Tuesday 18 December
In a dramatic and emotional finish here at Finlandia’s Location X Finals presented by the Moorings and in association with Starboard, the Brazilian Leco Salazar was crowned not only event winner, but 2012 World Champion here on the Stand Up World Tour.
Leco was in the bottom half of the draw and quietly worked his way through the rounds only to meet his primary adversary, Sean Poynter (Starboard) from the USA in the semi finals. In a fiercely fought out heat, Leco put on a clinic of backhand surfing, taking the win to advance into the Finals.
But it was not over yet, as Leco would have to win the event in order to secure the Title, something he did in style against fellow countryman and friend, Caio Vaz (Art in Surf). Proudly carrying the Brazilian flag up the beach that had been carried by his father before him, Leco achieved the ultimate goal of any athlete – the World Championship Title: Congratulations to our new World Champion Leco Salazar!
In a nail biting finish, Sean Poynter (Starboard) sighed a huge sigh of relief when Kai Lenny (Naish) fell short in the quarterfinals and he advanced through to the semis, but then faced what turned out to be an unsurmountable challenge in the form of Leco Salazar and his quest for the crown. With the Title at stake, Sean put it all on the line, but was unable to take down the Brazilian in the second semi final.
However, Sean’s hopes for the Title were not over until the final buzzer of the final, as a slip up from Leco in the Final would have allowed Sean to maintain his rankings lead and secure the World Title – it was that close, but it was not meant to be. The rest was history, as Sean graciously accepted defeat, and congratulated the new World Champion, Leco Salazar. Congratulations to Sean Poynter for his worthy World Championship campaign in 2012.
2 x World Champion Kai Lenny (Naish) was on fire throughout the competition, posting some of the highest scores of the event, and showcasing some of the most progressive stand up paddling to date. However, in the tightest heat of the event, Kai was ousted by another on form athlete, Keahi de Aboitiz (JP Australia) from Australia, who managed to put together a strong heat and select the best waves to advance over the 2010 and 2011 World Champion by a margin of 0.07!
As ever, Kai Lenny was a consummate professional and graciously accepted defeat, but one thing is clear – he will be back and on a mission for the 2013 season.
Going down to Sean Poynter (Starboard) in the quarterfinals, Robin Johnston (Mistral) was able to maintain his 4th place overall with a 5th place finish in the BVI. For the 3rd year in a row, Robin has succeeded in staying right up there in the mix as one of the most consistent riders on Tour.
With new inspiration for boards and after another event featuring some of the most progressive riding yet, Robin will be looking for an even stronger 2013.
Caio Vaz (Art in Surf) was certainly one of the on form surfers of the event, posting some of the highest scores from the outset and finishing his first full year on the Tour in style. His fluid style punctuated by radical snaps and progressive moves wowed the judges and took him all the way to the final to battle it out with fellow countryman and now 2012 World Champion Leco Salazar.
He also rattled the ratings leader coming into this event Sean Poynter (Starboard), taking him out in Round 3 and forcing him to go to the repecharge to come back into the running. Caio finishes off the year in 5th place overall.
Keahi de Aboitiz (JP Australia) put on a stellar performance here at the Location X Finals, ousting 2x World Champion Kai Lenny on his way to the semi finals and impressing the judges with his laid back, yet radical style. Keahi is certainly going to be someone to look out for in 2013, as this result will put him in good stead in advance of the new season.
Finlandia’s Location X Finals presented by The Moorings and in association with Starboard was always destined to be an adventure: exploring the British Virgin Islands aboard 5 Moorings yachts allowed the elite crew in attendance unsurpassed mobility and the perfect opportunity for one of the most exciting showdowns in the Stand Up World Tour’s history.
In the end, we scored some great surf providing scope for high performance riding much like the conditions found at breaks such as Trestles in S. California and a final result that has made history.
We also explored outer-island uncharted territory, visited palm fringed islands with white sand beaches buffeted by transluscent turquoise water and witnessed camaraderie and bonding like never before, as the athletes came together as friends, competed as rivals and left enriched by the experience.
A big thank you to our proud sponsors of the Location X Finals: Finlandia, The Moorings, BVI Tourism Authority, Starboard, Digicel, Road Town Wholesale, Myett’s, Bitter End Yacht Club and Last Resort.
Top 10 on the 2012 Stand Up World Tour after Location X
- Leco Salazar (BRA)
- Sean Poynter (US) – Starboard
- Kai Lenny (HI) – Naish
- Robin Johnston (HI) – Mistral
- Caio Vaz (BRA) – Art in Surf
- Justin Holland (AUS) – Starboard
- Benoit Carpentier (FRA) – Naish
- Arsene Harehoe (PYF) – Rogue
- Mo Freitas (HI)
- Peyo LIzarazu (FRA)
Stay tuned to www.standupworldtour.com for full highlights and detailed schedule for the 2013 season coming up this week. Below is a glimpse of the completed heat draw as it went down here in the British Virgin Islands.
In the meantime, a big thank you to our Stand Up World Tour Patrons: Starboard, Naish, Rogue, Mistral, JP Australia, Coreban, Imagine, Bic SUP, Puka Patch, Fanatic and Art in Surf.