Starboard SUP Dream Team riders Sean Poynter and Iballa Moreno are crowned World Champions, both for the first time. After displaying some spectacular performances at El Loret in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in the final day of the APP World Tour. All competitors out on a great show, demonstrating the strength in depth in the SUP surfing world, and the limits in which the paddlers are pushing.
Gran Canaria Pro 2018 Final Day Highlights
Women’s SUP Surf Competition
Iballa Moreno (@morenotwins) clinches the 2018 World Championship Title in front of a home crowd at the Gran Canaria Pro-Am after displaying some spectacular performances at El Loret in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in the final day of the APP World Tour.
The day dawned clear and sunny with thundering surf at El Loret, the infamous right-hand point break in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria which had awoken for Finals Day of the Main Event.
7-8 foot peeling right handers greeted the women for the morning’s competition and the day exploded into new levels of performance for the Women’s side of SUP Surfing.
The Final Round for the Women held every bit of style, power and performance as the Men’s in a true testament to the rise of the female side of stand up paddle surfing.
Izzi & Iballa, in a final showdown, did not disappoint the crowds and spectators that had come to watch. Iballa’s strong skills and radical moves in the surf all day, showcasing her courage and confidence as well as massive talent is the criteria for any World Champion.
However, Izzi Gomez, no stranger to large surf and a progressive, powerful competitor had been upping the ante on her scores all day long and would not let Iballa go lightly. It was a great 30 minutes of sport.
Wave after wave the women traded places at the top of the leaderboard, each driving big to increase scores and please the judges. As the clock ticked down, Izzi found a perfect set up and scored a 9.5 – highest wave score for the women in the entire competition. Iballa dug deep, but just could not find the wave she would need to overcome Izzi’s impressive scorline ending the heat and the competition with a heat score total of 16.07 to Iballa’s 14.16.
Izzi Gomez wins the Gran Canaria ProAm, but Iballa Moreno takes home the World Championship title!!
Men’s SUP Surf Competition
Sean Poynter (@seanpoynter) maintained is composure and delivered an exceptional semifinal heat with a couple of excellent scores to secure not only his berth in the prestigious Final heat of the Gran Canaria Pro-Am, but his place in history as the 2018 World Champion following his performances over the series!
The men’s final, perfectly matched between Sean Poynter and Raioha, was the grand finale for an incredible day of competition in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. A final display of technical and powerful surfing styles by the two men whose performances have literally changed the way SUP surfing is seen in the Canary Islands. Who can forget the fading light of the day bouncing off the incredible hues of El Loret’s magnificent faces with powerful white water pounding into the rocks? What a moment to be a part of the sport.
Poynter and Raioha traded waves back & forth in the pumping surf, driving wave scores to new levels and excitement to a fever pitch. Both men technically excellent; both men surfing at the top of their game on the perfect stage for the world to witness. Massive turns, explosive snaps, roundhouse cutbacks into the towering white water. Poenaiki and Sean held the crowd’s attention and went blow for blow, as wave after wave each rider was sending it to a new level.
Poenaiki’s bold and aggressive maneuvers were a perfect match to Poynter’s technically defined power and strength. It was a final to remember. As the wave scores rolled in, the lead was changing back and forth continuously in the countdown to the finish. In the end, Poenaiki Raioha, the French Polynesian surfer, whose talented efforts pushed the judges to award him multiple scores in the excellent range, was handed the win with a staggering heat score total of 17.57 compared to 17.40 for Sean Poynter. An incredible, competitive moment for the sport of Stand Up Paddling that will not be forgotten, as history was made this year at the Gran Canaria Pro-Am.
What a day it was for Sean who thanked his sponsors, coach Ian Cairns, family, friends and more. Sean’s run for a World Title began in 2010. He has been held off by coming in second multiple times and once third. Today was a day to become champion, in every sense of the word and it was an emotional moment for the worthy Champion.
“I finally won it and wow it feels so good. I got the monkey off my back!
I made it a goal this year to take it, I committed getting my coach there and broadcasted it to the world and I was able to do good on it. It’s a scary thing committing so much without knowing what will happen, but it worked out.
Thank you so much for all your support this year and over all of these years! It’s been a long road to this achievement and Starboard has always been right there with me.
It’s a dream come true and I can’t thank you enough. “