Ben Player: spinning in small wave conditions in Kiama | Photo: Glasson/APB

The year 2018 won't go down as one of the most memorable years in professional bodyboarding.

The APB World Tour was not able to run the iconic Pipeline Invitational, and Teahupoo did not even make it to the provisional calendar.

To make things worse, and with four months to go, we now know that the world's best performers won't get barreled in the Canary Islands.

It's been a frustrating year, especially because APB officials had put a lot of hope an expectations in a new competitive format, with a couple of revolutions in and out of the water.

One of the most important decisions was to split the tour into two tiers - the Qualifying Event Series Tour (QEST), and the World Grand Slam Series (WGS).

The QEST was supposed to be a circuit open to all riders, while the WGS would showcase the top 24 bodyboarders.

A Slow Start and a Frustrating End

The season kicked off with a low-key QEST event held in Port Alfred, in South Africa. Tristan Roberts ended up winning the West Beach Warfare, but there was never a wrap-up video of the ghost contest.

The elite season kicked off late. The first stop on the WGS schedule got underway in June, in Chile, and another successful stop in Brazil followed it.

Riders were then unlucky at Kiama. There were no waves, and the event champion had to be crowned in mediocre conditions. But there was more bad news.

In the absence of an official statement, fans, athletes and media were informally told that the last event of the year would not be held in Galdar's El Fronton due to "disagreements with the local promoter over media rights."

The spot has been considered of the favorite breaks on tour by athletes and bodyboarding fans, but both parties did not reach an agreement.

As a result, the world champion will be crowned at Nazaré's Praia do Norte, in Portugal, meaning that the APB World Tour's calendar is cut down to four WGS contests and three QEST events.

This disappointing outcome puts professional bodyboarding on the same level of, for instance, professional skimboarding.

Hopefully, the organization led by Alex Leon will surprise fans and athletes next season with a handful of exciting new additions. Otherwise, the APB insignia could enter a downward spiral, similar to the one that put an end to the IBA World Tour era.

Dimitri Maramenides, the founder and owner of Epic Kites, rode his kite a few hours before Hurricane Florence hit the East Coast of the United States.

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