Riptide contributor, former APB/IBA and ISA international judge, and managing director of the Free Surf Bodyboarding World Tour, Danny Bycroft, gives us his predictions on what we can expect at the event, and which team he believes will take home the World Championship trophy.

Words by Danny Bycroft

Iquique in Northern Chile is a raw, rugged and bleak town on the edge of the Atacama Dessert. It is also a mecca for bodyboarding with five sick reef breaks which all work on varying tides and conditions within the space of about 2km.

It is Chile’s answer to the north shore of Hawaii. If the names La Cosa, Punta 2 , Intendencia, Punta 1, El Colegio, El Bowl and El Nucleo are not familiar to you as a bodyboarder, they surely will be in the not too distant future. Iquique is already home to big name locals like Free Surf World Tour athlete Alan “Iron” Espinoza as well as team Chile members Gabriel Brantes and Yoshua Toledo.

The town is always a watering hole for travelling bodyboarders from around the world as well an inspired new generation of underground locals who are tearing these places apart.

Keep en eye out for locals guys like Norberto Diaz, Pedro Nieto, Alexander Wittmann, Félix Torres and Omar Rios to name a few.

RELATED: Fierce heats unfold at Day One of ISA WBC

Over the next couple of week’s you are going to see and hear the phrase “ISAWBC” which is an acronym for the tongue-twisting “International Surfing Association World Bodyboarding Championships” Thank god they shortened that one!

The International Surfing Association (or ISA) is the body that represents all wave riding sports to the International Olympic Committee. If bodyboarding is ever to become an Olympic sport it will be because of the ISA promoting our sport in a fair, safe and equitable manner.

The Form Guide:

ItalyITA_Team_SeanEvans2014 result: DNF
Riders: Davide Danti
Prediction: 14th
Notes: Just one rider named Davide Danti who is an unknown quantity but he may rip, who knows?

SpainESP_Team_SeanEvans2014 result: DNF
Riders: Sergio Cortinat
Prediction: 13th
Notes: Just one rider named Sergio Cortinat who, like Danti from Italy, is an unknown quantity. We’re not sure what to expect from Sergio.

Puerto RicoPUR_Team_SeanEvans

2014 result: 11th
Riders: Luz Marie Grande
Prediction: 12th
Notes: Just one female rider former world tour competitor Luz Marie Grande who will go a long way in the female side of the draw so may move the country’s overall result up.

MexicoMEX_Team_SeanEvans2014 result: 12th
Riders: Bryan Lopez, Alonso Pineda
Prediction: 11th
Note: With only two riders competing in this event who are fairly unknown it looks like it is going to be a long mountain to climb for our amigos from Mexico.

EcuadorECU_Team_SeanEvans2014 result: 10th
Riders: Jorge Maldonado, Adrian Alcivar, Johnny Alcivar
Prediction: 10th
Notes: Ecuador is one of the most underrated bodyboarding nations in South America. Although their team at this years ISA WBC only contains 3 members it is packed with competitive talent. The Alcivar brothers, Adrian and Johnny, have a handful of national titles between them both prone and on the knee. Their open male competitor Jorge Maldonado is a very experienced sportsman and will cause a few upsets if the waves suit him or his competitive style.

VenezuelaVEN_Team_SeanEvans2014 result: 6th
Riders: Luiz Zambrano, Luiz Rodriguez, Sergio Alonzo, Yuleiner Gonzalez, Heli Valero (alternate)
Prediction: 9th
Notes: Venezuela is a proud bodyboarding nation with a super passionate team with some world tour experience. They have also hosted the ISA WBC on two occasions at the infamous Playa Paraguito on Isla Margarita. Depending on the conditions, I can see some of their big guns like former world tour rider Sergio Alonso really ramping things up. This kid was a child prodigy when he first came onto the world tour in 2011 and continues to be a force to be reckoned with especially in small weak conditions.

