World Tour about to reignite

Itacoatiara (stop #2) just days away, but what’s next for the World Tour?
Above: A framie from the APB’s teaser clips for this week’s Itacoatiara Pro. Yeah, place can get pretty hectic.

Can you believe the World Tour’s kicking off again in a few days (Itacoatiara Pro, Brazil, Friday, July 25)? It’s been a while between drinks – the new APB Tour’s first event – the Pipeline Challenge – wrapped up at the end of February, leaving a whopping five month gap between it and the second event. But we’re here now and with a seemingly healthy list of big-name competitors en route to the heaving Brazilian beachbreak we’re excited at the prospect of the world’s elite battling it out in contest jerseys again. On that note we figured we’d hit up APB General Manager Alex Leon, who was also en route to Brazil when we reached out, to get some words about how the comp and the rest of the tour’s shaping up.

Riptide: Well, after a sizeable gap in between drinks – we’re back with the World Tour! What’s the feeling like now that it’s kicking back into gear with the South American leg?

Alex Leon: The feeling is great. We’ve had quite a good break between events, which was beneficial to us to get through a lot of rebuilding work to ensure a stable tour this year, leading into a very positive 2015 tour. We knew this year would be a rebuild year with the formation of the new association (APB) and implementing many changes into the tour.

How have preparations for the Itacoatiara comp been? Is she all good to go?
The event promoter Giuliano Lara in Brazil has been working all year on the event and it’s shaping up to be a great contest. There will be a live webcast at apbtour.com and also live heat updates through our social platforms – the Facebook page and the Instagram page.


Itacoatiara Pro teaser

What has the interest/participation in the contest been like from global competitors, the top 24 and past IBA tour riders? Is it a strong field? Who are some of the more high-profile guys onboard?
There has been a few guys who have decided to give this year a miss due to the fact that they’ve been on tour for many many years and thought this year, as the APB rebuilds, it would be good for some of the guys to rest and stay with their families. Only a few of the Australians have done this like Dave Winchester, Dallas Singer, Jake Stone and a couple of others. The rest of the top 28 are excited about the tour and will be in Brazil this week to compete including Ben Player, Jared Houston, Guilherme Tamega, Pierre Louis Costes, Amaury Lavernhe, Tanner McDaniel and many more.

What’s the forecast looking like for the start of the waiting period?
The forecast is looking very positive for the start of the period, which is building some great hype in Brazil. The media in South America is always very large and supportive around this event and it’s a great prospect for bodyboarding in Brazil.


Itacoatiara Pro teaser #2

Will there be a live webcast? Why/why not?
Yes, there will be a live webcast. To what standard we don’t know until we run our live tests in the coming days as we’re now using local resources in each region to reduce costs on the event promoter. But what I can tell you is that this team is very experienced in this field as they have broadcasted the ASP Surfing events here in Brazil.

How are preparations going for Arica, the rest of the South American leg, and beyond in 2014? Are all of these “locked in” or some still subject to sponsorship etc.? Do you know if many events will be live webcasted?
Yes we can confirm that Arica and Antofagasta will have a live webcast and everything is looking very positive for the events.


Recent Itacoatiara form (June 21st)

Are APB and IBA any closer to knowing what will be the situation in 2015? E.g. Will it continue as the APB Tour or will the IBA return as the premier bodyboarding world tour?
The APB will be managing the World Tour in 2015 and beyond. The APB is now governed by a very professional team of athletes and officials and has gained a significant amount of momentum this year with talks of new events and an exciting 2015 World Tour. There has been speculation of the IBA returning and I’d like to clear this up by stating that we’re open for discussion with the IBA Pty Ltd in terms of media distribution etc but there will be no lease of ownership of the World Tour awarded to any entity as we have seen in the past. The APB is governed, managed and administered by the true professionals of the sport and is now in good hands with a bright future ahead of us. We have been approached by new territories around the world to stage events and also some major corporate sponsorship discussions are in place for the 2015 tour.

I would just like to thank the entire bodyboarding community globally for their patience and support through this transition period and we look forward to delivering a positive bodyboarding World Tour.