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Wavescape - Surfing in South Africa

Sun, 15 October 2017

Durbanite Iain Campbell, 26, won the APB world bodyboard title despite losing the final of the Nazare Pro in cranking 6-8' surf at Praia Do Norte this week, with one event to go.


ROYAL CHAIR: Iain Campbell is chaired up the beach after winning the world title. Photo APB

His semi-final win over remaining world title contender Diego Cabrera of the Canary Islands was enough to seal the world championship after eventual event winner Nazare local Antonio Cardoso had paved the way by taking down last year’s champion and only other contender Pierre Louis Costes (PLC) in the quarters.

Campbell and Cardoso went head to head in the final with Campbell the world champ. He was still up for the fight though, but it was Cardoso who created the uproar in the partisan Nazare crowd when he took the win 12.65 to 12.25, while a drone operator named Jesus captured the action from the air.

South African bodyboarders have had a frequent podium presence in internationl bodyboard events in recent years, and have been positively dominant this year on the tour, taking three titles in 10 events, the Gran Canaria Frontón King Pro still to come.


TROPHY TIME: Campbell won the world title with one event to go on the tour. Photo APB

Campbell won the Sintra Pro and the World Bodyboard Championships at Viana in Portugal, while compatriot Jared Houston won at Teahuppo'o. Campbell's 2017 world title follows Houston's own world title in 2015. Andre Botha won the last title for South Africa before that - in 1998.

With the elimination of PLC by Cardoso, Campbell seemed calm heading into the nail-biting semi-final against Cabrera despite the pressure of the moment - the chance to scoop an early world title. Campbell's first ride was a huge rollo, but Cabrera grabbed a few good scores to take the lead.

The South African trailed for just under half the heat but found a big ramp on a right-hander, pulling off a huge backflip that had his support crew cheering. Campbell scratched for a more rides but these didn’t build on his heat total as the clock counted down towards his world title.


EL ROLLO: Campbell launches at one of the South American events this year. Photo Supplied

Cabrera had a chance late in the heat. He pulled into a barrel but could not complete the move on the end section. With 30 seconds remaining, it dawned on everyone that victory was Campbell's. Following the usual embraces amongst mates and peers, and the subsequent chair up the beach, Campbell was quick to find his partner Rosie in the crowd and share the moment in a private embrace.

For a moment, the beach had almost forgotten that another semi-final was in progress. In the water, Cardoso was continuing his march to the final and ultimate victory, putting in a searing performance to dispatch Alan Munoz. In the final, it was not until the dying stages that Cardoso came back into it, finding the scores he needed to steal the lead from Campbell and emerged victorious.

It was a win-win for South African and Portuguese fans.

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