Thursday 4 April
Set against the dramatic desert mountain and providing the most high performance waves of any wave pool in the world, Wadi Adventure provided the ideal venue for the surfing component of the Abu Dhabi All Stars, presented by Abu Dhabi Sailing and Yacht Club, UAE SUP and Wadi Advenure, The world’s best stepped up to the challenge and put on one of the most impressive displays of high performance stand up paddle surfing imaginable as they started to become accustomed to the unique nature of the wave at Wadi Adventure.
Benefiting from the mechanical consistency and level playing field that the wave pool gives the competition, an all new format was introduced for the event, where for the first 3 rounds, it is not man on man, but everyone against everyone, as they battled it out for the best scores to advance through to the quarterfinals. Out of the 3 rights in round one, 3 lefts in round 2 and 3 closeouts in round 3, it was the best wave from each that counted towards their overall result and chance of qualifying directly into the quarterfinals.
The Top 6 go directly through to the Quarterfinals, while this morning, the remaining athletes will go through to a sudden death round to battle it out for the last 2 places in the quarterfinals.
Clearly at home in the wave pool here in Abu Dhabi, the Brazilians did their country proud on day 1 of the All Stars event, all maintaining their top 5 positioning through the 1st 3 rounds, with Ian Vaz (Art in Surf) consistently posting scores in the excellent range to finish in the lead and 1st seed coming into the quarterfinals.
Meanwhile, his brother Caio Vaz (Art in Surf) also showed incredible form, winning the first round and maintaining excellent scores through rounds 2 and 3 to finish 4th in the ratings at the event of the first 3 rounds.
World Champion Leco Salazar steps up again to meet the challenge here at the Abu Dhabi All Stars, presented by Abu Dhabi Sailing and Yacht Club, UAE SUP and Wadi Adventure, with a dynamic display of performance surfing, posting scores in the excellent range across round 1, 2 and 3, and putting his trademark vertical style to good use here at Wadi Adventure.
Leco finishes in 3rd after day one, securing his place in the quarter finals as the rounds progress here in Abu Dhabi.
Zane Schweitzer (Starboard) from Maui was always tipped to be one of the standouts here at the Abu Dhabi All Stars with his explosive and exciting style of surfing. Sure enough, he was not to disappoint on day one of the Abu Dhabi All Stars Invitational as even in the warm up, he posted a 9.5 with an impressive mix of speed, power and flow, mixed in with innovation and style earning his own autographed board up at Wadi Adventure Park for all to see.
Meanwhile in the Main Event, he started slower on the rights, but then climaxed on the Closeouts with an incredible ride: a full speed fin release turn going straight into a tweaked, yet controlled air off the closeout, much to the appreciation of the assembled crowds and judges. He was awarded a unanimous 10point ride for his efforts, moving him up into 2nd place overall in the standings going into the quarterfinals, just 0.11 behind the young Brazilian phenom Ian Vaz (Art in Surf).
Make sure to check into the Morning Show with Zane this morning at 10.30am UAE time to gage his excitement about the event, but also as he connects with the leading ladies here at the Abu Dhabi All Stars event to find out about their experience so far at the All Stars event.
The stand out performances of the day were not exclusive to Zane and the Brazilians, as the entire fleet started to get used to the wave and excel: Remi Quique from France posted an impressive 8.3 point ride in Round 1, clearly at home on the rights, while Kody Kerbox (Naish) from Maui look dangerous throughout the 3 rounds, putting on an impressive display of performance surfing.
These two athletes earned the last 2 places of the 6 directly into the Main event, while the remaing contenders will go into the Sudden Death Round starting this morning at 10.30am, right here at Wadi Adventure Park.
The Women took to the water to showcase some performance Stand Up Paddlesurfing here at the wave pool, surfing the lefts and rights and demonstrating how the progression in women’s surfing just keeps on growing.
Olivia Piana (Fanatic) from France impressed the assembled athletes with a strong performance on the rights: traditionally more a powerhouse in the racing discipline, Olivia has really stepped her surfing up this past year and is looking strong here in Abu Dhabi. Also Caroline Angibaud put on a fluid display of perfoirmance surfing here at Wadi as expected, clearly building on her strong finish at the La Torche Pro France in 2012.
Meanwhile, US citizen, but local resident Jen Scully (Naish) took to the water to mix it up with the girls, happy to have the All Stars here in her home town.
Thanks to the incredible arena that Wadi Adventure provides us with, we are able to adopt another innovative and all new format for the Sudden Death Round. The remaining 9 athletes will each get to ride 3 waves each, but instead of having to deal with what they are given, they will get to choose their waves whether they be rights, lefts or closeouts, with their single best wave determining whether it will be enough for them to earn one of the coveted last 2 spots in the quarterfinals.
Watch it all live as it unfolds here in Abu Dhabi at www.standupworldtour.com/abudhabi.php
Make sure to tune in live to www.standupworldtour.com/abudhabi.php. Here is today’s schedule:
- 9.30am: Morning Show with Zane Schweitzer featuring the All Stars Women
- 10.30am: Sudden Death Round
- 1.00pm: Quarterfinals
- 3.30pm: Semi Finals
- 5.00pm: Consolation Finals
- 6.00pm: Finals