Youngster earns judges’ nod in Point Break Open
Daniel Bae is new to the water sport of bodyboarding but give him a few years and he could pose as a threat to the veterans that regularly compete in the Point Break Open Saipan.
The 7-year-old, who only started eight months ago, bested five other youngsters to rule the Grommets division in last weekend’s tournament held at the Pacific Islands Club’s flowrider facility in San Antonio.
A Grommet is a surfer slang for a young surfer.
Bae tallied 35.6 points for an almost 10-point advantage over Yuzuka Nishimura’s 25.9 while Andy Kim settled for third with 22.3 markers in the final round.
Lee Jung Woo, the other finals qualifier who scored 15.7 points in the ranking round, was a no-show in Saturday’s finals. He was in the same bracket with Bae and Yu Chae Won, who also failed to show up.
Nishimura and Kim were in the other bracket in the ranking round along with Ahn Hyeon Jun and Ahn Min Jun.
Bae scored 36.3 points to earn the top ranking followed by Kim (21.4), Nishimura (19.1), and Lee (15.7). Only the Top 2 participants in each bracket advanced to the finals.
Bae wowed the judges with his routine that featured speed, flow, and variety. He did drop knees and maneuvered his bodyboard from right to left while lying on his stomach.
In one of his routines, he even let his bodyboard just float a few feet away from him, letting his body be carried by the flowride’s artificial waves before precisely grabbing back his bodyboard that earned wild cheers from the crowd and admiration from the judges.
Frank Sanchez bested Shane Camacho in their two-cornered fight for the kids bodyboard crown.
Sanchez scored 22.8 in the final round against Camacho’s 19.8. He also earned 17.5 in the first round while Camacho had 16.2.
Ota Nami defeated Yasuko Nakamura in their one-on-one battle for the women’s novice bodyboard event.
Nami, who held a 0.7 lead over Nakamura in the ranking round (22.9-22.2), scored 26.1 points in the final round against her opponent’s 23.2.
Ryu Dong Hyun, Lee Jong Il, and Hyun Seok Jung did not show up in the men’s novice bodyboard division.
The two-day event attracted riders from Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Russia, and the United States.
The seeding format, which only started last year, gives the judges a preview of what to look forward to in the final day of competitions in the bodyboard and flowaboard’s open and expert divisions.
IT&E, Bridge Capital, LLC, PIC Saipan, Pacific Trading Co., Jeju Airlines, Coral Ocean Point Golf Resort, Triple J Five Star Wholesale Foods, Swirls, Loco Boutique, Waveloch, Japan Flowrider Association, and Boarderline are the event sponsors.