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News Every Day |

Y. Valencia & J. Dias Win in Thumping Cabo

Y. Valencia and J. Dias win in Cabo

Yahir Valencia and Julia Dias Take First at El Rey de Lovers

For the first time since 2015, the United Skim Tour returned to Cabo San Lucas for El Rey de Lovers on April 26th through 28th. The contest included 45 professionals including 36 professional men and 9 professional women, making this the biggest ever El Rey de Lovers. Participating riders included those from Brazil, Japan, Mainland Mexico, Florida, Delaware, New Jersey, and California. Yahir Valencia won the professional men’s division and Julia Dias took the win for the professional women. 

To put it simply, the waves were good to epic with 4-to-8 foot waves on day one and day two and three-to-six foot waves on day three. From the first day, highlight moments include Timmy Gamboa’s excellent ride in round one where he slid out to an overhead wrap that jacked up with the backwash as soon as he came down the face, leading to a brief in-n-out barrel before riding back to the sand. Yahir Valencia caught two of the biggest waves of the contest in his round one heat, one massive airdrop and another long driving barrel. Kaori Uno from Japan got first in her round one heat with 15 points, the highest heat total from the first round. Julia Dias and Chabe White also took first in their first round heats, no surprise given their obvious comfort in heavy water. 

Brandon Sears in the Spot | Photo by Surf Cabo Photography Magazine

On day two, the contest was kept at Lover’s beach and the event immediately ran the pro men round two to kick off, then the pro women round two and then went back to the pro men for round three. Many of the top men finishers from 2023 stayed on top of the ball, as Yahir Valencia, Dane Cameron, Chad Wadsworth, and Gerardo Valencia all won their round two heats. On the women’s side, round two had Chabe White taking a clear win in her heat and Kaori Uno took an upset win against Julia Dias. This second place finish by Julia Dias set up an intense semifinal round where Chabe White faced off with Julia Dias. These two riders are among the best women in heavy waves, making for a tight battle. In the end of this heat, Julia Dias came out on top with 15.3 points compared to 14 for Chabe White, leading Dias to the final. The other women’s semi final was even closer, with Kaori Uno earning 9.8 points and edging out Ashley Poshard with 9.3 setting up a final between Kaori Uno and Julia Dias.

After the pro men round three and pro women semifinals, the contest organizers and the remaining pro riders discussed the options for finals day. The pro men were offered the option to finish the quarters, semis, and finals at Solmar, where the side wash had been working for the past 5 days. The same offer was extended to the pro women final. The pro men opted to throw caution to the wind and hope the sider would be working on Sunday morning for the final heats. The pro women opted to finish on Saturday at Lovers with guaranteed solid waves. 

Kaori Uno Handling the Cabo Power | Photo by Surf Cabo Photography Magazine

The pro women final was a tense back and forth, but halfway through the heat it was obvious that Julia Dias was picking off the biggest waves, hitting their critical sections and maintaining control. In the final minute of the heat, Julia Dias snagged the only wrap barrel of the heat, and the Brazilian fans in attendance erupted with applause. It was clear that she would be crowned the new queen of Lovers. 

“Winning this is a big step for me. It’s my first win in the UST and probably the first win ever of a female Brazilian,” Julia Dias said shortly after receiving her trophy. “I’m really happy to bring this home and bring this to Brazil. I’m going to try to do the whole [UST] season this year and I’m hoping for the world title for Brazil, the first ever for a female.”

On Sunday before the pro men rounds were to start, contest organizers made the trek to the Solmar sider at 5:45 am with the sunrise to check conditions. After about 20 minutes, contest organizers concluded that the swell had dropped off considerably and the sider at Solmar was not consistent enough for competition. The call was made to keep finals day at Lovers beach, and the team started transporting riders and contest equipment over on the local water taxis. 

Elian Juarez Screaming Down the Line | Photo by Surf Cabo Photography Magazine

Upon arrival at Lovers, the riders and organizers found three to six foot wraps with clean conditions. After the previous few days, it felt more playful to have waves of this size. As the quarterfinals ran, it became obvious quickly that the goofy footers had a clear advantage with the conditions, as the sider secondary bowl was creating some excellent goofy foot wraps. Yahir Valencia and Dane Cameron took advantage and easily progressed through their quarter finals heats. Gerardo Valencia and Chad Wadsworth, not to be outshined, rode very aggressively in their quarterfinal heats, finding big barrels despite the difficult regular foot conditions. The semifinals, however, were ultimately won by the goofy footers, with both Yahir Valencia and Dane Cameron progressing to the final. 

Yahir Valencia kicked off his final strong with a driving wrap barrel. He backed that up quickly with a 360 out to a wrap barrel. While Dane Cameron answered back, he ultimately was a little out of rhythm and ended up on many of the smaller waves throughout the heat. At the after party, Yahir Valencia was crowned the king of Lovers, his second year in a row winning this event. 

Results

Pro Men

  1. Yahir Valencia – Barra de Navidad, Mexico
  2. Dane Cameron – Laguna Beach, California
  3. Gerardo Valencia – Barra de Navidad, Mexico
  4. Chad Wadsworth – Newport Beach, California


See Full Pro Men 2024 Standings

Pro Women

  1. Julia Dias – Ubatuba, Brazil
  2. Kaori Uno – Japan
  3. Chabe White – Mazunte, Mexico
  4. Ashley Poshard – Los Gatos, California


See Full Pro Women 2024 Standings

Words by David Haefele
Photos by Surf Cabo Photography Magazine (Website | IG), Salty Tides Photography (IG) and David Haefele (IG)

United Skim Tour Sponsors

This article and all UST media is made possible from our valued 2024 UST Sponsors, including those listed below. See a full list of sponsors here.

The post Y. Valencia & J. Dias Win in Thumping Cabo appeared first on United Skim Tour.

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