Photos: Abdel Elecho

Photos: Abdel Elecho

Analysis: Abu Dhabi All Stars

Kai Lenny and Izzi Gomez each brought dominant performances to the wave pool at the Wadi Adventure Park, each taking wins at the Abu Dhabi All Star event.

For Lenny it was a return to form, after an early loss in Brazil and a second-place finish at Sunset Beach. Lenny’s brand of technical, fast surfing fit the waves at Wadi well, bobbling less than other competitors and linking a variety of turns through the slow sections. Instead of trying to overpower the soft wave Lenny matched the speed and flow of the walls, not forcing moves like many competitors.

The Standup World Tour has been the Caio Vaz show this year. Vaz made a serious statement by coming out and winning the first two events. With his semi-final finish in Abu Dhabi he still sits comfortably atop the rankings. But Lenny beat him in their semi-final match-up and Vaz knows that, if he lets him, Lenny has the chops to chase him down in the title race over the remaining three events. Vaz doesn’t have a world title to his name yet though and is hungry for the victory and certainly will not go down without a fight. He also looks like the most stoked guy on tour, an attitude that could help him or hurt him as the competition grows in ferocity.

Caio Vaz draws one off the wall and the bottom.

Caio Vaz draws one off the wall and the bottom.

Sean Poynter surfs well in every event. He’s consistent, explosive and a competitive threat in any conditions. But sometimes he seems to get too far inside his head and self-implodes at crucial times, wasting mental energy that he should channel into his surfing for the win. His final finish is his best of the year. Add that to his third in Brazil and he’s sitting well in the standings. A win would really help his confidence as we move into the second half of the year and could see him contending for the title at the end of the year.

Mo Freitas surfed the best he’s surfed all year at Abu Dhabi. His turns were crisp, full and varied. The more Freitas competes the more his freakish natural ability will come out. His competitors better watch out.

Other standouts on the men’s side included Daniel Hughes, Zane Schweitzer and Poenaiki Raioha, who all brought their air games to the pool.

Izzi Gomez, off the top and off with another event win.

Izzi Gomez, off the top and off with another event win.

Izzi Gomez, 14, is proving to be the woman to beat on the women’s standup world tour with resounding wins in the last two events. She throws spray with the best of them and has a gift for timing her maneuvers. The wave at Wadi is suited to her Floridian surfing style. With this win Gomez is tied for number one in the world with Brazilian phenom and defending World Champion Nicole Pacelli. These two ladies are the future of women’s SUP surfing and will be battling it out for years to come.

Despite a semi-final loss Pacelli’s rail game is looking solid and her surfing seems to gain more and more maturity as she travels the world and competes. She and Gomez seem to find another gear toward the end of contests that leaves their competitors wilting under the pressure. Look for their rivalry to gain more steam as the competition calendar continues.


Spaniard Iballa Moreno cut through the draw in the desert with heavy-footed power surfing. Her finals berth was her breakout result of the season. Expect her to build on this in the contests to come.

Brazilian Aline Adisaka continues to improve her surfing with her second semi-final appearance in as many events. She may not be a well-known name outside of Brazil yet but she will be shortly.

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Men’s Rankings
1. Caio Vaz-26,500
2. Kai Lenny-21,000
3. Keahi de Aboitiz-17,750
4. Sean Poynter-17,000
5. Zane Schweitzer-15,500
5. Ian Vaz-15,500
7. Mo Freitas-14,500
8. Leco Salazar-13,500
9. Kody Kerbox-11,500
10. Beau Nixon-10,500

Women’s Rankings
1. Nicole Pacelli-24,500
1. Izzi Gomez-24,500
3. Aline Adisaka-18,750
4. Iballa Moreno-18,500
5. Candice Appleby-18,000
6. Sophia Tiare Bartlow-16,500
7. Caroline Angibaud-14,000
8. Mason Schremmer-10,500
9. Lori Park-9,250
10. Maili Tahar-8,000