It was shaping up to be one of the most anticipated heats in bodyboarding history.
The undisputed master of bodyboarding, Mike Stewart, taking on his protegé in Tanner McDaniel at one of the best bodyboarding waves in the world: Teahupo’o.
The master versus the apprentice. The pioneer versus the future. Yoda versus Skywalker. Call it what you want, it was something we had been waiting for a very, very long time.
The waves weren’t ideal, a wobbly four to six foot swell being met with occasional cross shore gusts. But these two excel no matter what the conditions.
The stage was set, and all eyes were glued to the webcast.
Mike was the first to draw blood. Paddling into a cleaner looking mid-sized wave and driving across the face. As he approached the Chopes end bowl he went up for one of his signature floating forward spins, but he uncharacteristically became stuck in the lip and taken down into the coral reef.
It was an incomplete move, but the 52-year-old veteran arose from the wash without injury.
Then it was Tanner’s turn as he paddled for a slight larger wave that began to wall up over the inside section of Teahupo’o. The 17-year-old went up for a big invert but, just like Mike did before him, he too became caught up in the clip and taken for a ride down the falls.
Two incomplete moves. But we could already tell this heat was going to be full of action.
But then things turned awry for all those glued to their computer screens. The dark clouds rolled through the village of Papeete causing heavy rain and flash flooding, resulting in the town’s internet infrastructure collapse. The webcast was dead, the contest was called off and the riders, officials and photographers all scrambled back to their accomodation on land.
So who won the seminal heat between the master and the apprentice? According to APB CEO Alex Leon: it was Mr Stewart who came out on top in a low scoring affair, once again showing that his young jedi still has some things to learn on the world tour.
The contest is expected to resume tomorrow (Saturday) with the remaining quarter finals, semi finals and finals with the webcast expected to be back up and running at http://apbtour.com/live/
A storm and flood in Papeete has destroyed crucial internet infrastructure and made a live webcast impossible. We realise the importance of this event and have placed the contest on hold until tomorrow so that you may all watch the quarters, semi and finals live – we appreciate your understanding. More updates as staff return to their accomodation out of the storms – APB Tour
Full wrap up of a crazy day of competition is to come shortly.