2018 Antofagasta Bodyboard Festival: the event kicked off with consistent wave conditions | Photo: ABF/APB

The 2018 Antofagasta Bodyboard Festival kicked off in clean, three-to-four-foot waves at La Cupula, in Chile.

The second event of the Qualifying Event Series Tour (QEST) is also the first premium competition of the season, offering valuable points toward the rankings, and $35,000 in prize money for both the men's and women's divisions.

The APB is also introducing the new non-elimination round system which invites riders to take more risks and boost their performance in front of the judging panel.

Round 3 has now been completed with some of the top bodyboarders surfing their first heats of the year. By winning their inaugural clashes, eight athletes have already secured a spot in Round 5.

They are Lionel Medina, Alan Munoz, Tristan Roberts, Iain Campbell, Cristobal Fernandez, Maxime Castillo, Carlos Sanz, and Kevin Torres.

Bodyboarders placing second, third and fourth, will have a chance to surf Round 4, a repechage heat.

The ladies have also hit the water and kicked off the world title race in grand fashion. It is quite clear that overall level has been raised, and that the future world champion will have to work hard to deserve the trophy.

The Round 2 winners were Ayaka Suzuki, Joana Schenker, Alexandra Rinder, and Sari Oahara, and they have all earned a spot in the quarterfinals.