The Stand Up World Tour Surfing component of the Abu Dhabi All Stars Grand Slam got underway today with the first round of the Main event for the Men, and warm ups for both Men and Women.
The scene was set for a day of insane action with the unique backdrop of desert complementing the star of the show, the bright blue pool found at the base of the mountains at Wadi Adventure Park.
Caio Vaz (Art in Surf), current Ratings Leader on the Stand Up World Tour set the tone for the day, notching up a 7.8 and an 8.2 for a heat score total of 16.0. A great start to his event campaign.
The next standout came in the form of the young Tahitian Poenaiki Raioha (F-One), obviously feeling the Mana of his fellow Tahitian’s victory (Michel Bourez) over in Western Australia, to post a phenomenal 7.7 and 8.5, for a heat score total of 16.2.
Zane Schweitzer (Starboard), picked up where he left off as Abu Dhabi All Star Champion from 2013, but putting together a flawless heat with an 8.5 and an 8.4, for a heat score total of 16.9. He was top of the leader board for much of the day.
Then came the Salazars, with younger brother Matheus (New Advance) putting on a performance to remember here on Day 1, posting an 8.3 and 7.8 for a heat score total of 16.1 after a clinic of flowing and critical surfing from the young Brazilian. Brother Leco (New Advance) followed suit with an 8.1 and a 7.5, for a heat score total of 15.6.
However, the tables were turned, when Sean Poynter (Starboard) took to the water in Heat number 10, as despite a slow start on the lefts, he hit all cylinders on the right, with the highest wave score of the day of a 9.2. Backing that up on the closeouts with an 8.0 boosted Sean to the top of the leader-board with a total heat score of 17.2.
The final two heats also saw some great action, as Keahi de Aboitiz (JP Australia) put on another strong performance here at Stop 3 of the Stand Up World Tour in the UAE, posting a pair of 7.7s for a heat score total of 15.4. Similarly, Kody Kerbox (Naish) put an exclamation on the day with a final closeout wave scoring him an 8.3, which when combined with his 7.1 high score for his rights gave him a heat score total of 15.4.
Unique repechage format adopted especially for the wave pool
The riders opted to go for a Repechage format for this event, that differs to the normal repechage set up, with the Top 12 highest scores advancing directly through to Round 3 and the remaining 20 athletes going into a Sudden Death / Repechage Round to fill the final 4 spots. This Repechage round will feature only closeout waves, with each rider getting 4, and their best 2 scores combining for their heat score total to determine whether they qualify or not. So a lot of tension mounting here in Abu Dhabi as we prepare for the second day of action at the Abu Dhabi All Stars.
So all in all, an action packed and exceptionally high scoring day of action here on the Stand up World Tour, as the performance level has once again gone to a whole new level, and the very best in the world of showcased what they are capable of. With each and every rider vying for the best scores possible right from the outset, no-one gets an easy ride to Round 3, as all the athletes have to put it all on the line to make it through to Round 3.
Make sure to join us again tomorrow morning live from Abu Dhabi for the culmination of Round 1 for the Men, to be followed directly by Round 1 of the women, the Men’s Repo and the Women’s Repo.
You can watch it all go down LIVE right here at www.watermanleague.com
You can also check out the current leaderboard from the event, subject to change pending the scores from the Final 8 Riders of Round 1 by clicking here