Anticipation reaches a fever pitch as APP World Tour athletes get ready for the final stop of the 2018 APP World Surfing Tour in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
LAS PALMAS DE GRAN CANARIA HOSTS PERFECT AMPHITHEATER FOR A WORLD TITLE EVENT
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, the epicenter of surf culture on Gran Canaria, will host the final showdown for this year’s APP World Surfing Tour in a multi-tiered event. The wave window for this ultimate showdown World Title competition is 11 – 20th, December.
Held in El Lloret, a premiere surfing spot along Playa de Las Canteras in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, the event boasts a multi-layered competition including the Open Trials division. From the Open Trials, the Top 4 Men and Top 2 and women will earn a seat in the Main Event. The Main Event hosts the top level athletes in today’s sport of performance stand up paddle surfing, including Pros like Kai Lenny of Hawaii, Luiz Diniz from Brazil who recently won the ISA World Championship for SUP Surfing, Sean Poynter – the APP Tour’s leader to date – along with Mo Freitas, Poenaiki Raioha and Zane Schweitzer.
In addition, the APP World Tour promotes and supports the junior youth by offering them a chance to compete on the World Stage at El Lloret through their Under-18 / Under-16 divisions based upon registration.
El Lloret is a right hand point break, not dissimilar to Sunset Beach on Oahu when the swell is smaller. There is a wave directly in front of the Event Village which provides a perfect amphitheater with a performance left and some rights making for a very consistent and exciting venue.
It has been a very active season in the Atlantic so far, so the APP World Tour coordinators anticipate some epic action within that wave window in order to culminate their surf season. El Lloret has a tendency to deliver in this mid-December window so we could be due for an epic swell during finals!
ATHLETES TO WATCH OUT FOR VYING FOR A WORLD TITLE
Although all of the Pro Athletes on the APP World Tour are all World Title contenders, we are keeping a close eye on certain key players who have already staked their claim on the title through their performances in New York.
Sean Poynter: Sean is currently leading the pack after his electrifying performance in the NY SUP Open. He has proven himself to be in excellent form and has fine tuned his competitive surfing style thanks to coaching from Ian Cairns, a world class coach. The combination of drive with stellar coaching proved lethal in New York where Sean edged out fierce competitor and teammate Zane Schweitzer in a heated Finals Event. Sean continues to look strong as he moved through the ISA Games in China last week.
Poenaiki Raioha: Poenaiki is a proven powerhouse. He is perfectly suited for the powerful right hand point breaks rolling through Playa de Las Canteras in Las Palmas and we expect the venue to only sharpen his performance tenfold. The wave at El Lloret is likely to hold more size than it did in Long Beach, NY which will only encourage Poe to be a very dangerous and stealthy competitor.
Zane Schweitzer: Zane has been looking focused and sharp all year, putting on a high caliber of performance in Long Beach. His snaps off the lip and powerful drive down the face of the wave were impressive to watch and it was only in wave selection where he was edged out by Poynter in the Finals in New York. We know that, regardless of conditions, Zane will bring a radical edge to his surfing and has the potential to make a strong run at the World Championship in Gran Canaria. Also, the loss in NY stung. We think that will only motivate this young Hawaiian more to come out on top.
Mo Freitas: Everybody’s favorite, Mo Freitas, just coming off a strong swell in his home waters in Hawaii, is going to be on fire. Full rail carves are Mo’s optimal game and this style of surfing is perfectly suited to the canvas that El Lloret provides. Always in the running for the World Title, Mo will be looking to post a strong performance to close the 2018 season.
Kai Lenny: Multiple times World Champion, Kai is as well rounded as waterman and finely tuned a machine as an athlete can develop. Kai’s incredible talent was perfectly showcased this past week at the WSL Pe’ahi Big Wave Challenge. He is on top of his game and frothing to win. As anybody knows, Kai is dangerous in any conditions, especially if there is more size in the water and he will be in the mix seeking Gold, Silver, Bronze or Copper on the APP World Tour.
Caio Vaz: Another incredible athlete with a huge mix of talent we should be seeing return to the competition is Caio Vaz, 2x World Champion. Like Kai, Caio is multi-faceted as a waterman, fiercely devoted to his performance and ready to surf his way to the top.
