The 2009 Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam


Photos : PWA/JC

Event Summary
The world champions prove their strength at one of the most incredible events in PWA history. Congratulations to Sarah Quita Offringa – the 2009 Freestyle World Champion.

After a fantastic fortnight in Fuerteventura, the PWA World Tour can reflect on another year of success in the Canary Islands. The incredible Antoine Albeau (JP/NeilPryde) dominated the slalom event, securing his fourth event win, whilst Jose ’Gollito’ Estredo (Fanatic/North Sails/MFC) and Sara Quita Offringa (Starboard/NeilPryde) took top honors in the freestyle event.

SLALOM
The opening five days hosted the slalom event, which culminated in quite possibly the best race that has ever been seen on the PWA Circuit. When the sailors entered the event, the Overall rankings were incredibly close, and it was all to play for.

Antoine Albeau (JP/NeilPryde) flew out of the blocks with a fantastic start. On the opening day, he stormed through the pack to win three out of the four races. The wind never dropped below 30 knots, and the great Frenchman used all his strength to his advantage, charging past his world–class contenders with ease.

His victory was well–deserved, and nothing came easy for the defending champion, who had to fight his way from the back of the fleet after a number of gybe–mark tangles. In one instance, he showed such speed that he made his way from eighth to second in two reaches, overtaking four sailors in a flat out speed battle.

After such consistency by Albeau, the event soon turned into a battle for the podium positions. Finian Maynard (RRD/NeilPryde) took charge, with a string of excellent results, including a victory in the penultimate heat. Maynard is famous for his blistering speed, and he did not disappoint, often leading the race from the start line.

His main contender throughout the event was the incredibly talented Kevin Pritchard (Starboard/Gaastra/Dakine), whose steady nerve and well–honed tactics have proven to be so successful in the past. Pritchard took a win in race six, where he out sailed the entire fleet. The battle between Pritchard and Maynard never went further than a couple of points difference, however a poor result in the final race confirmed a third place position for the American, and allowed Maynard to slip through to second.

Always in the running, the great Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard/North Sails) continued to pressurize the fleet with his relentless ability to make his way into the elite top few. Continuing to rise in the overall rankings, Moussilmani will be focusing on a solid performance in the lighter winds of Turkey to help him into the overall top five.

Micah Buzianis (JP/NeilPryde), Ross Williams (Tabou/Gaastra), Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard/Severne) and Josh Angulo (Angulo/MauiSails/Dakine) all took prestigious race wins here. Each of these sailors showed glimmers of excellence throughout the event. Speed was no problem, as all four often blasted through the pack, but to win an event as grueling as this, nothing but the best will ever be rewarded, and ultimately it was their consistency that let them down.

Drama struck on the third day, after Josh Angulo (Angulo/MauiSails/Dakine) was catapulted on the finish line in his semi final. Angulo had led the fleet from the start boat, and was about to cross the finish when disaster struck. Just inches from the line, Angulo catapulted and crossed without his kit, and was therefore disqualified. Understandably, the Cabo Verde local was livid, and harsh words were exchanged on the beach. However, the decision stood, and he was forced into the loser’s final. This result affected his overall position quite noticeably, as Angulo otherwise looked on form here. The current number one in the waves will have to put all this behind him, as he looks ahead to the remainder of the year.

Williams entered the event in second place overall, but nerves got the better of the talented Brit in the opening races. Two poor performances mounted the pressure on him from the start, which meant that he would not have any more discards throughout the event. In the end, he did well to keep a cool head, and finish the remaining races in the top ten, setting him up with a chance for glory in the season’s remaining events.

Peter Volwater (F2/MauiSails) had another outstanding performance, as too did Patrick Diethelm (F2/North Sails), Arnon Dagan (Tabou/Gaastra) and Ben Van Der Steen (Exocet/Simmer Style). Throughout the week, these racers pushed hard, and were unlucky not to finish higher up the ranks. In every competition, luck can have a profound affect on the results, and these three all suffered from broken equipment, unintended collisions, or unforced catapults.

