IBC Gran Canaria Fronton King World Cup Day 1.
By Dan Dobbin.
Proffesional level international bodyboarding competition is back with a bang.
The new masters of the international tour, the IBC, finally get a chance showcase to the world what their version of professional level competition looks like.
Competition kicked off in what might be described as playful Fronton.
Slow, occasional 3 footers. Sparkling and clear water and slightly crosshore / offshore winds.
The kind of waves you might surf if you had nothing on and it was uncrowded, but at the same time it wouldn’t take much to convince you otherwise if a few more bodies entered the line up, or the wind puffed up a little stronger.
First up, we need to acknowledge that, in pro competition at the very least, the bodyboarding world has shifted on its axis. Australia is no longer the super power or main focus of the boogieverse. This is best exemplified by the commentary being conducted almost exclusively in Spanish.
Being a White Middle-class Dick Dragger from Australia, I’ve never learnt another language outside of English, because, you know, the Poms colonized most of the earths surface in the previous two centuries.
My Spanish consists of what I picked up from my kids watching Dora The Explorer 15 years ago, which is basically ” Hola” and “Swiper, no swiping” which I’m pretty certain is English….
Given that the vast bulk of the commentary went down in Spanish, piecing the action together became an almost strictly visual affair.
Judging by the event sponsors and adverts playing between each heat, the Fronton King is largely bankrolled by Gran Canaria tourism, with ads featuring the picturesque landscapes of the islands rolling in high rotation in each break.
Red Bull is also a notable naming sponsor, with something called the Red Bull ” Banana ” challenge going down each day. The best air move of the day will be nominated by the judges, with the best overall move winning $1000 Euro at the end of the competition.
Round 1 in the mens division demonstrated that if you could find two scores of 6 or better, you were probably going to advance. Banging out two rolls and a clean faced spinner or a solid flip with a follow up manoeuvre would get you through.
The best heat of Round One saw Aitor Ojeds in control for much of the heat before Javi Dominguez, who had the heats highest single wave score of 6.75, get busy in the last 5 mins with a solid flip on right to snatch the victory with a 11.10 to Ojeds 11.00.
I tip my hat to whoever first applied the term ” groveling ” to the practice of hussling to get the most out of a wave, especially in competition.
It’s one hundred percent nessesary in some conditions, but it just looks so …. undignified. The frantic energy and constant motion. The binary opposite to the flowing with a waves energy that can make wave riding look poetic.
Still, competition is about doing what you need to do to win, there’s no room for principle if you want to stand on the podium.
One rider who wasn’t groveling was Alexandra Rinder. Her woman on woman heat with with Bego Martinez was arguably more entertaining than any of the mens round 1 heats. Alexandra peppered her heat with a solid ARS, an Air Forward, an Air Reverse. I hope she’s also in the Mens division somewhere, I’d wager she’d take down a few scalps.
The interspersing of the Womens heats with the Mens was a cool innovation that ensured the girls equal opportunity to both decent waves and air time, something which had often been lacking in the past.
Pierre Louis Costes scrapped through heat 8 on the back of a backflip in the last 10 seconds of the heat to register two scoring waves. Diego Cabrera was a no show in the following heat that suffered badly with the high tide. Shortly afterwards the competition was put in hold because combined with the small swell, Fronton basically stopped breaking.
The resumption of action after an hour or so break saw an increase in the crosshore wind, making tough conditions even tougher, and to be honest, a tough watch at times for your writer as late night dipped into early morning here in Oz.
Amaury Lavernhe and Igor Sanchez battled it out in the final heat of the day, with a lofted flip on the left by Moz proving the difference, perhaps a little over scored, at 7.5.
Competition will be off for today, with an increase in swell predicited for Wednesday into Thursday.