Alan Muñoz (Chile) 40-1
APB Ranking: 14
2012 Antofagasta Pro runner-up
We all know Eder Luciano can compete and win on the world stage. Like so many of his Brazillian compatriots, he is a competition machine and can somehow do the impossible in the small stuff. The question is, can he pull the same moves in waves of consequence? There is no time better than now to find out.
Tanner McDaniel (Hawaii) 26-1
APB Ranking: 22
2014 APB Rookie of the Year, 2015 Knights Pro Junior champion
Tanner McDaniel burst on to the international scene at just 12 years old, beating guys more than twice his age to win the Pipeline Pro trials and qualifying for a spot at the world tour event, the youngest ever to do so. Now the 16-years-old will embark on his first season as a fully fledged APB competitor. He has surfed at all the stops before, and can bust some freakish aerials at the drop of a hat, making him a genuine threat in any heat. However his youth and lack of finals experience may prove too big to overcome this year. The kid is a guaranteed future world champion, but we are not so sure it will be in 2015.
APB Ranking: 23
2013 WA State Champion
With Ben Player a possibility of not competing this year, Lewy Finnegan may be the only one flying the Aussie flag on this year’s world tour. Which is practically criminal given Australia’s massive pool of bodyboarding talent. But alas, we have faith that Lewy will do the green and gold proud and is a legitimate chance of raising more than a few eyebrows in 2015. He is a competent all-rounder who is proven in waves big and small but has yet to make major noise at the world tour level. We have a feeling that this might be his year.
Lucas Nogueira (Brazil) 20-1
APB Ranking: 7
2013 Sintra Portugal Pro Champion
Israel Salas (Brazil) 16-1
APB Ranking: 6
2014 Antofagasta Pro Runner Up
Dave Hubbard (Hawaii) 14-1
APB Ranking: 25
2013 Sintra Pro champion, six time Dropknee world champion
Dave Hubbard is possibly most multi-talented and versatile man in bodyboarding today. He can shred in all disciplines from standing up, to dropknee to prone and is a serious threat in every heat. The question is will Dave (like his brother Jeff) compete this year? Last time we spoke to him he said no, but after winning all three pro divisions of the IBA Hawaii Ala Moana Bowls contest recently, the sweet taste of victory may just have him coming back for more. If he does, then look out.
Jeff Hubbard (Hawaii) 14-1*
APB Ranking: N/A
2006 and 2012 IBA World Champion
We would usually rank Jeff Hubbard higher,*but we are not entirely sure if the flying Hawaiian is competing in this year’s tour. Hubbard has all the class to win any event he sets his mind to, and if he decides to sign his name on the APB rider form then he is a genuine threat in all wave types and conditions. But owning a bodyboarding company may be a bigger priority for the air man, which is a damn shame for the rest of us, but we can’t blame him. Late mail: Hubbard will not be competing in Brazil but is expected to make an appearance at the Portugal leg of the tour.
Alex Uranga (Basque Country) 12-1
APB Ranking: 5
FSB Europe Leg champion, 2011 Reunion Island Pro champion, Sumol Nazare 2014 champion
The Basque Country bodyboarder is surely one of the dark horses on this year’s APB Tour. Urangaburston to the world stage in 2011 when he came from nowhere to win the 2011 Reunion Island Pro. Showing that was no fluke, Uranga had solid performances in 2012, including a fourth placed finished at the hotly contested South Coast Mobile challenge. He is a proven winner at one spot on this year’s tour, after winning the Nazare Challenge in 2014 (beating the likes of Pierre-Louis Costes and Amaury Laverhne) and has got to be brimming with confidence after taking out the inaugural Free Surf Bodyboard World Tour European Leg.
Ben Player (Australia) 10-1*
APB Ranking: 11
2005, 2007 and 2013 IBA World Champion
Jacob Romero (Hawaii) 8-1
Uri Valadao (Brazil) 6-1
APB Ranking: 3
2014 Antofagasta Pro champion, 2008 IBA World Champion
Just like his countryman Guilherme Tamega, the 2008 World Champion is a competition machine, he lives and breathes it! When Valadao puts on a coloured rash-vest, he switches into tunnel vision, like lion hunting it’s prey. He’s been on the world circuit long enough to know what is needed to win, and he is not shy to get his grovel on in the small stuff.
Jared Houston (South Africa) 4-1
APB Ranking: 4
2014 Itacoatiara Pro champion
The 2011 World Champion knows exactly what it takes to win a world title, and his balls-to-the-wall surfing on the North Shore earlier this year proves PLC is showing no signs of slowing down. The recently married man looks fierce and focused and has all the makings of a second world title.
Amaury Lavernhe (Reunion Island): 2-1
Let us know what you think of our picks in the comments below.