Greatly improved performances by Sylvain Moussilmani (Starboard/Simmer Style), Benoit Moussilmani (Starboard/Simmer Style), Robby Swift (JP/NeilPryde) and Diony Guadagnino (AHD/Hot Sails Maui/MFC) saw all three young flyers making it through to the finals. All four of these sailors looked solid in both Pozo and in Fuerteventura, and they will be glad to have another events experience under their belt.

The slalom contest came to an end on a dramatic high. In the final race of the event, the wind switched to an intense off shore gale, allowing a new course to be raced. In the new layout, the start line and opening reach was set just meters off the shoreline, so the spectators could see every ounce of action on the water incredibly close to the beach.

This set–up provided an astonishing spectacle, and Albeau’s 15ft victory jump over the boat was a fitting end to the racing. The intimacy of the racecourse, and the style in which the
Champion claimed his victory, will have sealed the race in the minds of all the spectators who were lucky enough to be there.

FREESTYLE
The freestyle fleet was put to the test over an intense competition that was compacted into a two–day extravaganza. The five–day event was cut short after a 45–degree heat wave dominated the Canaries, bringing an end to the wind, and forcing the contestants to accept the result after just one double elimination.

THE SINGLE ELIMINATION
In the single, the highlights in the earlier rounds came in the form of Andre Paskowski (Fanatic/North Sails), Norman Günzlein (JP/NeilPryde), Leo Ray (Naish/Naish/MFC) and Steven Van Broeckhoven (F2/MauiSails) who sailed brilliantly. Paskowski in particular had a very tight battle with Yegor Popretinskiy (JP/NeilPryde/MFC), whose aggressive sailing style has made him stand out in the pre–event warm up sessions. Eventually Paskowski’s consistency and powerful style was enough to let him clinch the win.

Tonky Frans (F2/Gaastra) stole the show in the semi final, with his massive moves getting the crowd to their feet. Frans was the first sailor to land a pushloop, as well as his amazing new move – the forward–flaka. Against Frans, the number two in the World, Kiri Thode (Starboard/Gaastra) at times looked amazing, but he never rose to the heights that we saw in Lanzarote, and Frans waited for the double elimination in third place.

The battle for the top spot saw the 2008 World Champion, Jose ’Gollito’ Estredo (Fanatic/North Sails/MFC) take on Marcillo Browne (Fanatic/North Sails/MFC) in a nail biting final. Both sailors had been fantastic, passing the excellent Kenneth Danielsen (RRD/Simmer Style/MFC) and Ian Mouro Lemos (JP/NeilPryde), amongst others, on the way through.

Gollito opened with an incredible combination of a shaka, and air flaka and his trademark one–handed ponch. Browne followed with a succession of incredibly tricky stunts, but fell on his opening moves. He soon recovered to nail an impressive air chacho, and one handed air funnel. The result was a clear decision, and Estredo took his first win at the Fuerteventura contest.

The women’s single elimination was an intense competition, headed by the wondrous Sarah Quita Offringa. There was a huge sense of pressure throughout the fleet, as all the competitors knew that the results here would determine the overall world rankings. All eyes were on the teenage sensation from Aruba as she set out on her quest to take her second consecutive PWA World Title.

Never one to disappoint, Offringa took the opening round by storm. Busting out all of the latest moves with an effortless style. She landed flakas, konos and beautiful switch spocks to claim the first victory. Her technical superiority in this discipline was evident throughout all her heats, especially when she was pushed to the wire by an on–form Daida Ruano Moreno (North Sails) in the final.

Moreno received a huge cheer for her perfect one–handed ponch, which was her best move of the contest. However, it was not enough to match Offringa’s freestyle trickery, and she had to wait for the double in second place. The Canarian super star and had been sailing well all day, passing the excellent Nayra Alonso (Fanatic/Severne) and her talented twin, Iballa Moreno (North Sails) on her way through to the final.

Yoli Freites De Brendt (Fanatic/North Sails) was on great form, opening each of her heats with full–speed flakas and punetas. De Brendt passed the super–talented Junko Nagoshi (Tabou/Simmer Style/Dakine) after a great heat, and then progressed to beat Iballa Ruano Moreno in the loser’s final.
Laure Treboux (Fanatic/North Sails) took an injury to her hand after a close heat with Iballa Moreno, which left her out of the contest earlier than she would have liked, and unable to compete in the double.