MEN’S SPOILER’S/WORLD TITLE CONTENDERS TO WATCH ON APP WORLD TOUR
Among the top level competitors are a mix of up and coming athletes who have infiltrated the ranks deeply and will be looking to make a name for themselves on this final stop of the APP World Tour in the Canaries. We call them the Spoilers, because their plans may just upset that of the tried & true Pros who expect a podium finish. Watch out for:
Wellington Reis: Wellington’s surfing in New York was phenomenal. He works with an incredible flow and has a well rounded game. Wellington is a dark horse in the lineup capable of taking down the best of the best given the right conditions.
Luis Diniz: Luiz is both radical and progressive. Just off of his ISA World Championship win in China, he will be looking to further up his ante in the Canary Islands. The conditions at Las Palmas, Gran Canaria might well play into his wheel house where he can unleash some of the most progressive moves in the sport. Luiz is a dangerous mix of talent and sophistication which makes him a lethal combination to watch out for.
The Salazars: Both Leco and Matheus Salazar are dangerous. While Leco posted a disappointing result in New York, his surfing looked sharp and on point and with a World Title under his belt, Leco will be looking for redemption.
FEMALES OF DOMINANCE ON APP WORLD TOUR
The impressive snaps and cutbacks on the women’s side of the competition in New York is a beacon as to how rapidly the sport of SUP Surfing has progressed for females. Be on the look out for some awe-inspiring moments from these fierce contenders!
Iballa Moreno: Iballa is in home waters in the Canaries and coming off a very impressive win in New York. She also gave powerhouse Shakira Westdorp a dramatic run for her money in China’s ISA World Championships last week, where Westdorp won only upon the final wave score. How Iballa manages the comfort of competing at home with the pressure of performing in front of her home crowd remains to be seen, but her talent and surfing are both on point and posed for great success. Iballa will perform at her best level yet in Gran Canaria.
Nicole Pacelli: Nicole is the APP 2013 World Champion from Brazil. With her round house cutbacks and focused determination, she is always a threat in any line up. Her surfing performance is looking more focused and fluid than ever in 2018 and her 2nd place finish to Iballa Moreno in New York will only stoke her fire to smash through the boundaries and put herself on top.
Izzi Gomez: When Izzi’s game is on point, there are few that can touch her. Her surfing game and style is in a league unto themselves. The multiple time World Champion had a disappointing finish in New York, being knocked out in an earlier round by a young hopeful, and we know Izzi will be looking for redemption in Gran Canaria. With a bigger swell on tap to contend with, we can be sure Izzi will reassert the dominance and placement in the World’s rankings.
Shakira Westdorp: Lethal and focused, that’s Shakira when her performance is on point. Her outstanding performance in last week’s ISA World Championships in China where she was able to shake off Iballa Moreno in the final round of waves, only reasserts her position among the top women in the sport. Shakira’s luke-warm results from the NY SUP Open will surely fire her competitive edge for redemption as she comes to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria fresh off her win in Hainan and looking for more spoils for her treasure house.
WOMEN TO WATCH FOR: WORLD TITLE CONTENDERS WITHOUT THE HYPE BUT STILL LETHAL
Women Spoilers: Watch out for these women! Young hopefuls with a huge wheelhouse of talent and a drive to push themselves beyond established barriers, the following line up of ladies is sure to shake things up a bit in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
Dominique Miller: Dominique entered the Main Event through the ProAM division in the NY SUP Open. Her focus and determination knocked out World Champ Izzi Gomez in the early rounds and, from there, she found her flair and fire. Miller finished a strong 3rd place in New York among the World’s Best with a stand out performance. She will once again be a real threat in Gran Canaria.
Gabriela Sztamfer: Gabriela showed moments of brilliance at the NY SUP Open and is certainly a star of the future. She will be looking to make her presence felt in Gran Canaria.
Both Terrene Black and Candice Appleby have been showing solid form, with Terrene rounding out a 3rd place finish in New York. She is poised for great things to wrap the season. Candice, a star performer and soulful surfer, will be seeking a solid performance in the Canary Islands to go with her fiery racing technique. Both Terrene and Candice have been on the charge all season, so watch out as these two powerhouses go to work.
Written by: Evelyn O’Doherty Online Editor / APP World Tour