Wave House Mallorca hosted the biggest World FlowBoarding Championships to date
On September 7th – 9th the best FlowBarrel ® Ten flowboarders and bodyboarders in the world descended on the island of Mallorca to compete in the sport’s most prestigious event
The World Flowboarding Championships (WFC), sponsored by Monster Energy and Melia Hotels International, was the most highly anticipated event of the year as competitors from South Africa, USA, Chile, Spain, UAE and Singapore battled it out on the FlowBarrel™ Ten at the latest Wave House venue. Wave House Mallorca had their grand opening on July 4th and started preparing themselves for this prestigious event. The popularity of the event has been growing year on year, and it did not disappoint with record crowds, unbelievable riding and global media coverage.
The event was divided into 3 main divisions: Pro Men’s Flowboard, Pro Female Flowboard and Pro Bodyboard. Each division had 2 disciplines; Pro Men’s Flowboard and Pro Female Flowboard competitors competed in the strapped and strapless disciplines and the Pro Bodyboard competitors competed in the Drop Knee and Prone disciplines. Each division had veterans and rookies competing against each other and it was amazing to watch the more experienced veteran riders battle against the young guns using all their knowledge and experience.
Starting with the Pro Bodyboard division, there were 2 names everyone was watching; current World Champion Billy Tennant (SA) and runner up Chris Childers (USA). These guys have built up an extremely competitive relationship, which started at last years WFC in South Africa when Billy got the better of Chris. Both riders had been training hard in the off-season, so it was no surprise that this match up was the one to watch. Other Wild Card riders like FlowRider® veterans Hayley Balderama, Mateo Hernandez, Matt Grifin and current Drop Knee world champion Nick Nguyen were competing to prove that they have what it takes to compete against the best of the best on the FlowBarrel. Local rookie Charlie Goodwin (Spain) competed against the world’s best in his first ever competition. Chris Childers (USA) and Billy Tennant (SA) went head to head in the very first heat of the competition in the Drop Knee discipline. These guys held nothing back as both wanted to prove a point by going huge in the semi final rounds. After a great heat both Billy and Chris made it through to the finals where they would meet wild cards Hayley Balderama and Nick Nguyen. With such a high profile final, the crowd surged forward to witness the battle. In the end it was the skill and smoothness of Billy Tennant (SA) who beat the rest to take the top spot, followed by defending champion Nick Nguyen in second, Hayley Balderama in third and Chris Childers in 4th.
The riding in the prone discipline proved to be even more technical and astounding as the competitors launched themselves 5 feet above the lip, performing massive rolls, air roll spins and gorfs. Once again Billy (SA) and Chris (USA) went head to head and were joined in the finals by wild card rippers Matt Grifin and Mateo Hernandez. Both Matt and Mateo kept a close eye on the 2 veterans but unfortunately couldn’t pull off the huge tricks to get the top spots as they finished third and fourth respectively. It all came down to another dogfight between Billy (SA) and Chris (USA), which had the crowd on their feet. Trick for trick, carve for carve, these two went back and forth, but in the end it was Chris who got the better of Billy by landing some of the biggest tricks ever seen in competition. After Billy’s 1st place finish in Drop Knee and 2nd place finish in Prone, he took the number one spot for the Over-All champion. Billy Tennant (SA) managed to defend his world title once again. Lets see if he can do the same next year.
