Sununga Day 1 & 2
Words by Anthony Liuzzi
Photos by Corinne Conklin
DAY ONE – Monday 3/24
The energy in Ubatuba Brazil is something that new visitors find nearly unexplainable. The skies cleared and the sun rose on March 24, 2014. The big day for the first stop of the United Skim Tour had arrived and what a better place to do so in. Ubatuba, Brazil is home to not only 102 beaches but is filled with an amazing community of people who have welcomed all of us into their family. The stage was set, the grills were hot, music was pounding and the swell couldn’t of have been better. The competitors all gathered for morning practice sessions at Sununga Beach before the big moment. This year’s class of athletles’ has reached a level of epic proportions. This skim family tribe includes athletes from the United States, France, Angola, Mexico, Venezuela, Chile, and many more. Jason Wilson aka J-Dub took the lead as the contest announcer along with Emanuel Embaixador , aka “Mega”. Listing the rules and regulations for all the athletes in a variety of languages so no one would be left out! Finally the time was here to start the first round of the contest. The rounds consisted of three riders placed in accordance to their UST standings from the year prior. The riders came out holding nothing back. The Brazilian athletes definitely put on quite a show. Showing the riders that the local knowledge and experience was not only proven by wave numbers, but also by wave selection. The local community showed support to not only the Brazilian riders but also to everyone who competed. Cheers and applause could be heard constantly up and down Sununga Beach all day. Waves were caught, tricks were landed, and the competition was fierce. At the end of the day the scores were tallied and the top two riders from each round moved on to the next round! Every rider proved to be amazing competition and no one round was an easy win. The first day of the United Skim Tour has finished but will never be forgotten. Stay tuned for more updates from Ubatuba, Brazil and the first stop of the UST.
DAY TWO – Tuesday 3/25
Everyone gathered early for the second day of the first stop on the United Skim tour to see the world cup of skimboarding located in Ubatuba, Brazil. The second day of the Sununga contest was blessed with sunny skies and all around great competition. The beach quickly filled with locals and travelers from all over the world just before the first heats took place. The contest officials decided that the prime conditions called time for the professionals to do work. The waves were a lot cleaner and proved to be a Sununga playground for the athletes. The wave periods had shifted and were really long, which made wave selection critical during the heats. The energy was right, the sun was shining, and the athletes were ready for action. The professionals put on quite a show for the spectators for the entire day. Twenty minute heats, back to back all day! Each one action packed with many great rides for the judges to score. Most riders positioned themselves near the sider in order to make it to the best waves in town. The priority rule proved to be very important today at Sununga beach. The “priority rule” is when a rider is given the opportunity to be first in line to select which wave they would like to charge. Any rider may attempt a wave even if they are not in the number one spot. But if the rider in the priority spot is attempting to catch a wave, the other rider must allow them to proceed or risk possible disqualification. Contest announcers continuously notified the riders of the time remaining and who is first in line. Athletes found the rule brought balance to the heats. Showcasing their skills as the shorebreak come crashing toward the coastline. Many scoring multiple in-and-outs on a single wave! The riders found themselves flying through the air and landing back onto the wave and sometimes even making it back to the beach. Only to be met with cheers and applause from the fans on the shoreline. The judges definitely had their work cut out for them and had to keep their pens at the ready and their attention toward the horizon line. Congratulations to all the riders for the amazing display of professionalism and for all their efforts in each session. Tomorrow is the finals and a king of Sununga will be crowned!
Anthony is currently working on a skimboard documentary and is in Sununga covering all the action.
DAY 3 UPDATE: The pro semi finals ran right at dusk. Blair Conklin and Leandro Azevedo advanced to the finals and will compete man on man for the cup! Wave check tomorrow morning.
All photos ©ourtesty of Corinne Conklin