After a farcical and embarrassing end to the Bodyboarding world Tour 2013, the IBA limped off with its tail firmly between its legs and the Bodyboard world was left wondering if and how the tour could continue. From cancelled stops on the tour to a last minute emergency sponsorship deal that saved the Pipeline event, 2013 was a maddening year for professional Bodyboarding.
Luckily, through many hours of hard work and careful negotiation some of the sports biggest and most influential names have created a non-profit organization to guide and spearhead Bodyboarding into the future. This organization is to be known as the Association of Professional Bodyboarders (A.P.B) and consists of some serious heavyweights in the Bodyboard world including amongst others Mike Stewart, Jeff Hubbard, Guilherme Tamega and Ryan Hardy. Each member has a unique role within the APB from acting as a Representative for their continent or region to general manager and head judge. The organization is to act as governing body to oversee the athletes, officials and promoters and to maintain a consistency between events.
The world tour itself is returning back to a system that was last used in 2009 and proved to be popular with all involved, each event based on a star rating system that attracts varying amounts of points depending on its star ranking. The minimum purse that the riders will be competing for at each event will be $25000 USD.
Stages on the Tour include some firm favourites such as Pipeline, Fronton and Teahupoo along with spots in South Africa, Portugal and Australia. The men’s 2014 Tour will feature 28 of the top riders in the world along with a maximum of 4 wildcards at each event. The Women’s and Drop Knee divisions will feature 8 of the top riders going head to head.
With such legends steering the sport of Bodyboarding the future seems to have become a little brighter and an excited buzz is rippling through the wider Bodyboard community. With the start of the tour in Hawaii at Pipe in late February, the BB world waits with quiet and hopeful anticipation. To keep up to speed with the A.P.B head over to this Facebook page.
For more information on the IBA and some committed words from the Hawaiian Event Tour Director and former world champ Ben Severson, then take a look at ibahawaiitour.com.
Surely with such names as Mike Stewart and Ben Severson at the helm Bodyboarding is in safe hands and has an exciting future ahead? Let us know if you think the A.P.B can help take the sport to new heights or do you think without major sponsorship investment the sport is set to languish in the shadow of surfing forever?