Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Thursday 5th December 2019: As the World's best Racers prepare fror action this weekend in Paris for the Final stop of the 2019 APP World Championship Racing Tour, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria prepares itself to host the very best SUP Surfers in the World for the Final stop of the 2019 APP World Surfing Tour, with the Opening Day on the 10th, and first possible action to go down on the 11th December.
It has been an epic year so far on the APP World Tour, with spectacular action and mind blowing progression across all the stops on Tour:
1) Sunset Beach on the North Shore of Oahu saw a dramatic finish, with wild and woolly conditions for the Women who opted for size mid way through the holding period and groomed Final day conditions for the Men, with Fiona Wylde from the USA and Poenaiki Raioha from Tahiti claiming victory at this prestigious World Tour Opener
2) New York demanded a whole different skill set from the World's best, as they were met with smaller, groomed beach break conditions and a dominant lefthander, providing a whole new challenge for the assembled athletes. In the end, it was the Brazilian high flier Luiz Diniz who took victory amongst the Men, with Izzi Gomez from Columbia claiming victory for the Women
3) Barbados provided a dream like showcase of progressive SUP Surfing at the high performance 'Soup Bowl', with definining performances from all the best in the World that provided an interesting turn for the TItle Race. We saw the welcomed return of the 2012 World Champion Leco Salazar from Brazil, who after defeating the World #1 in the semis, fell at the hands of the 2018 World Champion Sean Poynter from the USA, who took the win and put himself into Title Contention. In the Women, Izzi Gomez was able to take the win in Barbados and clinch her record 5th World Title in advance of the Final in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
So it all comes down to this final stop to determine the World TItle for the Men, and for last minute positioning among the Women to decide final ranking and seeding towards the 2020 season, not to mention bragging rights at one of the best spots on Tour: a World Class Right hand point break on the beautiful North Shore of Gran Canaria.
The performance level amongst the Women has been sky rocketing over the past few years, with a wealth of talent emerging from the Americas, Europe and Asia, as we anticipate a dramatic final showdown for 2019 in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria for the Gran Canaria Pro-Am.
With action anticipated as early as the 11th December, watch out for the Worlds' best Women as they take on the magical surf on offer in Las Palmas to decide the final standings for the 2019 Season and crown a Gran Canaria Pro-Am Champion.
In 2018, we saw a comeback from Izzi Gomez from Columbia to take the win at the inaugural edition of the Gran Canaria Pro-Am, but it was all about the local girl, Iballa Moreno from Gran Canaria who was able to secure her maiden World Title in epic fashion with an emotional and well deserved second place finish for the event in front of her home crowd.
However, behind these leading Ladies was a whole host of talent, all pushing hard to make their presences felt at the all important final stop of the 2018 APP World Tour. Their progress through the ranks has continued through 2019, as we see Vania Torres from Peru moving up to 4th place overall, with real momentum after her Finals finish in Barbados, but also Lara Claydon right behind her in 5th.
Meanwhile, Sunset Beach Pro Champion Fiona Wylde from the USA has managed to maintain her second place position, but will have a battle on her hands coming into the final stop in Gran Canaria, a spot that is however ideally suited to her style of surfing. Also to watch out for is the ever dangerous Shakira Westdorp from Australia, who is always on the edge of greatness on the APP World Tour, now sitting in 3rd, but looking to improve at this Final stop of the Season.
Finally, watch out for local girl Iballa Moreno, who will be back home and feeling comfortable for this final stop, with the home crowd behind her and nothing to lose after a tough start to the season in Hawaii and New York. Coming off a well deserved 3rd place finish in Barbados, Iballa has her eyes set on the event crown in 2019, a feat that would transform her overall position for the year and secure what she just missed out on in 2018 at home in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
Poenaiki Raioha from Tahiti seemed in a very dominant position coming into the last stop of the Tour in Barbados, with a win at Sunset and a 2nd place in New York and confronted with a high performance right hand point break, seemingly conditions made for the young Tahitian powerhouse.
However, the experience of the 2012 World Champion Leco Salazar from Brazil was enough to topple Poenaiki in the semi finals, with superior wave selection and heat strategy that took him to a defining win at the penultimate stop of the year.
This had a profound effect on the World Title Race coming into the final stop in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, with Leco Salazar now sitting with an outside chance at the Title, currently sitting in 3rd place overall, current World #2, Brazil's Luiz Diniz also with his eyes on the prize, and of course the eventual event winner, the American Sean Poynter now looking at the prospect of defending his 2018 Title if he can win the Gran Canaria Pro-Am.
That being said, we all saw what happened in 2018, as Poenaiki Raioha's brand of power surfing translated to excellence across the board at the magnificent right hand point break of El Lloret, so the Tahtian still absolutely remains the man to beat, with a 1st, a 2nd and a 4th as his results so far for 2019, which, coupled with the single discard give him a strong advantage.
Whatever happens, it will be a showdown to remember, and the long range forecast looks promising for some more pumping surf for this dramatic final stop of the 2019 APP World Tour in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Make sure to join us LIVE for all the action from the Gran Canaria Pro-Am as early as December 11th at appworldtour.com and @appworldtour
Watch out for the APP World Tour's very own Brazilian storm at this final stop of the 2019 Season, as 4 out of the current top 5 are from Brazil, and have been posting some of the most memorable performances of the year. In particular, outside of Luiz and Leco, Wellington Reis' electric backhand has taken him to 3rd place in Sunset and to 5th in New York and Barbados and is certainly a major threat coming into the final event, while the younger brother of Leco Salazar, Matheus, has been putting on a showcase of some of the most progressive and finely tuned surfing of the year.
Then there is the Frenchman, Benoit Carpentier, currently sitting in 8th overall, but fresh off a win at the ISA World Championships in El Salvador and no stranger to this World Class European pointbreak on the North Shore of Gran Canaria, not to mentione his fellow patriot, Julien Bouyer, who finished in 3rd last year in Las Palmas, and will be looking for a strong finish to his season, currently sitting in 10th.
The final unknown is the local wildcards: in particular watch out for a young waterman by the name of Liam Dunkerbeck: already an accomplished shortboard surfer with a competitive mindset and unparalleled experience for someone so young, but also a World Class windsurfer, competing on the World Tour at just 15 years old. Clearly following in his Father's footsteps (Bjorn Dunkerbeck is the most successful windsurfer of all time, with a record 42 World Titles across windsurfing's multiple disciplines), Liam's well rounded approach is certainly reminiscent of a young Kai Lenny, as he is being groomed for greatness in Europe's very own version of Hawaii: the Canary Islands.