THE DOUBLE ELIMINATION
Split over two days, the double elimination gave the sailors a chance to improve their early positions in slightly lighter winds.

Taty Frans (Starboard/MauiSails), Andraz Zan (RRD/Loft Sails), Leo Ray (Naish/Naish/MRD), Quincy Offringa (Starboard/Severne) and Davy Scheffers (Tabou/Gaastra) were among the standout performers in the early stages of the double, whilst Bjorn Saragoza (Starboard/Hot Sails Maui) and Phillip Soltysiak (Starboard/Dakine) also sailed excellently.

These new talents are the rising stars of the fleet, and the experience that they have gained here will be key to their development as world–class professionals. Scheffers in particular caught many people’s attention: always first on the water, and busting high, fast moves, he will surely be one to watch.

Steven Van Broeckhoven (F2/MauiSails) made the most impressive headway in the double elimination, sailing in six grueling back–to–back heats. Going head to head with Philip Soltysiak (Starboard/Dakine), Andre Paskowski, Taty Frans (Starboard/MauiSails), and Kiri Thode (Starboard/Gaastra), the young European confirmed his place amongst the world’s elite.

However, Van Broeckhoven’s run of success finally came to a halt against Tonky Frans (F2/Gaastra), who made the most of the lighter conditions and turned on his Caribbean style. In faltering winds, Frans was flawless, somehow getting the power and height on his moves to make sure the judges had no room for debate.

Frans was incredible throughout the event, and he will go down in windsurfing’s history as one of the key characters of the current generation. A true showman, Tonky always competes with a smile on his face, and playing up to his adoring crowd.

In the semi final, Frans took on Marcillo Browne (Fanatic/North Sails/MFC), and sailed the heat of a lifetime. Browne was unlucky to be pushed down wind in the early stages of the heat, and in the variable conditions, he looked underpowered in the lighter area of the course. No love was lost between the two, as Frans left him in his wake, and set up to take a shot against the world number one, Estredo.

The final was spectacular, both Frans and Estredo pulled of double and triple combination moves with speed and style as they went head to head. Frans continued to try his personal favorite, the forward–flaka, twice in the final but was unable to make the flaka rotation, therefore only scoring for a forward. In the end this was to be his downfall, as Estredo did enough to clinch the victory.

In the women’s heats, Junko Nagoshi (Tabou/Simmer Style/Dakine) stood out against a solid performance by Anna Maria Zollet. Nagoshi continued to climb through the ranks by linking perfect puneta 540s, and spocks, which saw her past the brilliant Heike Reimann (Hot Sails Maui) and into a battle for fifth place.

Meanwhile, a determined Nayra Alonso (Fanatic/Severne) was sailing brilliantly on the other side of the ladder, with slick grubbys and spock 540s adding to her great heats. Alonso beat Olga Raskina (JP/NeilPryde/MFC), and then took on Nagoshi. In her best heat of the event so far, Alonso sailed excellently, and went on to pass the excellent Japanese competitor, as well as Iballa Ruano Moreno (North Sails), in a great run into the top four.

Alonso’s great efforts were ended when she came to face the outstanding Yoli Freites De Brendt (Fanatic/North Sails), who sailed incredibly to retain her third place position.

Next, it was Daida Ruano Moreno’s (North Sails) turn to impress, as she turned all of her skills against De Brendt, winning the close battle. Moreno looked as though she could pose a serious threat to Offringa landing flakas, punetas and ponches.

Unfortunately for the successful Spaniard, Sarah Quita Offringa (Starboard/NeilPryde) really stepped up a level, and sailed her best heat of the year. She was flawless in her execution of the most recent and technically demanding moves, finishing with a perfect chacho Diablo, and taking the victory in front of a huge and adoring crowd.

With the double elimination under her belt, Offringa was crowned the 2009 PWA Women’s Freestyle World Champion for the second year in succession. This incredible achievement is made even more unbelievable when we look back to see that she has not lost a heat since her debut on the PWA. We offer Sarah our warmest congratulations.

