In 2010 he finished number two in the world. He’s arguably World Champion Kai Lenny’s fiercest rival. But last weekend was Frenchman Peyo Lizarazu’s time to shine as he grabbed the prestigious Sapinus Pro, presented by Air Tahiti Nui on the Standup World Tour’s third stop in epic conditions.

With three podium finishes in 2010 and an impressive 3rd place at Sunset Beach in 2011, Lizarazu surfed his way intelligently through the rounds and in the FInal, got the best of the challenging conditions with an impressive opening barrel that secured the win, propelling him back up to 2nd place in the overall rankings for 2011. Coming into Brazil, Peyo will be looking to close the gap between himself and Lenny and is still very much in the running for the 2011 World Title, despite Lenny’s dominating start to the year.

Despite not walking away with the win in Tahiti, Lenny had a spectacular event, clearly demonstrating his big wave prowess, especially in the early heats where he pulled into one of the heaviest barrels of the contest and scored the single highest scoring ride (9.6 points). With a 3rd place finish at the Sapinus Pro, Kai is still in an incredibly strong position, with two firsts and a third, keeping him quite literally on top of the world.

With the strongest field of Tahitian athletes yet, the home court advantage played a major role in the powerful and intimidation surf at Sapinus: In particular, Patrice Chanzy stamped his mark on the Stand Up World Tour this year by being the first person to beat Kai in any heat so far in 2011, and by finishing in 2nd place with some of the more impressive barrel rides of the contest. He is definitely someone to look out for as we progress through 2011. Also standing out was Didier Tinhin, who convincingly won his quarter and semi final heats to make it the Final (4th place), with a particularly memorable barrel in the semi finals. Notable performances also came from Tama Audibert (Starboard) and Arsene Harehoe.

2010 Sapinus Pro Champion Dave Muir (Starboard) narrowly missed out on his place in the finals thanks to a barrel by Patrice Chanzy in the dying minutes of the heat despite some impressive rides that included the trademark Dave Muir power turns and technical barrel rides.

Aaron Napoleon again demonstrated that he’s always a force to be reckoned with, especially in waves of consequence, narrowly missing out on a place in the Final and finishing in a well deserved 5th place. Aaron’s ‘all in’ approach to getting barreled was impressive in the powerful and often unpredictable surf, as he threaded his way through some of the longest and heaviest barrels of the contest and won a round trip ticket on Air Tahiti Nui for his effort.

Local favorite Guillaume Bourligueux went down in the early rounds as the lip clamped down popping out his shoulder and twisting his knee, while Brazil’s Fabiano Tissot (Art in Surf) had a similar fate in his quarter final heat, but for him, it was a broken foot. Sapinus is not a wave to be taken lightly and while it provided the perfect conditions for some of the most intense standup paddlesurfing in history, it also took its fair share of casualties.

Next up, the World Tour heads to Ibiraquera in the south of Brazil for event number four on the 2011 Standup World Tour.Courrtesy Tristan Boxford

For more on the Standup World Tour, click here.