In one of the closest fought title races in IBA history, Brazilians Uri Valadao and Neymara Carvalho have won the IBA Men's & Women's World Championship.
Ratings leader Guilherme Tamega and outsider Pierre Louis Costes both fell early in the day and the race was reduced to two riders. Ben Player was looking to secure his third World title but had to finish ahead of Valadao to earn enough points.
When Uri made the final in semi 1 the spotlight went onto Ben and he struggled to find the waves that would allow him to do the moves that get the big points. As the minutes ticked down to seconds it was evident that Uri was going to be the new World Champion and his friends and fellow countrymen all gathered around him. When the hooter sounded he was lifted high with his new IBA World Champion cup pointed to the sky. The emotion of years of training & hard work bubbled out in tears of joy as he hugged his coach and mentor Guilherme Tamega.
The Women's battle was also a two horse race. Jessica Becker and Neymara Carvalho had surfed across several continents over almost 12 months and it all came down to 1 heat for a World Title. Becker burst out of the blocks with a 7 and Neymara answered back with a 6. That was the only time that Jessica was in front for the 30 minute final. Neymara was in devastating form and went from strength to strength. She even scored a perfect 10 on the buzzer to claim her 4th World Title.
With all the commotion surrounding the World Titles the crowd almost forgot that the final of the event was in the water. Alvaro Padron was without doubt the standout of the event and was a worthy winner. Jonay Alamo was second making for a daily double for the locals. Third place went to Uri Valadao and Portugal's Hugo Pinheiro was fourth.
The final points for the Men's:
1st Alvaro Padron (Esp) 13.65
2nd Jonay Alamo (Esp) 13.10
3rd Uri Valadao (Brz) 12.10
4th Hugo Pinheiro (Por) 10.50
Overall the event at Confital was an amazing success and we are looking forward to working with Roberto and his team from Maldito Rodriguez again in 2009.
2008 was a great year for International Bodyboarding. New faces, new venues and the next wave of future champions pushing the established Pro's to extraordinary levels. To all of my hard working friends around the world who worked with the IBA this year, I thank you from the bottom of my heart and look forward to bigger and better events in 2009. The new season will see many changes to the IBA's structure and more information will be on the website soon including the entry forms to the first ever IBA "Grad Slam" event - The Turbo Bodyboards Pipe Pro (Feb 17th-27th).