The next event in the PWA Calendar is the Pegasus Airlines slalom in Alaçati, Turkey that kicks off on the 10th August. As always we will have exclusive live coverage, incredible photos, and amazing videos. Make sure you tune in to www.pwaworldtour.com to follow the amazing action.

Results:
MEN:
Jose Estredo
Tonky Frans
Marcillo Browne
Steven Van Broeckhoven

WOMEN:
Sarah Quita Offringa
Daida Ruano Moreno
Yoli Freites De Brendt
Nayra Alonso

Day 10
Offringa and Estredo are the undisputed champions of Fuerteventura.

After a day full of expectations, the two best freestylers in the world have held firm in Fuerteventura. Jose ’Gollito’ Estredo (Fanatic/North Sails/MFC) and Sara–Quita Offringa (Starboard/NeilPryde) punched the sky as they were officially announced as the event’s winners at the packed beach. The wind, once again, refused to blow enough to run a contest.

As well as the event title, the most highly acclaimed award in women’s windsurfing went to Sara–Quita Offringa (Starboard/NeilPryde), who was crowned the 2009 PWA Women’s Freestyle World Champion for the second year in succession. This incredible achievement is made even more unbelievable when we consider the extent to which she has taken the world by storm since her debut last year: the style–mistress from Aruba has not lost a heat in two years.

Yesterday, the kind words by Nayra Alonso (Fanatic/Severne/MFC) neatly summarized her astonishing abilities. Offringa was described as an untouchable, and the sort of talent that only comes around in sport on a very few occasions. To add to this already glowing report, she is also a wonderful person, always humble, always full of praise for her opponents, and always incredibly modest.

We offer her our warmest congratulations on such an outstanding achievement, and hope that she stays fit and determined to return next year.

After two days of waiting in unbearable heat, the competitors came down to the beach this morning unsure of what to expect. There were signs of wind early on, and they all knew that if the competition started before 10.00, a full double elimination was on the cards. As the morning progressed, it became apparent that the trades would not kick in, and at 10.30, the official event was called to a close. An expression session was scheduled for the afternoon if the wind returned.

At 11.30, the wind began to fill in. The first to hit the water were the European super star Steven Van Broeckhoven (F2/MauiSails), Kiri Thode (Starboard/Gaastra), Yegor Popretinskiy (JP/NeilPryde/MFC) and Davy Scheffers (Tabou/Gaastra). These four made the most of the light wind conditions, as they launched into high ponchs, air funnells, and burners. Their attitude was infectious, and their talent obvious, and soon the rest of the competitors followed.

For an hour before lunch, the thermal heat wave gave way to a short period of 25–knot trades, which saw the entire fleet take to the water to try and train for the super session. The scene was incredible – 40 of the world’s best windsurfers gave it their all to impress the enormous crowd that filled the white sand of Sotavento.

Always eager to impress his fans, Tonky Frans (F2/Gaastra) stole the show as he wowed the masses with his radical culos, followed by a charming wave and a beaming smile. Always the showman, Frans was a pleasure to watch, and he thoroughly deserved his second place here this year, and his second equal overall.

Marcillo Browne (Fanatic/North Sails/MFC) also stood out, flying in to every move at full speed, and getting some serious height on his rotations. Ian Mouro Lemos (JP/NeilPryde) looked like he was training hard for the expression session, whilst Bjorn Saragoza (Starboard/Hot Sails Maui) really turned heads with his unique and fearless style.

Unfortunately, the wind failed to hold. At 15.30, the final day at Fuerteventura was officially called to a close, and the competitors crowded round to congratulate the two champions. Surrounded by spectators, Gollito and Offringa posed for photographs and signed autographs, as the ovation from the crowd confirmed their hero’s status.

It has been an incredible fortnight here, and the wonderful Sotavento beach has not disappointed. Thanks must go to the efforts put in by the Rene Egli Team, especially Rene himself, as well as all the crew who worked tirelessly to make the event such a success. A special mention must also go to the Fuerteventura Red Cross Team, who were amazing all week. We have been blessed with incredible displays of both slalom and freestyle, and the aura that surrounds this incredible event will boost as a result.

