APB Tour commentator and Riptide contributor Steve “Action” Jackson is in Iquique, Chile for the annual ISA World Bodyboard Championships and will be providing a regular column on all the behind-the-scenes action (no pun intended) of the week-long event.
In his first entry, Action talks to some of the riders from Team Australia – who are making their return to the championships for the first time in four years.
Words by Steve “Action” Jackson
Above photo: Luke Fischer, Jordan Ihms and Jake Metcalfe in their Australian team uniforms.
It’s a sunny and slightly-warmer-than-expected Saturday morning in Iquique, Chile. We’re still a couple of days away from the opening ceremonies for the 2015 ISA World Bodyboard Championship, and with each passing day you can feel the anticipation of every national team growing.
Even as a commentator for the WBC, I share that feeling with all of the competitors. I’m just as anxious to get things going as I am eager to get out in the water to score a few waves for myself.
I woke up at 6:30am and walked up to Punta 1 to check the surf. The waves from the previous swell have died down to about 1-2 foot, but there is still a crowd out in the lineup for the morning dawn patrol.
Team Portugal is out in the water mixing it up with the local crew, getting in a training session before breakfast. Cold water, small waves, crowded line-up, I opt to return to Hostel La Isla for breakfast and take care of a few emails.
After breakfast, I grab my notebook and head back up to the contest site. As I’m walking up, I see the unmistakable green and yellow uniforms of Team Australia, complete with their beige outback-style hats. They’re checking the surf, and watching the small-wave action out in the water. Despite the diminished conditions, guys are still throwing out big ARS’s and chucking buckets with big DK hacks. I introduced myself, and ended up having a discussion with Jake Metcalfe and Luke Fisher.
Most of the conversation is between Luke and I. He discusses the Australian National titles and how happy he is to have the opportunity to represent Australia at the WBC. All of the team seems really stoked to have this opportunity to travel and explore Iquique, although Jake is a little bummed that he only brought a short-sleeve wetsuit rather than a proper 3/2 steamer. Our conversation has the occasional diversion when someone out in the water busts out a big maneuver.
Luke continues with our conversation. “It’s great to be in a spot where bodyboarding gets top billing.” He also touches upon the fact that, at 33 years old, he doesn’t know how many opportunities he will have to represent Australia on the international level. You can hear the enthusiasm and determination in his voice when he talks about wanting to take advantage of this opportunity. Jake seconds that thought.
We talk about the future of bodyboarding, the state of the industry, and the current progress of our sport. Then, just as quickly as our conversation began, it’s time for Team Australia to go grab a quick feed and then get back to preparing for the start of competition.
Team Australia will be amongst the many nations battling it out during the 2015 ISA World Bodyboard Championship here in Iquique, Chile.
The Parade of Nations and opening ceremonies will be held on Monday (December 7th), with competition beginning on Tuesday. Stay tuned for continuing news and updates, as well as live webcast coverage of the entire event. The International Surfing Association and World Bodyboard Championship are officially recognized by the International Olympic Committee.