Team UAE did well on the world’s largest FlowBarrel 10 at Yas Waterworld, where the Oakley Go Pro World Flowboarding Championships was contested on Saturday.
Led by the region’s former world champion Clayton Barker, UAE were among six countries represented at the event – hosted here for the first time – which was won by the USA and their current world champion Eric Silverman, with Team South Africa in second.
Barker – originally from South Africa but based in Abu Dhabi as head coach of the fledgling Yas Flow League (YFL) – was able to use home ground advantage to dominate the Strapless Stand-up division, but suffered in the Strapped division, he thinks, due to the introduction this year of a new judging criteria which left less margin for error.
He said: “The Strapless event is my forte, so I was kind of aiming for that but generally speaking, out of every single contest I’ve ridden in the last eight years, this was honestly the hardest.
“The new judging criteria makes it really hard to make a mistake – you literally have to be consistently good on every single run that you have. But it’s good, it progresses the sport and tightens everything up. Because of it, it’s a lot easier to know exactly where you are and what you did wrong, and how to improve in the next contest or heat.
“In the final (Strapless) I had Greg Lazarus and Silverman, as well as SA’s Wesley Fischer, and they are possibly the three other best riders in the world. So, with them being in my heat obviously also added to the pressure, on top of the stricter judging criteria. It was super stressful, I got off the wave shaking. But in the end it went well.”
Meanwhile Silverman, who has actually won every major event in the history of the sport for the past six years, walked away with the Strapped Pro division title for the Americans, ahead of event MVP and Team UAE’s Max Sokolov in second and Lazarus third, while Barker had to settle for seventh.
Competing in his first-ever international competition after qualifying for Team UAE through the YFL with just eight months flowboarding experience, Emirati rider Humaid Obaid tried his hand at the Bodyboard Drop Knee and Prone divisions – won by American Chris Childers and SA’s Billy Tennant respectively.
But the 23-year-old could only manage seventh in each while compatriot and local champion Mohammed Ibrahim Darwish – who had hoped to at least be on the podium – placed fifth and fourth respectively.
Team USA were further helped in the female divisions where Amy Stevens clinched the Pro Strapped title and took second place in the Strapless, which went to Singapore’s Ili Lim.
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