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Jeff Hubbard claims Wild Wild Wave El Fronton...

Jeff Hubbard : photo IBA/Miskov

Wild Wild Wave El Fronton Invitational

International Bodyboard Association Sanctioned
Canary Islands, Atlantic Ocean
12 - 21 December 2010

Jeff Hubbard Wins This Years Biggest Professional Bodyboard Event

Surfersvillage Global Surf News
, 20 December, 2010 : - - Gran Canary Island:  The first ever International bodyboarding event at El Fronton on Gran Canary Island  saw some serious action go down in the fierce westerly winds that saw Hawaiian Jeff Hubbard (35 years of age/ Hawaii/Kauai) take the win over local Canary Island rider Diego Cabrera.

“I'm so happy. So stoked. Can't image that I actually won that contest -  It's a dream to win a contest like this in heavy waves and in a competitor field like this. This is as big as my Pipeline victory. I want thank my wife Heather and family for all the support. Friends and God. I'm so stoked” said Hubbard after the win.

On the North coast of Gran Canaria, 16 of the best bodyboarders in the world converged to challenge each other and Mother Nature here at the Wild Wild Wave El Fronton Invitational. The wind was so strong that people forgot that the one thing that made El Fronton dangerous was still a main factor... the reef.

After attempting a massive rollo in his quarterfinal heat, Diego Cabrera (ESP), got his fins knocked off and ended up on the reef and struggled in the impact zone. “That was one of the heaviest wipeouts I've ever had in my bodyboarding career,” said Cabrera who eventually finished in second place behind Hubbard..

Major upsets when down in the quarterfinals. Actually with 16 of the greats bodyboarders of today in the competition, every heat in the contest saw upsets.  Six-time world champion, Guilherme Tamega, didn't advance. Tamega says, “That was the hardest time for me to catch a wave in my entire life- I was fighting against the wind the whole time.”

The Australians had their hopes shattered when none of their own made it past the semi-finals. The closest they were was with Ryan Hardy and Damien King. King lost by a mere 0.2 in his semi-final. Barely getting edged out by the South African Andre Botha.

Ryan snuck out of the quarter finals with a last minute insane barrel ride. But the steam ran out in the semi finals. He made an amazing exit thought. After the horn sounded to end his heat, Hardy grabbed a massive right hand wave and launched 10 feet in the air with a gigantic back-flip.

After a serious pounding in his first heat, Diego Cabrera came into the semi finals like a bat out of hell! He was on fire. Cabrera put together one of the best heats of the day. Great barrel riding and big moves on the bigger waves solidified him into the final no problem.

 Jeff Hubbard's (Hawaii/Kauai) textbook ARS maneuvers got him into the finals. Andre Botha seemingly cruised into the finals. “This is my favorite wave in the world,” Botha says with passion. Watching him all day in the competition you can see that he was the most comfortable out there in these conditions. He spent that last two months here training for this event. His relationship with El Fronton is like no other.

And El Fronton was kind to Botha and let him into the finals. The fourth person to make up the finals was another Canary Island representative, Yeray Martinez. Yeray is a hero on the islands. He charges hard and is pushing the caliber of riding here in the Canary Islands.

The final - Jeff Hubbard, Andre Botha, and the two Canary Island boys Yeray Martinez and Diego Cabrera faced the winds and six to eight foot waves... and each other. Thirty minutes.

Drawing first blood was the air master Jeff Hubbard. He wanted to let people know that he meant business. Hubbard snagged a perfect forming right-hander and timed it perfectly, as he always does, and launched into an 8.00 ARS. After that, everyone in the final had to step up and retaliate. Yeray Martinez, El Fronton specialist, struggled with his wave selection in the finals. He swooped up a bunch of waves but couldn't find those high scoring point waves. His best wave was a deep barrel. But he just couldn't get that other wave to follow up.

Yeray ended up in 4th place at the end of the event. Andre Botha was in his own playground. As we mentioned, he looked very comfortable but again it was the wind and wave selection that played with every competitor's mental state. Botha was just happy to be out there in the final. We saw him drop into close out barrels as if were a soft sandy shorebreak. He put on a great show for us today but ended up in 3rd place just ahead of Yeray Martinez.

It came down to the wire for Diego Cabrera and Jeff Hubbard. Diego was putting together solid combination waves that ended up near the inside shallows of the El Fronton reef. Those waves only fared above average scores. He had to dig deep and get that other solid wave to match Jeff's massive ARS. Jeff was able to get a couple more solid rides under his belt.

Pocket ride to ARS was Jeff's forte today. As time wound down, Diego still had the chance to pull out a hat trick if the set wave came to him. Today, Mother Nature said no to Diego and didn't deliver that one wave that Diego needed to surpass Jeff Hubbard. After the horn sounded, it took Andre Botha to paddle over to Jeff and let him know that he won.

 Jeff Hubbard  you’re the first ever Wild Wild Wave El Fronton Invitational champion.  We here at the IBA would like to thank everyone for making this event possible and for all of you for watching the live broadcast that was brought to you by Red Bull Web TV and Maldito Rodriguez. From the Canary Islands... see you at Pipeline in February.

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Steve Robertson

Bodyboard - Surfersvillage


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