Bathsheba, Barbados, Saturday 16th November 2019: The final day of competition here at the Barbados Pro delivered in every sense: the best waves of the week, glassy conditions and the final 8 Men and Women lined up to do battle for victory here at Stop #3 of the 2019 APP World Tour.
From the outset, Sean Poynter has managed to post a 9+ point ride in every single heat on his way to the Final, clearly one of the stand outs of the Barbados Pro with the highest heat score totals of the event.
Faced with an on form Leco Salazar, a throw back to the battle for the Title in 2012 where Leco came out on top to take the World Championship Crown, Sean started slower than in previous heats, but delivered progression at its best with a cleanly landed aerial followed by a series of well linked turns to get him back in the mix, after a strong start from the 2012 World Champion.
But it was not over yet, as the two World Champions went blow for blow in one of the most exciting finals in years on the APP World Tour that saw Leco in an incredibly strong position with a pair of eights with just minutes to go in the heat.
However, clearly in rhythm with the Soup Bowl all week, one of the best set waves of the day appeared and Sean Poynter was in the perfect position, dropping in to link together one of the best waves of the event, and just when it mattered, posting a 9.1 and setting a challenging heat score total for Leco to overcome with just minutes left.
For Sean, it was a dream ending to a dream event - he has a special connection with the break, and it was clear that his brand of surfing is ideally suited to the performance focused surf at the Soup Bowl.
With his parents in attendance for the first time at an APP World Tour Event,
Sean not only won the event, but put himself back into contention for the 2019 World Title: while he needs to win the Gran Canaria Pro-Am in order to retain his Title in 2019 and would need Poenaiki to finish 4th or worse, given his performance here and his track record in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, the 2019 World TItle is far from decided.
Check out the highlights and full broadcast replays from all days of competition at appworldtour.com and @appworldtour and stay tuned for the build up to the World Championship Tour Finals in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria coming up from the 10th - 19th December.
Leco Salazar was the original leading light from Brazil, winning Brazil's first World Title on the APP World Tour back in 2012, sparking a momentum for the sport that is now seemingly unstoppable. With 4 out of the Top 5 in the ranking coming from Brazil, Leco has a lot to be proud of.
Leco has managed to evolve with the sport and has remained firmly entrenched in the top 10 since his 2012 World Title, but has not managed to repeat the dominant form that took him to that maiden World Title.
All that changed yesterday, as Leco got into that dangerous flow that he is known for, swinging like a pendulum in a rapid assault of the Soup Bowl taking him all the way to the Final, where he came up against the eventual victor Sean Poynter after taking down the current ratings leader Poenaiki Raioha.
While he had to settle for 2nd place in the final, it was one of the most exciting battles of the year, with plenty of opportunity for both athletes to link together high performance turns on the clean Soup Bowl walls, and until the dying minutes of the heat, it seemed as though Leco had it all but sewn up, with a pair of 8 point rides that left Sean in need of an excellent score.
Sean's last wave clinched the victory, but Leco's performance at the Barbados Pro did not go unnoticed, and he has now jumped up to 3rd overall in the World as one of the frontrunners of the Tour: it is great to see him back in this kind of form!
Tamil Martino from Peru has long been a mainstay on the APP World Tour and has always posted consistent and impressive performances over the years as a solid ambassador for his country.
However, here at the Barbados Pro, it was clear that he had tapped into something special, linking into the best waves of every heat and putting together some cleanly executed rides to take him all the way to the semi finals for a tight match up with the eventual Barbados Pro Champion, Sean Poynter.
While Tamil fell short in the Semi Finals, he came out of the gates strong in the consolation final to secure 3rd place for the event, a great result for the Peruvian talent.
Check out the highlights, galleries and broadcast replays from all the action at the Barbados Pro and stay tuned for the build up to the World Championship Tour Finals in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria at appworldtour.com and @appworldtour
Current Ratings leader Poenaiki Raioha from Tahiti was the man to watch for much of the Barbados Pro, linking together some of the most critical and powerful turns of the event.
However, in the Semi Finals, the Tahitian powerhouse couldn't find the waves he needed to showcase his surfing, while the 2012 World Champion Leco Salazar seemed to be a magnet, leaving Poenaiki to settle for the Consolation Final.
Again in the Consolation Final it seemed that Poenaiki couldn't link into the good ones, leaving Tamil to take the victory and having to settle for 4th place overall for the event.
That being said, Poenaiki is still very much in the driving seat for the 2019 World Title conversation, maintaining a very healthy Ratings Lead and with the best chance out of any of the contenders of securing his maiden World Title in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
1) Sean Poynter (USA)
2) Leco Salazar (Brazil)
3) Tamil Martino (Peru)
4) Poenaiki Raioha (Tahiti)
5) Benoit Carpentier (France) / Bernd Roediger (Hawaii) / Matheus Salazar (Brazil) / Wellington Reis (Brazil)
9) Julien Bouyer (France) / Juan de los Reyes (Spain) / Kauan Terra (Brazil) / Marcio Grillo (Brazil) / Maximillian Torres (Puerto Rico) / Leonardo Gimenes (Brazil) / Lucas Medeiros (Brazil) / Luiz Diniz (Brazil)
17) Bezinho Otero (Brazil) / Jason Cole (Barbados) / Zane Saenz (Hawaii) / Camille Bouyer (France) / Daniel Hughes (USA) / Luciano Esteves (Brazil) / Adam Quandt (US Virgin Islands) / Tremayne Wilcott (Barbados)
As we come to the end of an incredible week here in Barbados filled with spectacular action, dramatic competition and unparalleled 'good vibes', the APP would like to thank the incredible people of Barbados and the Community of Bathsheba for welcoming us so wholeheartedly to their magical home.
Outside of the World Class waves and stunning surroundings that never cease to amaze, the experiences that the APP World Tour athletes were able to share this week in Barbados are unmatched. Barbados has been an instant hit, and has fast become a favorite stop on the APP World Tour after just one edition.
A big thank you to the BTMI / @visitbarbados for their support of this inaugural edition of the Barbados Pro, and to Sea2see eyewear for their patronage of the event and the Tour. We can't wait to come back in 2020!
For all highlights, photos, special features and more from the Barbados Pro, please visit appworldtour.com and @appworldtour and for more on the beautiful island of Barbados, please go to visitbarbados.org