Congratulations to both Jose ’Gollito’ Estredo (Fanatic/North Sails/MFC) and Sarah–Quita Offringa (Starboard/NeilPryde) after their incredible achievements once again.

As the dust settles at the end of the Canaries Tour, we turn our sights now to the next event in the PWA calendar: The 2009 Pegasus Airlines PWA Slalom in Alaçati, Turkey. As always we will have exclusive live coverage, incredible photos, and amazing videos. Make sure you tune in to www.pwaworldtour.com to follow the amazing actions.

Results:
MEN:
Jose Estredo
Tonky Frans
Marcillo Browne
Steven Van Broeckhoven

WOMEN:
Sarah Quita Offringa
Daida Ruano Moreno
Yoli Freites De Brendt
Nayra Alonso

Day 9
The heat wave continues. The wind fails to blow.

The heat is on. The temperatures in Fuerteventura reached 45 degrees, and the pressure cooker atmosphere really took hold. Some sailors had to return to their air–conditioned hotel rooms, unable to withstand the climate, as the intense heat–wave suffocated the sailors all day. Good news for the event leaders Jose ’Gollito’ Estredo (Fanatic/North Sails/MFC) and Sarah Quita Offringa (Starboard/NeilPryde), who are beginning to look untouchable at the top.

The locals call it a calima. It is a form of high pressure that starts in the Northern Sahara desert, and inflicts a period of intense and oppressing heat over the Canary Islands.

Unfortunately, it also brings an unfamiliar wind direction to the volcanic shores, affecting the usual trades.

With one double elimination complete, the sailors who are in the podium positions are looking happy. After great early performances, Estredo, Tonky Frans (F2/Gaastra) and Marcillo Browne (Fanatic/North Sails/MFC) lead the men, while Offringa, Daida Ruano Moreno (North Sails) and Yoli Freites De Brendt (Fanatic/North Sails) currently lead the women.

As it stands, a complete double elimination puts pressure on the competition tomorrow. The way the rules work, only a second complete double elimination will score – and this will require at least eight and a half hours on the water, with no room for error. Unless the wind blows from 0900 tomorrow, the chances of finishing with a different result are slim to none.

Could this be the end of the road for the challengers here at Fuerteventura? Only time will tell.

One of the few competitors to brave the scorching conditions at the beach was the Canarian sensation Nayra Alonso (Fanatic/Severne), who was kind enough to talk to us this afternoon.

PWA: How are you feeling after the Canaries Tour?
NA:
"I’m super, super happy that is coming to an end (smiling). This is the most difficult contest of the year. I kind of feel a bit sweet and sour about the last few weeks – the freestyle here has gone so much better than I expected, but I was really upset to lose out of a podium place in the waves in Pozo. This year I really focused on wave sailing, so to do so well in the freestyle is a real bonus"

PWA: Do you feel more pressure competing in front of a home crowd?
NA:
"No, not really. There is always a lot of pressure in all events, but I don’t think its any worse when I compete in the Canaries. It helps that I have been coming to these places for over six years now!"

PWA: We have seen a dramatic improvement in the women’s fleet this year – is this because you are being pushed so hard by Offringa in freestyle and the Moreno’s in waves?
NA:
"Having someone so good to look at definitely helps, but I would say that it is more a natural drive to improve that has helped the most. I have always wanted to make sure that I do the best, and it doesn’t really matter who is standing out. I think you always have to want to be the best that you can be, and this is the real reason we have all improved"

PWA: Do you think any one will be able to match Offringa in the near future? What do you think makes her so special?
NA:
"No. No way. She is amazingly talented, and is so far ahead of anyone else in freestyle I don’t think anyone will beat her for a long time. Every now and then, someone special comes along. Ricardo (Campello) did it about five years ago, and now it is Sarah’s turn. I think she is really special and am super happy for her."

PWA: Do you have any exciting plans for the coming winter? Waves/Freestyle/Travel?
NA:
"I can’t wait to get back to Maui in October for six weeks. It will give me a chance to relax and go wave sailing in starboard tack. I would really like to go back to Western Australia also. I had such a good time there last winter with Laure Treboux, Ben Severne, Scotty McKercher, and I hope my boyfriend Skyeboy will be able to come this time too!"

