What a feeling this is! Finally got the “monkey off my back” with a win at Sintra, Praia Grande, Portugal… This result makes it a run of 5 out of 5 podium finishes for this year to date, with a rewarding win to top it all this past weekend.

The Sintra Pro event sure had its ups and downs, mainly due to the changeable weather. The first day was called off due to big surf conditions and this meant that the time for the completion of the event would be reduced. But this sort of thing is not unusual and adjustments to event schedules are made to ensure that the show goes on! It was then that the thick white fog rolled up in front of the judges’ eyes like a blindfold. This put heat’s on hold and discussions about possible draw compressions started to go around. Meetings were called, plans made, and it appeared that we were still going to be able to finish the event in time, with no heats being compressed… for now!

Round 2 was made up of the non-elimination heats. I was able to put together a decent heat total to win, allowing me to pass Round 3 and to progress straight into Round 4. Big surf conditions contributed to an awesome second day of competition, with some crazy riding going down. Huge rolls in the less-than- perfect conditions seemed to be the norm in these heats. I was fortunate to be able to register some good scores to back up my efforts in Round 2.

This then lead to a good heat in Round 5 against Pierre Louis Costes, Miguel Adao and Miguel Coelho. I decided to stay away from the other riders and used conditions to put in two backflips in the early morning glare, winning the heat. After a long, tiring day of programme events, we got to ride man-on- man quarter-finals. I was in with Miguel Rodriguez and managed to post a 7.5 and a 10-point ride with an air reverse (the only 10- point score of the event) to see me through to the semis.

The semi-final against PLC went very well. I got off with a strong wave at the start, knowing that I had to maintain the pressure throughout the heat against a strong and experienced competitor. A good second wave score, under priority, had PLC in combination, with heat time running out, in order to get back into contention. I was through to the final.

I knew that the final against Uri Valadao would be tough, but I was so hungry to get the win. It was a head-to- head battle throughout, with a tied score in the early stages needing to be broken on a good ride on a third wave. A score of 8 is what finally did it! And I was able to take the title in the Sintra Pro for the first time, after making the final in the event for three consecutive years! What a feeling!

Well done and congratulations to everyone involved in this year’s Sintra Pro event; judges, local officials and event staff, all APB Tour  staff and riders. Huge credit to all.

Thanks to all friends and family, and everyone here in Portugal, for the wonderful support. Special thanks, of course, go to Rosie Lombard for all the encouragement and motivation and to Sharon Roberts for the great beach support during the event. A huge “shout out” to Tristan Roberts and Lewy Finnigan for the “chair” across the beach…a great moment to share with friends!

Finally, my sincere appreciation goes to my sponsors for their constant and invaluable support; without it, I would not be able to devote the attention required in preparation for competition on the APB World Tour in pursuit of a life-long ambition.

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