The Association of Professional Bodyboarders will introduce new rules following controversial tactics used during the Pro Junior quarterfinals of the Itacoatiara Pro.

Under the new rules, the APB will introduce a mandatory priority system for all heats in the Pro Men’s, Pro Women’s and Pro Junior divisions for all APB Tour events. Also, riders who follow and “sit on” fellow competitors during their heat will be warned and penalised.

It comes after Pro Junior world title favourite Tanner McDaniel was visibly blocked and harassed by fellow competitors during his quarterfinal heat at the Itacoatiara Pro.

McDaniel, the lone Hawaiian in the heat, was pitted against Brazilian trio Matheus Bastos, Marcelo Santos and Igor de Almeida, with all three riders taking turns to block McDaniel from catching waves.

OPINION: NO PLACE FOR DIRTY TACTICS

As a result, McDaniel finished in third place and was knocked from the contest.

Screen Shot 2016-06-21 at 12.13.19 PM
Above: Brazil’s Igor de Almeida (blue) raises his arms in celebration in front of Tanner McDaniel (red) despite Almeida finishing in fourth place.

“It was crazy because it started before we even jumped in the water, like two of them walked to one side of me and the other walked to the other and paddled out with me between all of them,” McDaniel said of his heat.

“If you watch the heat replay you only get to see maybe half of the paddle battles. I didn’t stop paddling the entire heat.

“It felt like they weren’t even worried about surfing the heat, just blocking me from getting a decent wave. Their coaches on the beaches tell them they have to do that.

“All they need to do is have every heat a priority heat and this wouldn’t happen.”

Following the heat, APB Board member and nine-time World Champion Mike Stewart called for a change to the rules to not let a similar incident happen again.

“The bottom line is there are no rules in place that say they couldn’t do what they did. Regardless of what it is, they were working within the guidelines,” Stewart said.

“To me this is an opportunity to fix it. There is no fault to those guys (Bastos, Almeida and Santos), they were working within the rules. It’s our fault for not having rules in place to stop it.

“These team tactics should have been abolished 10 or 20 years ago. It is seeping back in because we let it happen.”

“We are only governed by rules and we had to sit back in disgrace and watch it unfold.”

 

APB CEO Alex Leon confirmed he has spoken with the APB Board and will put through the new rule before the next round of the World Tour in Chile.

“We are placing a new rule in the rule book that will prevent this from occurring in the future,” Leon said.

“It was just unfortunate that we couldn’t run priority due to the strong winds and difficult conditions as the heats before in the womens there was mass confusion with it and was too risky to do in a four man (heat).

“We are only governed by rules and we had to sit back in disgrace and watch it unfold.”

The Itacoatiara Pro will continue tonight with Round 1 of the Men’s expected to start at 8pm tonight (AEST). The event will be streamed live at www.apbtour.com/live.

Main photo by Tony D’Andrea.

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