The Fronton King was absolutely insane this year. We were fortunate to have the wave gods turn the power on and supply some of the best wave riding that I have ever witnessed live. It was all about big waves, large barrels and air moves that will be talked about for years to come.
What did also come strongly to mind, as I prepared for my heat in Round 1 at Fronton and while reflecting on my record of performances and the excitement of Nazare, was that I did not feel the pressure that had been building as the 2017 World Tour progressed. I enjoyed my Round 1 heat against Moroccan, Brahim Iddouch, and Lionel Medina, a local rider from Gran Canaria. As usual, my intention from the outset was to quickly get in some good scores. The heat began well with a really good left-hander coming through and I was able to get a good 7-point ride. It was then Medina who took some good rights, posting good scores. I kept chipping away for a backup score and bettered my situation to take the win, able to miss Round 2 and get straight through to Round 3.
A change in surf conditions, along with a few days of onshore winds and minimal waves had the program put on hold. The lay days after Round 1 and 2 seemed to drag on while we waited for action to resume. It was a good time to head out and to do promotions and signings with the other members of the Reeflex Wetsuits team; Ryan Hardy, Jacob Romero, Jared Houston and Amaury Lavernhe. We went to a number of different locations, promoting the wetsuits and the team, before heading back to the area of Galdar.
Heading into the second to last day of competition and I was scheduled to take on the local wonderboy Lionel Medina, who had fought his way back into contention through the earlier rounds, again. I was surprised by the arrival of my father, all the way from South Africa, in the competitors’ area shortly before my Round 3 heat. It was something so unexpected that I was really taken back. This, along with all the excitement of the latter part of the 2017 tour, really made for an emotional meeting. It was a slow start to the heat with few good rides for the taking. I managed to notch a few reasonable scores at the beginning of the heat and stayed in front with time running down and 5 minutes left to run. Lionel hustled to put together scores of his own to go ahead and take the lead, leaving me to scramble to try to score a high 6-point ride. With time running out, I took off on one of the better waves of the heat, did a good backflip but landed in the white water and couldn’t hold on. The hooter went to signal the end of the heat, and I was out of the event.
This result placed me in overall 13 th position for the Fronton King event. Not the result that I was looking for at the end of a great record of results this year but leaving me satisfied, knowing that I had achieved a long-held dream of taking the APB World Title. Heading into the final day of competition and there were incredible performances by all the riders. It was mind-blowing to see all the riders get waves like they did in the final
stages of the competition, taking competitive bodyboarding to a new level. Amaury Lavernhe put on an awesome performance with lefts and rights combined with some huge airs. But it was fellow South African, Jared Houston, who took the event to be crowned the new Fronton King. It was great, along with good friend Tristan Roberts, to be able to chair Jared up to the stage after his win.
The final event of the 2017 APB World Tour; the Tour Awards Evening. Alex Leon, CEO of the APB World Tour, presented the World Championship Trophy. It was a special moment on stage, to be treasured for a long time, to be able to finally hold the trophy and to be able to thank all the people that have helped make my dream a reality and assist me to where I am today.
I am most fortunate to have my amazing family backing me, and supporting me to the end of the world. It means so much to have them with me on every wave, to get them on a video chat and see their faces.
The last few days in the Canaries after the Fronton event, and after all the hype of the past few weeks, allowed us the opportunity to just get out and explore. I have been around the island, driven through mountain passes, hiked up to Roque Nublo, and to see the dunes in Maspalomas. I have been blessed with the opportunity to travel with my father and to see these places that I might not have been able to get to if he had not been
I start the long journey home soon, back to the cold waters of the Western Cape, South Africa. It has been a long but extremely successful trip. Now to get home and concentrate on my last project of the year; a bodyboarding movie recording extracts of my journey through 2017 – “Chasing the Southern Sun”.
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