Leandro Azevedo Wins Sununga
Words: Anothony Liuizi
Photos: Corinne Conklin
Sununga Day 3 & 4
Three waves to win…win or lose, friends for life! Heat after heat and the athletes keep getting sider after sider. The audience is blown away at their maneuvers and rides after each completion as they navigate back to the sand. How do they do it! The level of Skimboarding at this event along with the rest of the UST always holds a level of professionalism and spark. The beauty of the United Skim Tour is how it integrates so many individuals from so many different areas and aspects of life. Every day the athletes are not only crossing cultural lines and boundaries but are creating lifelong connections. It seems that the flow of the Sununga contest is charging uphill and is picking up speed on the third day. The scattered showers and high tides brought the monstrous waves to a more of a maintainable level.
So again the contest officials made the call to delay the professionals till 3 p.m. and allow the amateurs to get another chance to charge Sununga. The professionals are definitely in trouble if a few of these amateurs continue to progress at their current speed. The first round of the amateur competition was a sight to see. It is always great to watch amateur athletes display their skills with such finesse and passion. After the amateurs battled it out, it was time for the professionals. It was time for Austin, Blair, Renato, and Leandro to finalize this thing and see who is will be crowned champion. Two Brazilians in one heat… two Americans in another. The professional semi finals were blessed with a break from the showers and great sets of waves.
Austin and Blair were first to battle it out in Sununga. Austin started the heat out with a long sider connection across the beach that included a hard surf style cutback. After a long wait for the right one, Blair found a couple secondary siders. Blair and Austin spent plenty of time waiting out what might have been the longest lull of all the heats the entire competition. Austin proved his patience after choosing a nice set to do an inverted 360 alley-oop off the top of the wave. Both riders just couldn’t find any waves big enough to provide a long ride, Blair sealed the heat with a surf style frontside air off a secondary air section and a big spin onto the sand.
Onto local favorites, Renato and Leandro’s heat. Leandro started off the heat with a sketchy 6 foot air drop off the top of a peaky connection solidifying a solid scoring foundation. Renato came back with some great rides that included a 540 shuv-it on one of his connections. However, Leandro proved his wave selection skills by picking out the better waves of the heat solidifying a slot in the finals.
The fourth day of Sununga was blessed with more sunny skies and a packed beach. The contest allowed for the athletes to have ample time to warm up and for the conditions to be just right. The time was perfect and the energy was in the air. It was time Leandro Azevedo and Blair Conklin to square off for the crown of Sununga. The thirty minute heat felt like an hour with the intensity in the air. Leandro started out the heat with a breathtaking ride from end to end of Sununga. Blair responded on the very next wave with a nice in-and-out. The riders rushed back to the notch, Blair even skimming back to position. They rocked the ocean and it rocked them back, the swells died down for a few minutes and the riders were stuck waiting patiently for the right set. The Sununga swell returned just in time for the last few minutes of the heat. Blair landed a few great liners with another amazing in-and-out with a 360 Shuv-it as he returned safely to the beach. The riders attempted waves until the heat ended with the countdown and the final horn. The riders ended the heat in the best way, with a friendly hand shake and a knowing they did their best. After a few hours of waiting the judges determined that the winner of Sununga 2014 is Leandro Azevedo from Brazil. All of the riders congratulated and cheered for Leandro including Blair Conklin who was the first to hug him and congratulate him.
- Leandro Azevedo
- Blair Conklin
- Renato Lima
- Austin Keen
- Sam Stinnett
- Morgan Just