We Watched The Sintra Pro So You Don’t Have To.
By Dan Dobbin.
Look I’ll be honest, I watched the Sintra Pro, but I didn’t really watch it.
More like it was on in the background, and I glanced at the screen every time commentator Bego Martinez would say “Oh maa gawwwd”.
The Open division mainly consisted of competitors trying to huck a flip off a 2ft close out.
Fuck knows how many times I watched the same kindred manoeuvre be thrown down over and over. At one point my young bloke wandered into the room, watched a competitor force a flopflip and remarked “Why did he do that? That looked so forced” before wandering out again.
Well my young padawan, make that flopflip and you were rewarded with a 6 or above. Do it with a little more projection and you were into the high 7’s, with a combination of the two enough to get you through the heat. Flopflip your way to victory.
The Opens final followed the script and was basically a flopflip shootout between Pierre Louis Costes more technical stylish flips and Uri Valadao’s bull in a China shop backfly hucks.
Uri’s technique is to paddling in all fins blazing to generate as much momentum as possible, maintain the high line for speed and then throw himself as high and far as possible from the lip as he projects arse over tit.
Pierre, whilst also guilty of milking his fair quota of close out flips, seemed more intent on hugging the pocket and waiting for a clean lip around the bowl to present itself from which to launch his patterned projections .
The final wave exchange that decided the contest highlighted these respective approaches and ultimately decided the result. Uri rolled through a crumbly section, whipped a classic Brazilian flat section reverse spinner then projected a flip off the oncoming close out section for a 7.5 to go with his 7.75 from an earlier huck flip.
Further down the beach Pierre tracked down a slightly smaller but hollower left and whipped one of signature flips out of the little bowl for the cleanest air of the final, but could only follow it up with a whitewash floppo and down time spinner. A 7 to go with an early 7.5, bringing the Frenchman up short behind the Brazilian beach break specialist.
While style is oft said to be the ability make the hard seem easy, in mediocre conditions it seems that making the easy seem spectacular will get you the biscuits. Uri did this better through out the heat, leading from start to finish and a walking away the deserved winner.
The Open women’s final was in many ways a similar affair, except you can replace the multiple flips with multiple rolls.
The 2019 world champ Sari OHHara took on young Portuguese and European under 18’s champ Filipa Broeiro.
Both girls seemed focused on simply finding the biggest wave they could and aiming to fling themselves off the oncoming section into a standard El Rollo. To wit, Sari found the biggest wave of the heat and extended a loopy roll off the oncoming section, grabbing a seemingly overscored 7.5 from the judges, and took the title as winner of the women’s side of the comp.
In the shoot out for the Dropknee world title, arguably the two best dropkneers in the world currently in Dave Hubbard and Sammy Morretino fittingly squared off for the big prize.
While Dubb’s turns had a lit more grunt, the judges seemed to prefer the more precise and technical rail work employed by Sammy.
In a seesawing and tightly fought tussle with plenty of waves ridden, Sammy was able to find swells with more open face, and pepper them with a series of snaps, with the highlight being one particularly whippy snap to 180° tail slide to finish a solid wave.
Indeed, anyone raised in the era of VCR’s would recognise the ghost of a younger, lighter Kainoa McGee in the Morretino DK technique. Sammy is now a four time World champ and halfway to chasing down Dave’s eight championships.
Whilst one might detect a tone of cynicism laced through this writing, rest assured it is neither aimed at the IBC nor the riders who both did a fantastic job of making the most of mediocre conditions.
The problem is the truism that has been acknowledged for decades within bodyboarding itself; bodyboarding is just not very visually appealing when performed in sub par conditions.