Women’s Fight for Title in Gran Canaria: Impressive Display of Sportsmanship and Female Athleticism.
16th December 2018 Las Palmas de Gran Canaria APP World Surfing Tour Finals
The day dawned clear and sunny with thundering surf at El Loret, the infamous right hand point break in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria which had awoken for Finals Day of the Main Event.
7-8 foot peeling right handers greeted the women for the morning’s competition and the day exploded into new levels of performance for the Women’s side of SUP Surfing.
“It was epic.” – Shakira Westdorp
Slashing top turns, bold snaps and even bigger risks saw the women’s competition heat up for Sunday’s Final Rounds of the APP World Tour here in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. From the Quarter Finals through the final heats, the women on the APP World Tour represented the top action in the world of SUP. And, on this day, did they deliver!
In the Quarter Final rounds we saw the field narrow as Iballa Moreno superceded young Alazne Alonso in a dominant heat. Iballa’s intent was clear as she made singular use of every wave to maximize her scores in a run for the top. Alonso’s surfing was strong but no match for the World Title contender in her home waters surrounded by her fans, family and spectators all eager to see the Canary Island native bring home a World Championship title.
Vania Olivieri Torres matched up with the USA’s Candice Appleby for a searing Quarter Final heat which saw both women finding multiple rides to increase their overall heat scores. However, Torres managed to find the better waves and scored with her high energy turns and incredible consistency down the line executing multiple maneuvers for the judges with technical skill and performance.
In Heat #3, Izzi Gomez turned on the power against Gabriela Sztamfater from Brazil. As the swell built in both power and size, the Californian found her comfort zone with powerful hooks off the top and dramatic cut backs to stay within the waves power zone. Izzi rose to her full performance value throughout Sunday’s competition and the Quarter Final Rounds proved to be her warm up for a massive event.
Last on the docket for the QF was a great match up between Australia’s Shakira Westdorp and Brazil’s Nicole Pacelli. Shakira, a good friend to Iballa Moreno, had it in her power to hand her friend the World Championship Title if she were able to dominate the exceedingly talented Pacelli and knock her from the competition. Shakira’s focus was absolute and when this young Aussie is on her top performance, she is close to unbeatable.
Pacelli’s strong presence has been felt throughout the APP World Tour with her 2nd place finish in New York and her slashing top turns in Gran Canaria. Shakira was able to overcome Pacelli after a heated battle to surf in to a big battle hug from Iballa Moreno who had just won her first ever World SUP Surfing title.
Watch the emotional display of Iballa Moreno’s response to her World Title Championship in the replay of the Live Broadcast at www.appworldtour.com
“It was the best conditions in any SUP Surf contest ever.” – Iballa Moreno
Moving into the Semi Final rounds, the surf at El Lloret reached a point of near perfection. The swell filled in and the waves were firing at six to eight feet with an occasional 10 footer. The crowds multiplied as the action intensified and brought them to their feet: the ideal stage for this World Championship Tour Finals, where the local favorite had just clinched the World Title in front of her home crowd.
Semi Final Heat #1 matched Iballa Moreno with Vania Olivieri Torres. Iballa had won her World Title and now, in seeking a win for the Gran Canaria ProAm, unleashed a new level of power. In a display of hometown courage, Iballa sought shelter under the lip in an 8 footer, almost claiming the first barrel of the event. The crowd rewarded this 2018 windsurf & SUP champ with loud, expressive cheers for the native girl’s efforts. Vania fought back, but was no match for a champ on a roll and the heat ended in Iballa’s favor 12.5/ 6.9.
The day’s second Semi Final heat saw a great confrontation between Shakira Westdorp and Izzi Gomez. As both women recall it, they were cheering each other on and calling one another into massive waves in what became an elite expression session for both athletes. Shakira, charging hard as always, found a powerful drive on one wave and executed her stylish cut backs and top turns with usual precision; however, Izzi was lighting the wick of a whole new level of performance scoring an 8.33 ride as well as several others was able to take the win.
Watch this showmanship & talent display on APP World Tour’s replay of the LIVE BROADCAST at www.appworldtour.com
Two Great Athletes in a Showdown to Remember: Izzi Gomez wins Gran Canaria ProAm as Iballa Moreno takes World Title
The Final Round for the Women held every bit of style, power and performance as the Men’s in a true testament to the rise of the female side of stand up paddle surfing. Celebrating these great athletes for their commitment, drive and talent is what the APP World Tour is all about.
Izzi & Iballa, in a final showdown, did not disappoint the crowds and spectators that had come to watch. Iballa’s strong skills and radical moves in the surf all day, showcasing her courage and confidence as well as massive talent is the criteria for any World Champion.
However, Izzi Gomez, no stranger to large surf and a progressive, powerful competitor had been upping the ante on her scores all day long and would not let Iballa go lightly. It was a great 30 minutes of sport.
Wave after wave the women traded places at the top of the leaderboard, each driving big to increase scores and please the judges Izzi’s wicked snaps off the lip followed by those roundhouse cutbacks were blazing with talent. Iballa answered every move with her own innovative style and technical skill mking it near impossilbe to predict the winner outcome.
As the clock ticked down, Izzi found a perfect set up and scored a 9.5 – highest wave score for the women in the entire competition – for her dominant forehand powerhouse snaps to put her in the lead. Iballa dug deep, but just could not find the wave she would need to overcome Izzi’s impressive scorline ending the heat and te competition with Izzi on top with a heat score total of 16.07 to Iballa’s 14.16.
Izzi Gomez wins the Gran Canaria ProAm, Iballa Moreno takes home the World Championship title. Both women are a testament to the sport and the future it brings. For full event results, end of year Rankings, broadcast replays, photos and miuch more go to www.appworldtour.com and @appworldtour
Written by: Evelyn O’Doherty APP World Tour/Online Editor
The APP World Tour is the Professional World Championship Tour for the Sport of Paddlesurfing (also known as SUP / Stand Up Paddling / Paddleboarding), officially sanctioned by the IOC recognized Federation for Surfing Sports, the ISA (International Surfing Association). Re-branded in 2017 as the APP World Tour (previously known as the Stand Up World Tour and Series) the APP has been crowning the sport’s World Champions for both Men & Women across Racing and Surfing since 2010.
The APP World Tour produces a complete inventory of programming, including live and post produced broadcasts from its events, with distribution to over 100 countries worldwide via premier global networks such as CBS Sports and Fox Sports Asia & Australia. More Information is available at www.appworldtour.com and fans can follow events @appworldtour on Facebook & Instagram. For more information on the APP’s City Paddle Festivals please visit www.citypaddlefestivals.com.