Next up on the schedule was the Pro Female Flowboard. In the last two years the female riding has improved at an incredible rate, with smooth riding and huge airs becoming a regular feature. The talk of the event was the match up between Amy Stevens (USA) and Ili Lim(Sing). Amy was defending her championship title; she had ridden to victory last year with 3 first place finishes – a perfect event. Unfortunately Ili Lim had to pull out of the event in 2011 due to injury and was eager to test her skills against the current world champion. Another name to watch for was Marta Jekot (SA) who had been competing for a number years and used her experience as a pro snowboarder to get her to the WFC. First up was the strapless discipline where Ili Lim rode with some smooth, seamless transitions performing some very technical tricks like Indy airs and 180 shuvits, It was clear that half way through the finals she had gained some well earned momentum and it was going to be very hard for the other girls to catch up. Ili had clearly proven that she deserved that gold medal and championship title and left the rest of the field to battle it out for 2nd, 3rd and 4th. It was Amy Stevens, Marta Jekot and Crystal Paslawsky who filled up the rest of the podium respectively. The girls then had to get ready for the strapped finals where they wowed the crowd with some huge back flips. After a second place finish in the strapless discipline Amy Stevens was hungry for the gold and came out firing. Amy performed some enormous back flips with clean execution, which is exactly what the judges were looking for. Amy had bounced back to secure her spot as the strapped champion, which catapulted her into first place for the Over-All trophy. “I was so happy that I could defend my title this year. I was nervous going against Ili because she is so good”, said Amy. Ili managed to get a 3rd place in the strapped division, which secured her spot as number 2 in the world. “The level of riding in the female division was awesome to judge. These girls are going bigger and better every year” said head judge Rob Chalfant.
The competition concluded with the most highly anticipated division of the event. The Pro Men’s Flowboard, which was the division with the most competitors entering. Some big names to look out for were current world strapped champion, Eric Silverman (USA), current number 2 in the world and National USA strapless champion Greg Lazarus, spin master Matt Lammers (SA), competition veteran Rob Whyte (SA) who has one of the smoothest styles in the sport, young gun Max Sokolov (UAE) and Brandon Stevens (USA) who can beat any-one when he’s at his best. Kicking off with the strapless discipline, the crowd gathered around the FlowBarrel to witness the best riding the world has ever seen. After some very close quarter and semi final rounds, the field was narrowed down to Greg Lazarus (USA), Eric Silverman (USA), Rob Whyte (SA) and Alfian Affandi (Sing). Without a world title under his belt Greg Lazarus was hungry for the gold and with 4 staples in his head from an injury sustained in the warm-up, he still went huge. After landing a strapless front flip in competition in his third run, Greg secured his first strapless world championship title. “ I am so stoked that I was able to ride like I did. I was a bit worried that the staples would hold me back, but my adrenalin took over”, said Greg. Coming in the second spot was Eric Silverman (USA), followed by Alfian Affandi (Sing) in third and Rob Whyte in fourth.
With barely any time to rest, the riders had to gear up and get back on the wave for the strapped discipline. Battling it out in the finals were once again Greg Lazarus (USA), Eric Silverman (USA), Matt Lammers (SA) and Rob Whyte (SA). This was a classic battle between South Africa and USA. After some crazy double corks, front flips and different grab variations it was current world champion Eric Silverman who defended his title and claimed the gold. This result made for a very interesting situation – as stated in the rulebook, if there is a tie between two riders for the Over-All first place, then it goes to a Flow-Off. This was the first ever flow-off in the history of the sport. Greg and Eric strapped up and got back on the wave to battle it out for one last time. Run for run, trick for trick it was anyone’s to win. It was so close that no-one could call the result except for the judges. After a nerve-racking wait it was announced: Eric Silverman (USA) had claimed the Over-All world title with Greg Lazarus coming in an extremely close second. “I was really nervous going into the flow-off and I knew I had to give it my all” said Eric.
With USA having so many riders finish in the top spots, they were able to defend their team title for the 3rd year in a row. “ I am so stoked that I am able to be apart of a winning team. All these riders are so talented and I couldn’t be prouder” said team captain Greg Lazarus.
With the finals over, the whirlwind of a week finished and there are 9 new world champions. We would like to say thanks to all the sponsors namely Wave House Mallorca, Flowboarding League Of the World (FLOW), Monster Energy and Melia Hotels International, The staff of Wave House and every-one who made the event possible.