APB World Tour: no more four-man heats | Photo: Helio Antonio/APB

The Association of Professional Bodyboarders (APB) announced the introduction of a new competition format for the 2016 season.

The 2016 APB World Tour will change dramatically. The organization led by Alex Leon will drop the four-man heats, and will adopt a competitive format identical to the one used by the World Surf League (WSL).

As a result, the first round will be a three-man, non-elimination heat, followed by man-on-man elimination heats for the remaining of the contest. The only difference, when compared to the WSL, resides in the fact that surfing's pro tour returns to non-elimination, three-man heats in Round 4 before going back to elimination.

"This format is better for TV and broadcasting. It appeals more to networks and mainstream media and also puts emphasis on the top athletes of the world as we try and create the hero aspect of each one of these athletes," underlines Alex Leon, CEO at APB.

The APB believes it will be "easier for fans and spectators to follow this format and follow the tour." Leon says the new format will get underway for all APB Tour events. Four-man heats might only be used in the event's trials.

The only exception is Pipeline. If the APB returns to Hawaii's grand wave, it will be forced to run four-man heats. The full schedule will be released mid-December, but one thing's certain: the star rating system for events is back once again.

Finally, the top 28 athletes will hold their position all year as an elite athlete of the APB Tour, and main events will consist of 32 seeded riders from the previous APB Tour (top 28 plus wild cards), as well as 16 qualifiers from the trials whom will be seeded from 33 to 48.

2016 APB World Tour: a new format inspired by the World Surf League