Australia’s world title hopeful Lewy Finnegan will fight to keep his APB World Tour dreams alive when he faces a sudden-death heat at the Sintra Pro today.
The West Australian, who is coming off a surprise victory at the Antofogasta Bodyboard Festival in Chile, struggled in the challenging conditions at Praia Grande yesterday, finishing fourth in his opening heat.
Finnegan fell to current world number two Uri Valadao and Portuguese bodyboarder Hugo Pinheiro in the round three heat.
In what was a low scoring day of competition, Finnegan managed a total of just 8.5 points to finish in fourth place.
The 21-year-old will again face Pinheiro and Basque Country’s Alex Uranga in round four for a chance to progress through to the next round.
Joining him in round five is fellow Pride Bodyboards teammate and world number three Jared Houston, who finished in second place behind Hawaii’s Mike Stewart in their round three heat.
Stewart, 52, proved age is no barrier in his triumphant return to Sintra after a year away from the famous contest, posting the third highest total score of the round with 14.4 points.
Reigning world champion Amaury Lavernhe also stumbled in his opening heat, finishing in second place to Jeff Hubbard.
The heat marked Hubbard’s return to the world stage after a foot injury sidelined him for the opening half of the world tour. The Hawaiian wasted no time in showing just how creative he can get in the challenging conditions with a series of flips and spins to finish with a heat-winning score of 15.25.
As a result, Hubbard will progress directly through to round five while Lavernhe will take on Brazil’s Israel Salas and Morroco’s Anas Haddar in his elimination heat.
2008 World Champion Pierre-Louis Costes will also progress directly through to round five after comfortably winning his opening heat.
One of the surprises of the contest so far was the shock exit of local rider Antonio Cardoso. The current world number 10 struggled in the small beach breaks of Playa Grande and could not find a suitable score in his round two heat.
“In these conditions I didn’t expect a good result,” Cardoso said.
“I don’t identify with the waves at Playa Grande, it is not my kind of wave and will be a result to discard. Now just think in the next event in Nazaré.”
Meanwhile, Hawaiian supergrom Tanner McDaniel also failed to progress in the competition, with a third place finish in his round two heat.
The 16-year-old lost by just one point to Portugal’s Manuel Centano to be eliminated from the contest.
Schenker, who hails from Germany but lives in Portugal, won her heat with a total of 14.35 the highest score of the second round, with an ease that make her stand out.
“In the first few minutes of the heat I paddled around a bit lost and it took me almost 10 minutes to get the first wave,” Schenker said.
“Fortunately, I managed a sweet wave of seven points and then things ended up composing.”
In the dropknee division, it was a couple of prone world tour regulars who stole the spotlight with South Africa’s Iain Campbell and Hawaii’s Jacob Romero both winning their heats to progress to the next stage of competition.
Finally, in the Pro-junior repechage heats David Seer won the first heat while France’s Arthur Morel took victory in the second.
Competition resumes at 4pm (AEST) with round four of the men’s world tour.