AustraliaAUS_Team_SeanEvans2014 result: DNF
Riders: Jack Harries, Jordyn Ihms, Jake Metcale, Luke Fisher
Prediction: 8th
Notes: This is the first time Australia has sent a team to the ISA WBC for three years and it is so good to see some Aussie representation back in this international competition. Although we have sent a young fairly inexperienced team, they are not lacking in enthusiasm and will be a favourite with the locals when they wander down the street in their Akubra hats! Unfortunately, the ISA WBC is a whole new breed of competition that our Aussie competitors may not be used to. The heats are a real team, dog-eat-dog atmosphere with super intense paddle battles, snaking and technical paddling interferences (TPIs) being commonplace. The old Aussie style of scissor, paper, rock to see who gets the first wave of the heat definitely will not cut muster at this competition. The team has a couple of good young competitors, however, their lack of experience may be telling at the pointy end of the draw. If the waves get big and heavy I can see WA ripper Jake Metcalfe impressing at Punta Uno. However, as the wave is mainly a righthander, I think Luke Fisher may struggle a little bit on his dropknee backhand. Unfortunately, I think 8th position is the best result this small team can achieve.

JapanJPN_Team_SeanEvans2014 result: DNF
Riders: Yoshitada Kondo, Hayato Enokido, Hirotoshi Takahashi, Ayaka Suzuki, Hiroto Hiruma, Shiori Okazara, Kazuma Tomita
Prediction: 7th
Notes: Japan did not compete in the ISA WBC for the last couple of years, however, this year they are back with a bang! Under the calm but firm tutelage of sensei Hirotoshi Takahashi they will very competitive. At the last ISA games their team manager was waving flags like a maniac the whole event, directing his competitors in the water whether waves were coming or which position they were in the heat. Expect this sort of enthusiasm and more from this super energetic team. Australia’s favourite Japanese competitor, Hayato Enikido aka “the plastic man from Japan” will be leading the team and could find a couple of bowls perfect for his trademark ARS’s on the right handers of Punta Uno.

Costa RicaCRI_Team_SeanEvans2014 result: 8th
Riders: David Mendez, Alfonso Rivas, Reynaldo Rivas, Cindy Diaz, Yazdanny Castro, Yuliana Campos, Fabian Chacon
Prediction: 6th
Notes: Costa Rica team “Pura Vida” are always a crowd favourite. They will be super-chilled and ease their way into the competition surfing strategically and taking their chances when they come. Anyone who can remember the infamous man on man heat between Costa Rican young gun Jefferson Bustos and Dave Hubbard at Isla Margarita in 2013 will know these guys have some serious talent. If the waves stay small some of their little-known competitive machines may really turn things on for the judges. Keep an eye out for their DK rider Fabian Chacon.

PeruPER_Team_SeanEvans2014 result: 4th
Riders: Yony Aguirre, Jorge Hurtado, Miguel Rodriguez, Carolina Botteri, Ronald Gomez, Angela Lopez, Cesar Bauer
Prediction: 5th
Notes: Peru really is one of the powerhouses of South American bodyboarding. At last year’s ISA WBC they won the women’s division and could have very easily won the DK also. Being so close to home, they will be well versed in these waves and the water temperature of the South Pacific. Big guns like former DK world champion Cesar Bauer will shine, especially if Punta Uno dishes out some of the big chunky rights it is known for. Cesar is well at home in the big stuff and will be throwing his body weight into some massive turns. Also, keep an eye on their open male competitor Yonny Aguirre who is part of a very proud bodyboarding family of brothers who hold multiple national titles amongst them. Peru could very easily go better than the predicted fifth place.

PortugalPOR_Team_SeanEvans2014 result: 7th
Riders: Daniel Fonseca, Miguel Adão, Silvano Lourenço, Joana Schenker, Stephen Kokereis, Carolina Esteves, Diogo Pimenta
Prediction: 4th
Notes: Portugal is a super proud bodyboarding nation and is probably one of the most talented and wave rich nations on earth. Although they have sent a young team to this year’s event, they are brimming with talent and ability, which will shine if the waves get good at Punta Uno. Keep an eye out for Daniel Fonseca and Stephanos Kokrelis who are some of the real young guns of Portuguese bodyboarding and will be major threats on the APB world tour in the near future. Migual Adão is also a young shredder who has been to the ISA WBC before and will bring some competitive experience to the team. If the waves get really big, keep an eye out for the beautiful clean lines and power of Silvano Lourenço, who is one of the most experienced bodyboarders in Europe in the heavy stuff.

