2020 APB World Tour: a season of changes and big decisions

November 21, 2019 | Bodyboarding
Tristan Roberts: the 2019 APB World Tour champion | Photo: APB

Alex Leon resigned officially as the CEO of the APB. Terry McKenna is assuming the leading role in the newly-created organization.

In an exclusive, feature-length interview with SurferToday.com, McKenna explained the changes that he plans to implement on the professional bodyboarding circuit.

One of the most critical decisions was to shut down the APB Pty Ltd and create a new non-profit organization that will include some of the old staff members.

As a result, event promoters will play a critical role in the development of the upcoming APB World Tour.

"The promoters are the ones that put the contests on. For a long time, they have been asking to come to the forefront of the decision-making process," explained Terry McKenna.

The future competitive bodyboarding circuit will continue to grow its interaction with its online audience. The judging model will also reflect the new era of tweaks and improvements.

"This year, more than 200 people applied a judging course in Antofagasta. We're keen to give more opportunities to other judges," underlined the veteran tour manager.

In the upcoming months, the APB representatives will have to make some really big decisions regarding a potential restructure of the tour.

"The tour is growing, and more events want to join the circuit. This year, we had 11 contests. Next year, it could be up to 16 events."

"But there is less financial support from the brands, the industry is shrinking, so we need to re-engineer the way that the tour works," notes Terry McKenna.

Frontón King: one of the most exciting event on the APB World Tour calendar | Photo: APB

The One-Off World Bodyboarding Championships

Traveling the world is expensive, and not all riders can afford to pay for long flights and accommodation. So, in a way, the current competitive format generates an unfair advantage for some athletes.

"I think that the 2020 APB World Tour should become a qualification tour for the World Bodyboarding Championships in Pipeline in February 2021," McKenna told SurferToday.

In other words, the idea is to set a world tour comprised of one to ten-star events that will qualify bodyboarders for a playoff with the top 24 riders.

"If you win any of those, you will go directly into the Pipeline event. You can follow the tour or win just one event to get a place at the major event."

So, at the end of the year, the rankings will show who's inside the top 24. The one-off World Bodyboarding Championships would include the national champions from regional events like the European Tour of Bodyboard (ETB), the ABA Tour, and the American, Brazilian, and Japanese tour.

"People who've got the money to follow the tour, follow the tour," adds McKenna.

APB World Tour: professional bodyboarding will be led by a non-profit organization | Photo: APB

Exciting Content and Experienced Staff

The future non-profit APB is also thinking about creating a media platform - like APB TV - and "make it a Netflix for bodyboarders."

"We put all of our material from around the world into this one portal, and this could be a one-stop-shop for bodyboarders who maybe pay ten dollars a year to access everything that is on there, including the stuff like the Underground Tapes and the Tension series," explained Terry.

The APB structure is already defined.

Natasha Sagardia will be the new general manager of APB. She will work with Arturo Soto, Danny Hernandez, Ramon Alvarez, and Julianna Lara to boost the tour's popularity.

Joana Schenker and Josh Kirkman will be the riders' representatives.

And what about Terry McKenna. The man who helped reshape professional bodyboarding in the last couple of decades will not be on tour forever.

"I'd say 2020 will probably be my last year in bodyboarding because I have to get on with other things in my life," revealed the iconic bodyboarder-promoter.

Sari Ohara and Tristan Roberts: the ruled the 2019 APB World Tour season | Photo: APB

Surprises in the Making

Terry McKenna wants bodyboarding to reach everyone. So, social programs and specialized clinics will continue, for example, in South America.

He also wants to give amateur and recreational riders a voice.

"Hopefully, we will bring in drop knee, and free riders into APB TV, so that we can put everyone into one domain under the one umbrella."

The commander of the newly-founded, non-profit APB, also wants to increase the number of Heritage Series heats featuring the veterans of the sport.

The women's tour will also unveil innovative ideas and new venues.

On the men's side, expect a world-class event in Nazaré sponsored by multinational companies and, possibly, and a wave pool contest already in 2020.

The future of bodyboarding looks bright. Now, it's time for the fans to step forward and positively help build an exciting APB World Tour.