Laguna Beach’s Sam Stinnett defended his title during the United Skim Tour skimboarding competition last month in Ubatuba, Brazil, riding a long-lasting sidewave on a beach halfway between Rio de Janiero and Sao Paulo.
The unique topography of Sununga beach is well-known in skimboarding circles because incoming waves reflect off of a natural rock wall and create a side wave that runs sideways close to shore. This creates unique and ideal skimboarding conditions, as the riders are able to catch the side wave from one side of the beach to the other.
The competition was held over a six-day waiting period April 23-28 and riders converged upon Sununga from Chile, Mexico, Australia, Venezuela, Portugal, France, the United Kingdom as well as the United States.
Stinnett encountered stiff competition not only from 2012 second-place finisher Blair Conklin, also from Laguna Beach, but also from two unranked Brazilian riders who call Sununga home. Renato Lima and Leandro Azevedo, who had impressed visiting skimboarders at Sununga with their world-class moves for years, had never previously competed on the United Skim Tour. Skimboarding enthusiasts were anxious to see how they would stack up against top-ranked skimboarders on their home turf.
Of 27 rivals, it came down to a semi-final of Laguna skimmers against Sununga locals. Stinnett would compete head to head against Lima, and Conklin take on Azevedo. Tensions was high on the beach as the large Brazilian crowd wanted to see the local favorites beat the top ranked riders, and they put on a good show.
In the end, however, Stinnett and Conklin would proceed to the finals, with Stinnett eventually taking first place. The eight-event tour sets up at Laguna’s Aliso Beach for the Victoria-sponsored contest June 29-30 and in Newport Beach in October.