As such 49 men entered the waves which is a massive record and more than the Freestyle which had 47 men. This meant they had to run Qualifiers with only the Top 12 IKA ranked men pre-qualifying into the main event. This was a pretty tight system with the likes of Mitu, Airton, myself and many other top wave riders having to qualify.
The first day of waves was Wednesday when we all went to Oum laboiur and started competition around 1.30pm after it took a while to get everyone there and the stuff set up to go. The good thing was as the tide came up it started to pump with nice head high sets reeling down the perfect right hand point.
With only one race crew and just 3 judges, they ran 4 heats of 9 people on the water for 10 mins, with the best 3 from each heat advancing to the main draw. Pretty tight and impossible to get any good waves and even for the 3 judges sat in a bus to see those waves, but I was pleased to make it through.
In round 1, I had No. 1 seed Pedro and Airton, so pretty tough and again only 10 mins to catch 2 good waves which is tricky on a super settie point break.
I felt I rode really well and seeing both Airton and Pedro fall on some good waves thought I had the win? But no I placed 3rd with only 0.33 seperating all of us and on looking at the scores there was a massive split between judges with 1 giving me a 6.9 and the other a 5 with the 3rd a 6.0. That's the problem with having only 3 judges and the reason you need 5 so you can drop the high and low to get the average, which means if one judge misses something you do not lose out.
So that meant into round 2 where I faced a local Moroccan guy. This happened the next day in smaller waves but still nicely rippable. Again I felt I rode well and coming to the beach was told by loads of people I had the win easily including the guys girlfriend, Kirsty Jones. Yet again I lost and looking at my scores they had what I thought was my best wave by far as only my 3rd best. Seems they weren't scoring the inside section as they couldn't see without turning round in the bus!
So that was it for me. The next rounds went down with some great riding but also some more dubious judging. The PKRA really needs to sort their act out if they are serious about running the World Wave Champs and have a seperate crew with dedicated surf judges so that they can run at the same time as the freestyle rather than just an add on!!!!
Well done to Keahi and Moona who were both ripping and deserved the wins.
So that's it for World Wave comps for 2014 unless the PKRA sort it out? Shame as with that many entries it shows their is the demand for a Wave Tour, I would really like to improve on my 17th place!
Thanks to all the friendly people that helped me out during my time in Dakhla :)