by Wayne Gardener on 3rd October 2011
2011 NISSAN Reunion Island Bodyboarding Pro
Event 6 of 8, Mens Grand Slam Series
Les Arches, St-Pierre, Reunion
Sept 30 - Oct 09, 2011
Rounds three and four of the 2011 Nissan Reunion Bodyboard Pro were completed in 3-4ft waves at Les Archers in Saint-Pierre, Reunion Island. Winner of the trials, Alex Uranga, from the Basque Country in Spain, earned the respect of his peers by defeating current world number two and six times world champion, Brazilian Guilherme Tamega, in round four. Uranga, who dislocated his collarbone ten days before coming to Reunion and bashed his face into the coral reef in round one, was undeterred by his injuries and threw the trick book at his rivals, landing manoeuvre after manoeuvre over the sharp coral reef.
Australian Ben Player and two times world champion caused the biggest upset of the day, defeating tour leader and two times world champion, Jeff Hubbard from Hawaii, in the last minute of the heat. "Nothing beats a heat where you think you're going to lose, then the last minute, you get one and you end up winning it. I'm so stoked", said Player.
Current world number three, South African Mark McCarthy, did not make the top 16 cut-off after three rounds and Australian Ryan Hardy, currently fourth in the world, lost to Frenchman Pierre-Louis Costes in round four. With the top four riders out of the event, the race for the world title is wide open.
Yoan Florentin, the wildcard entry from Reunion, proved local knowledge counts, defeating Australian Dallas Singer, while his friends cheered for him from the beach. Florentin rode a flawless heat in round four, landing a massive back flip and an air reverse 360. Reigning world champion and local favourite, Amaury Lavernhe, is also through to the quarter finals after downing Hawaii Dave Hubbard in the first heat of round four.
Australian Michael Novy, beat South African Jared Houston in the second highest scoring heat of round four and earned him his best result on tour this year. The stage is set for an exciting final day of bodyboarding with riders from five different nationalities making up the final eight. A call will be made at 07h00 local time, to decide if the competition will run, depending on the conditions.
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