2015 APB World Champion Odds

We give our odds on who is going to win the 2015 World Title race

Round one of the 2015 APB World Tour, the Itacoatiara Pro, is set to begin any day now. With perennial contenders such as Dave Winchester sitting out this year, and question marks over the likelihood of Ben Player and the Hubbards competing, the title race is wide open. We figured we’d give our own Riptide Magazine style odds on who we think has the best shot of holding the APB trophy up at the end of the season. Let us know what you think of our picks in the comments below.

Alan Muñoz (Chile) 40-1
APB Ranking: 14
2012 Antofagasta Pro runner-up

Alan-MunozComing from the sleeping giant of bodyboarding that is Chile, Muñoz has the hopes and dreams of an entire nation on his shoulders. In2013 Muñoz became Chile’s first male athlete to crack the bodyboarding World Tour,and he impressed by finishing in tenth, and backed that up with a 14th this year. We’ve seen glimpses of Muñoz going nuts at his home breaks this year, and he will be one to look out for when the tour finds itself at Arica.



Eder Luciano (Brazil) 30-1
APB Ranking: 10
2012 and 2013 ISA World Bodyboarding Games champion
eder-lucianoWe 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-mcdanielTanner 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.


Lewy Finnegan (Australia) 24-1
APB Ranking: 23
2013 WA State Champion

lewy-finneganWith 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

Lucas-Nogueira-Perfil-APB-2015Lucas Nogueira is an imposing figure out in the lineup. The Brazilian has arms bigger than Tanner McDaniel’s torso and word is he certainly knows how to use them if you get in his way. Growing up on the highly competitive beach breaks of Brazil, Nogueira knows how to impress the judges and is a proven winner at the elite level with his win at Sintra in 2013. Can he go all the way and win this year’s world title race? We’re going to say it’s unlikely, but we probably won’t say it to his face.


Israel Salas (Brazil) 16-1
APB Ranking: 6
2014 Antofagasta Pro Runner Up

Israel-SalaDespite finishing sixth overall in the 2014 APB Tour rankings, we still can’t get a read on Salas. He was impressive at lat year’s Antofagasta Pro, finishing runner-up to countryman Uri Valadao, as well as a quarter-final appearance at Sintra. The always strong contingent of Brazillian bodyboarders are always dangerous in competition, but we think there are just too many other guys with contest experience that are ahead of him.


Dave Hubbard (Hawaii) 14-1
APB Ranking: 25
2013 Sintra Pro champion, six time Dropknee world champion
dave-hubbard

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

hubbard

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

alex-urangaThe 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

ben-player
We’ve put the three-time world champ, and perhaps Australia’s greatest hope, at longer odds then we’d like, but we can explain:*Is the champ competing this year? After a scary situation in Ireland earlier where he ruptured his spleen, Ben only re-entered the water a little over a month ago. While most competitors were packing their bags for Rio, Ben was happy as larry carving up massive walls in Padang, Indonesia. While he won’t compete in round one in Brazil, Ben has said previously that he expects to make an appearance at the Arica Chile Challenge, will that still be the case?


Jacob Romero (Hawaii) 8-1

APB Ranking: 12
2015 Cave Rock International winner, 2014 IBA Hawaii Champion
jacob-romero
Romero is our pick of the dark horses this year. With the possibility of both Hubbard’s taking a pass on this year’s world Tour, Mr Romero may just be the Aloha State’s best shot at a title. His confidence has got to be sky high after beating a star-studded field to win the Cave Rock Invitational in South Africa last month along with last year’s 2014 Hawaiian bodyboard title.  He has shown he can mix it with the best at times (including a third at the Box Challenge back in 2012) but has yet to get the monkey off his back and win a maiden world tour contest. Is this the year?

Uri Valadao (Brazil) 6-1
APB Ranking: 3
2014 Antofagasta Pro champion, 2008 IBA World Champion

alex-urangaJust 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

Jared_Houston_portraitIs this the year that Jared Houston finally holds up the coveted world champion trophy? The South African came very close last year after winning his maiden world tour event in Brazil. Jerry will again be one of the big names to look out for on the tour and, going by recent performances, he looks hungrier than ever to beat his rivals Pierre Louis Costes and Amaury Lavernhe. We know he can win at the elite level, but can he handle the pressure cooker situations when there is a world title on the line?


Pierre-Louis Costes (France) 3-1
APB Ranking: 2
Notable results: 2011 IBA World Champion, 2015 Pipeline Shootout champion

Pierre_Costes_portraitThe 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

APB Ranking: 1
Notable results: 2011 IBA World Champion, 2014 APB World Champion
Amaury_Lavernhe_portrait
Amaury “Moz” Lavernhe is the defending world champion and in peak bodyboarding form. We can’t go past him to pick up another world crown in 2015 and join the likes of triple world champs Ben Player and Damian king.  Moz won in Itacoatiara in 2013 on his way to a world title runner-up (he actually finished tie first with Ben Player but was given second place on count back), then came out strong in 2014, winning the Arica Chile Challenge followed by consistently high placings at Antofagasta and Sintra to win the title. His dedication to travelling on the tour and competing in all conditions is proof that Moz is driven for another title.

 

Let us know what you think of our picks in the comments below.