by APB Media and Michael Saunders
When the women’s world tour gets back underway at the Sintra Pro Portugal today, there will be three ultra-competitive riders to look out for.
Alexandra Rinder, Neymara Carvalho and Isabela Sousa.
All three have previously won a world bodyboarding title, and all three are hungry to win another.
This year she returns to Portugal as the world leader and is hoping to set a new record as the youngest bodyboarder to win back to back world titles.
While she holds a slight lead over her rivals, Rinder knows that she will need to perform at her peak to overcome a fightback from the Brazilian duo of Carvalho and Sousa, who are in second and third place respectively.
But the Canary Islands bodyboarder says the extra year of world tour experience has settled her nerves as she enters the Sintra Pro.
“It’s different. Last year was difficult to control for me,” Rinder said.
“This year, I’m calmer, safer. I know that things can go in my favour or not, but I have room for error. I’ll surf my best and see what happens.”
Six-time world champion and women’s bodyboarding legend Neymara Carvalho, 39, has made a triumphant return to the women’s world bodyboard tour after a year away in politics.
“I’m back to what I do,” Carvalho said.
“This year I come to compete and see what I can do.
“Fortunately, I am in the top place again but this year I’m focused on my return form.
“I will be at 100 per cent next year.”
Meanwhile Isabela Sousa, 25, arrives in Sintra highly motivated to win a fourth world title to her resume.
“I’m in Sintra like any other event, to win. This year I’m even more committed because I am in the world title fight,” Sousa said.
The fact that Neymara Carvalho is back in the world title race makes it even more interesting for Sousa, who sees similarities between herself and the younger Rinder.
“I am to Neymara (Carvalho) what Alexandra (Rinder) is to me,” Sousa said.
“I was the girl who came from nowhere to fight (Neymara) for the title. And now Alexandra has appeared on the world scene (and is battling with me).
“And that is very cool for the sport.”
The first day of competition was marked with difficult conditions at Praia Grande yesterday.
The first open round and the first round of the Pro Junior was completed when the organization decided for a first short day betting on better conditions for tomorrow.
Competition begins at 4pm today (AEST) with Round 2 and Round 3 of the Men opening up the day followed by the women’s.