overall lead from Hardy.

Shark Island can only be surfed two hours either side of high, so it was clearly difficult to find the best schedule to complete the event.

Final Results:

1st Ryan Hardy
2nd Ben Player
3rd Damien King
4th Shaun Pyne