Finals Day at the Gran Canaria Pro delivered fireworks, as SUP's Brazilian storm was in full effect at the beautiful and groomed righthand point break of El Lloret.
From Day one, despite still recovering from being very sick this past week, Wellington Reis has been the top performer during each and every day of competition, and Finals Day was no different: in quarterfinal #1, he had to overcome the 2018 World Champion Sean Poynter, before taking on the current World #1, the Tahitian phenom Poenaiki Raioha.
After what was a historic 'battle of the titans', the goofy footer managed to edge out the World #1 with a dynamic display of backhand surfing at its very best, posting a pair of excellent scores in the process and continuing to cement himself as the 'on form' surfer of the event.
That left just one heat to go before realizing his 2019 goal of taking victory on the APP World Tour, but coming up against the 2012 World Champion and fellow Brazilian Leco Salazar was never going to be an easy task.
Peaking at the right time, in the final heat, Wellington Reis put on a performance for the ages, posting a perfect 10 and a 9.4 to dominate the Final and secure his first APP World Tour victory with a flawless display of performance surfing.
It was an extremely well deserved victory for the talented Brazilian that sees him finish in a well deserved 2nd place overall for 2019, as Wellington will now set his sights on the 2020 World Title here on the APP World Tour.
Here is the Top 4 from the Gran Canaria Pro-Am, the final stop of the 2019 APP World Tour:
Wellington Reis (Brazil)Leco Salazar (Brazil)Poenaiki Raioha (Tahiti)Luiz Diniz (Brazil)
Check out the highlights, broadcast replays, recaps and much more from what has been an incredible World Championship Tour Final here in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria by going to appworldtour.com and @appworldtour
2018 World Champion Iballa Moreno had a slow start to 2019, coming off the high of winning the World Title at the end of 2018 and not able to continue the kind of form she displayed at the end of last season. However, things started to turn around in Barbados, where Iballa posted a strong 3rd place finish, comfortable in the knowledge that she would be coming home for the World Championship Tour Finals in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
True to form and strengthened by the support of her home crowd, Iballa put on stellar performances through the rounds, peaking at just the right time to secure the event win in front of friends and family against the newly crowned World Champion Izzi Gomez from Columbia.
In an extremely appropriate reversal of last year's results where Iballa just missed out on the event win at the hands of Izzi Gomez, but managed to secure the World Title. In 2019, Izzi came into this event with the World Title already secured, but had to settle for 2nd in the event at the hands of the local favorite.
An elated Iballa Moreno returned to the beach to be greeted by friends and family, representing the host venue of Gran Canaria in incredible fashion here once again, with a victory that catapults her up into 2nd place finish Overall for 2019. What an incredible achievement for this Canarian local, and while she is no stranger to World Championship Tour victories (having won multiple Windsurfing World TItles over the years), but this victory in front of a home crowd and in such great conditions, is definitely one to savor.
It should also be noted that at now 42 years old, she is still one of the most dominant athletes on Tour, as 2018 World Champion and now finishing runner up in 2019, it is clear that Iballa still has a lot more in the tank and will continue to be a major threat on Tour, even with the amazing rise in talent across the whole women's field that we have seen over the past 2 years.
Here at the Top 4 finishers at the 2019 Gran Canaria Pro-Am:
Iballa Moreno (Spain)
Izzi Gomez (Columbia)
Vania Torres (Peru)
Gabi Sztamfater (Brazil)
After a couple of years of disappointing (relatively) finishes for the 2012 World Champion Leco Salazar from Santos, Brazil, it was exciting to see Leco find his form through the back end of the 2019 season to post Finals finishes in both Barbados and here in Gran Canaria to finish in 3rd overall for the year.
He demonstrated clearly that his unique brand of smooth surfing never grows old, with his timing and turn placement second to none on the APP World Tour. Like in Barbados, Leco once again took down some of the most talented athletes on Tour: from Hawaii's Mo Freitas (reminiscent of their 2012 battle in Brazil back in Ubatuba, Brazil) and the on form Benoit Carpentier from France, to Title Contender and fellow Brazilian Luiz Diniz: Leco seemed to just flow through the rounds on his way to the Final, finding the right waves and placing his turns perfectly to secure another well deserved Finals Berth.
While he was not able to overcome Wellington Reis in the Final, a 2nd place finish keeps him on the Podium for the Overall, and the Salazar family as one of the major threats on the APP World Tour for years to come (Leco's brother Matheus has been on incredible form in 2019, but unfortunately had to miss his Round 3 heat due to sickness - we wish him a swift recovery).
48 hours prior to the kick off for Round 1 of the Women, Izzi Gomez from Columbia was in Maui, waiting for confirmation of her spot in the Peahi Big Wave Event, but trying to figure out how she was going to make it to Gran Canaria on time to wrap her 2019 season in style. Four planes and over 24 hours of traveling later, Izzi Gomez was picked up by Iballa Moreno and Shakira Westdorp at the Las Palmas airport, as they raced up to El Lloret to take part in the Gran Canaria Pro-Am, the final stop of the 2019 APP World Tour.
Despite her boards not making it as fast as Izzi, a late surge in her Round 1 heat secured her advancement directly through to Round 3, as Izzi was able to rest and receive her boards in advance of Finals Day.
Once back in the jersey in firing El Lloret, Izzi once again demonstrated why she is 5x World Champion on the APP World Tour, even amidst all the incredible rising talent among the Women on Tour, putting together an impressive display of performance surfing at one of the most beatuiful waves on Tour.
While Izzi was unable to overcome the local favorite Iballa Moreno in the Final, a 2nd place for the event cements her as the most dominant athlete on Tour, with two wins and a second as her counting results for the 2019 season as she secures a record 5th World Title. An amazing achievement for an athlete that is so young and clearly still has so much ahead of her.
Here is the Top 5 Overall from the 2019 Season on the APP World Tour:
Izzi Gomez (Columbia)
Iballa Moreno (Spain)
Vania Torres (Peru)
Fiona Wylde (USA)
Shakira Westdorp (Australia)
The Gran Canaria Pro-am caps what has been an incredible year on the APP World Tour, that started back in February, in Sunset on Oahu's North Shore and finished here in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria yesterday.
It is hard to imagine that this finish also marks the 10 year anniversary for the Tour in 2019, a Tour that started back in February of 2010 after its initial exhibition in Tahiti in 2009 and has evolved to where it is today. It has crowned Men and Women's World Champions each and every year for Surfing and since 2012 for Racing, as it continues to redefine the cutting edge of this incredible sport.
If this week's performances from the athletes on the APP World Tour are anything to go by, the future of the Tour looks very bright and is in good hands: with more excellent scores on Finals Day than has ever been seen on Tour, it is a true testament to the evolution of the sport and the unique venues that the APP World Tour has been able to establish to provide this dynamic platform for its athletes.
As the APP prepares to release its Official 2020 schedule this week, it would like to thank all its staff, its athletes and its fans for an incredible 10 years, we look forward to the next 10 years with excitement and enthusiasm. Stay tuned for the Official Release of the 2020 schedule and look back on what has been a spectacular 2019 season by going to appworldtour.com and @appworldtour