Itacoatiara – pre-game hype

The build up to this weekend’s Itacoatiara Pro through the eyes of a World Tour judge.

Above: A Brazilian wedge you’re probably starting to get used to.

All frame grabs: Ramon Miranda (on Instagram: @toobtoobs)

Ever wondered what it’d be like to be a judge on the World Tour? Yes, yes, we know the events have been few and far between in recent times, but it’d still be a pretty neat gig, right? Sure, the salary’s not gonna pay off the mortgage any time soon and in some ways it’s a thankless, pressure-filled task, but on the flip-side you get to visit some pretty amazing places. The Gold Coasts’s Danny Bycroft has been in Brazil for the past month or so, taking in the wonder of the World Cup and of course sampling some of the region’s macking beachbreak pits. He touched base with us today to fill us in on what’s been happening the past couple of weeks, with his real work about to begin.

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Danny Boy.

The Itacoatiara Pro – stop two of the APB World Tour – gets underway on Friday, July 25, which by our calculations means if you check out later tonight (Thursday) in Australia-land you might catch the live webcast if the comp gets underway immediately. Keep updated with the goings on via the APB Tour Facebook page, and of course Riptide’s channels for regular updates. Take it away, Danny:

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After a month of the rampant commercialism and shiny exterior of the FIFA World Cup in Rio I decided I needed a change from the crowded Copacabana beachbreaks and wild Cariocan nights. I had a couple of weeks before having to judge stop #2 on the APB World Tour -the Itacoatiara Pro – so I hooked up with the Santos crew on a trip to the Paulista Coast for some waves and much needed R&R.

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We spent two weeks scouring this Jurrasic Park-style coastline around the holiday hamlet of Ubatuba for waves. We found a few new reef setups with huge potential and a whole host more that could only be accessed by boat. This coastline also possesses one notorious wedge know to the locals as “Egypt” because of its insane ramps and pyramid-style A-frames.

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Although Brazilian surfers get a bad rep in Australia the bodyboard guys in Brazil are absolute legends – some of the most stoked, friendly and hospitable guys I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting during my travels. They’re only too willing to share their slabby wedge-rich coastline with any travelling bodyboarder who shares their same stoke.

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Renan Faccini (AKA The Crow) leads a new generation of bodyboarders in Southern Brazil that have given the old grovelling comp mentality of yesteryear a real kick in the ass. Renan was tearing apart the ramps at Egypt, showing his full repertoire of styled-out jumps, including some really tight air reverses off big sections.

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He and his crew surf super technical and with a style inspired by the likes of Sam Bennett, Jake Stone and Tom Rigby. Although they may not know it, the new generation of Aussie up-and-comers have a huge crew here in Brazil imitating their every move and meticulously breaking down every new clip they put up on the web so they can match and try to better the Australian style of bodyboarding.

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Keep an eye out for Santos charger Nani “the hug machine” Jackson. He has way bigger balls than me both metaphorically speaking and probably literally also. One scream of “vai”, which means “go” in Portuguese, is enough for him to manhandle any wave.

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Also worth mentioning is crazy man Marcio Idis, the smooth lines of rock local Alex Araújo and Bruno “earth worm” Abrunhosa, who still rocks a vintage ’90s Beau Day bodyboard.

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There are big things to come from this inspired new generation of Brazilian bodyboarders and I for one can’t wait to come back and further explore this coastline for waves.

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P.S. If you wanna see how hard these guys party out of the water check out Ploc Party on Facebook. It’s on tonight! I’ll be wearing the dog suit!

Otherwise tune into stop #2 of the APB World Tour at Itacoatiara this weekend,

To keep up with Danny and the adventures of an APB World Tour Judge add him on Instagram: @fifo_dido.

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