FranceFRA_Team_SeanEvans2014 result: 5th
Riders: Amaury Lavernhe, Pierre-Louis Costes, Yann Salaun, Anne Cécile Lacoste, Milo Delage, Kim Veteau, Martin Mouradian
Prediction: 3rd
Notes: France, or their competitive nickname “allez la chun,” have sent a super-competitive team that needs no introduction. It will be lead by world champions and perenial dominators of the APB tour, Pierre-Louis Costes and Amaury “Moz” Lavernhe. It would be expected that, unless the waves dont get over two-foot, these guys will totally dominate the open men’s competition and possibly even place first and second, which will give the team a massive stepping stone to a team title. This team is always one of the most well-drilled at the event. They practice surfs together and even choose to eat as a team for every meal. Keep an eye on their under 18 boys competitor, the little-known Milo Delage. He is a ripper from Reunion Island and will have no doubt plied his trade under the guiding hand of Moz. He has won many competitions on his home island and national titles and is a real dark horse for the under 18 division. France is also one of the only teams to bring its own physio, which will keep the boys and girls extra limber in the chilly waters of northern Chile.

ChileCHI_Team_SeanEvans2014 result: 1st
Riders: Alan Muñoz, Nelson Flores, Matias Diaz, Paloma Friggans, Yoshua Toledo, Anais Velis, Renato Arellano, Gabriel Brantes (alternate), Michel Copetta (alternate), Catalina Hernandez (alternate)
Prediction: 2nd
Notes: Chile once again brings a super-competitive and enthusiastic team to their home turf. They won this event last year and will be looking to do the same again in front of a patriotic home crowd who often treat the event like a soccer match by letting off flares and inviting the town big band to come down and bang out rousing versions of the Iquique anthem to fire up their competitors. The team will be lead by Alan Muñoz who must now be declared the greatest Chilean bodyboarder of all time, after years of competitive success and some death-defying antics at Arica. Michel Copeta will be dominant in the dropknee division and will be using all of his world tour experience in the hope of taking home an ISA WBC title. Locals Gabriel Brantes and Yoshua Toledo will be totally dominant in all conditions at Punta Uno. These guys know the wave like the back of their hand and Yoshua actually won a Junior ISAWBC title at least year’s competition by picking off the lefts in a final which had previously been dominated by rights. Chile definitely punched above their weight at last year’s event to take home the title, only time will tell if they can prove their victory was more than a hometown fluke.

BrazilBRA_Team_SeanEvans2014 result: 3rd
Riders: Eder Luciano, Lucas Nogueira, Helliton Loureiro, Neymara Carvalho, Sócrates Santana, Victória Moraes, Daniel Alves
Prediction: 1st
Notes: Now we are really getting into the big guns of world bodyboarding. Brazil has dominated the ISA WBC since its inception and will continue to do so with a very strong team in 2015. Their opens men’s team is incredible and is basically a who’s who of Brazilian bodyboarding for the past 10 years with the likes of Eder Luciano, Lucas “50 cent” Nogueira and Helliton Loureiro. Eder is basically known as the king of small wave competitive bodyboarding for the past 10 years. I remember Ryan Hardy pointing this out to me at Eder’s first competition in Portugal in 2006 where he was surfing two-foot waves the same way someone would on YouRiding! Combine this with multiple women’s world champion Neymara Carvalho and reigning APB Pro Junior Champion Socrates Santana and you have a very well-rounded team. Brazil has really stepped things up in the DK department this year bringing one of the most stylish DK guys of all time from northern Brazil named Daniel Alves. This guy is the epitome of stylish DK with dreadlocks and super silky style – I for one will be looking forward to seeing him tear apart some of the Punta Uno rights. Team Brazil, under the tutelage of passionate manager Wendel Lopes, could very well go all the way again in 2015.

The remaining contest schedule for the 2015 ISA World Bodyboarding Championships are:will be as follows:

  • Thursday, December 10 – Sunday, December 13 from 8am-3pm – Competition at La Punta 1
  • Sunday, December 13 – Final day of competition, Awards Presentation and Closing Ceremony

All times in Chile Standard Time.

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