What: ISA World Surfing Games, International Surfing Association event Where: Costa de Caparica, Portugal When: 11 - 19 October 2008
The 22nd edition of the ISA World Surfing Games has kicked off in five foot waves at the beaches of Costa de Caparica. The first and second round of the Longboard division, along with round one of the mens and women’s Bodyboard were held.
With the sun shining in the touristic Portuguese town, a great crowd witnessed colored sand painted by the flags of the “United Nations” of Surfing. Good waves and the world’s best athletes led to an amazing first day of competition.
The favorites - Australia, Brazil, United States, France and South Africa - reigned in their heats, while some developing nations came with surprises, such as Gidesio Ludovisi (Italy) who placed second in Bodyboard, sending the top rated Damian Prisk (Great Britain) to repecharge. Also unexpected, Mark Jucker (Switzerland) placed second in his heat, outscoring Walter Gatger (Costa Rica) and Nicolas Chiara (Argentina).
The best performance of the day was done by Antoine Deplero (France) who earned applause from the beach while surfing in the Longboard division. The applause was well deserved after walking gracefully on his board and packing a great right with manoeuvres. He received a 10 from the judges that was backed up with an excellent 8.83.
Delpero later went on to win his second round heat, scoring a 9.5 and a 7.83, enabling him to join the list of eight longboarders yet to lose. “The day was pretty good; this brings a lot of confidence to me. Let’s hope to keep it this way,” Delpero said. Regarding the event spirit, he added: “This is a great competition because we’re all together and we make a good team. Ours is really good and really united. This gives you a lot of power.”
In perfect and consistent overhead rights, the other standouts of the division were Taylor Jensen from United States, current World Champ Phil Rajzman from Brazil and 2006 Gold Medallist Matthew Moir from South Africa. They join Delpero to the third round. The surprise came from 2006 Silver Medallist, Ben Skinner (Great Britain), who didn't make it through the second round, but now has a second life in the repecharge.
In the Bodyboard division, another Frenchman scored the highest combined and single wave score. Pierre Louis Costes landed an amazing back flip that was worth 8.5 and was backed with a 7.00 to walk to the second round. “The heat was pretty good for me," said Costes. "I had two average waves at the beginning so, after that, I just tried to push my limits. A big wave came and I tried the back flip and landed it. I’m feeling great; this event is like the Olympic Games and we have a great team!”
The standouts in this round were the Amaury Laverne also from France, the defending champ Manuel Centeno from Portugal, Luis Villar from Brazil and Hayato Enokido from Japan.
Australian Lilly Pollard reigned in the Women’s Bodyboarding contest, scoring 14.25 in her best two waves to beat Mexican Kenia León and Peruvian María Chavez by a large margin. Other great performances were made by the local Rita Pires, French Heloise Bourrox, Japan’s Yasuko Kima and Puerto Rican Natasha Sagardia.
The event will continue tomorrow at 8:00am when the Open Men's round one and two heats will be held. The world's best surfers will bring action to the waves of Costa de Caparica with a total of 48 heats.