We thank Nayra for her time, and wish her all the best for the remaining event of the season. For now, we wait nervously to see what tomorrow will bring. It is make or break for the freestyle elite, so make sure you tune in for an early start.

Please join us again tomorrow for live event coverage, amazing photos and inspiring video footage, exclusively from www.pwaworldtour.com.

Results:
MEN:
Jose Estredo
Tonky Frans
Marcillo Browne
Steven Van Broeckhoven

WOMEN:
Sarah Quita Offringa
Daida Ruano Moreno
Yoli Freites De Brendt
Nayra Alonso

Day 8
The calm before the storm? A day of no wind gives the World Champions some breathing space.

The current World Champions Jose ’Gollito’ Estredo (Fanatic/North Sails/MFC) and Sarah–Quita Offringa (Starboard/NeilPryde) were given a day of rest today, after a calm afternoon in the Canaries.

A harsh heat overwhelmed the event site today, as the blustery trades refused to blow. Sotavento beach was transformed into the stereotypical holiday destination – families playing on the beach, and thousands of tourists lazing in the sun. The perfectly clear turquoise waters looked inviting, as they lapped along the white sandy beach.

The competitors passed the time playing football, swimming and relaxing, always keeping one eye on the wind line that refused to strengthen. After a great double elimination yesterday, the current results leave the defending champions as two clear leaders.

Back in the competitor’s tent, the 2007 Freestyle World Champion, Marcillo Browne (Fanatic/North Sails/MFC), took some time out to talk to us about his performance so far, and his hopes for the rest of the year:

PWA: How do you feel things have gone for you in Freestyle this year?
"Not so good unfortunately, I think I have had one of my worst years on tour [PWA: Note he is currently in fourth overall!]. I have been a bit disappointed with my results: in the single elimination I have been sailing brilliantly, either winning or coming second, but in the double I don’t know if I’m nervous or just get unlucky some times."

"I have trained really hard this year, and I know I can do all the moves, but for sure the competition has improved, so maybe that adds pressure."

PWA: The new judging criteria are very strict – do you stick to a routine, and how do you cope if you fall on your early tricks?
"Yeah, I try to stick to a routine, but to get through the final heats, I always try to get two big moves at the beginning. This can sometimes work two ways – if they go well, you will usually win, but if you fall it means you can only make one more mistake."
"There are also times when you can’t stick to a routine if there is a wave where you want to do a trick. I had that against Tonky, and I ended up being forced into the lighter down wind area, which cost me the heat."

PWA: There are rumors of a new video coming out soon that stars yourself and your team riders, can you tell us any more about that?
I’ve been working with [Andre] Paskowski, and he is doing an incredible job making his new film Four Dimensions. It uses loads of new camera angles and editing techniques, and everyone so far has been super supportive. I can’t say too much about it, but there will be more news after this event. I can tell you that we (Browne, Estredo, Fernandez and Paskowski) have filmed in Cape Verde, Maui, Egypt, Pozo, Fuerte and we are going to Brazil next week, so watch this space…"

PWA: You had a very good result in Cabo Verde earlier in the year – does this mean that you may shift your focus more towards waves in the future?
"I have always said that waves are my favorite discipline. Cabo Verde is one of the best places I have ever sailed, and I was super happy to do well there. I think it is very hard to do well in two disciplines, so at the moment I have to concentrate on both, whilst the best guys just focus on one. I hope in the future to really push my wave sailing, but for now I will continue to focus on doing my best in each one"

PWA: Your brother is beginning to do well in slalom – is there any chance that you will take that up as well?
"No Way! (Laughs) I had a couple of sails on his gear, and after one run my shins were hurting so bad, I had to sail back to the beach!"

Thanks to Brawzinho for that, we wish him all the best in the remainder of the contest, and hope that he will get the chance to fight for the top spot if the wind returns.

A final note must be added to address a mistake in yesterday’s press release: An injustice was served to Nayra Alonso (Fanatic/Severne), who had an outstanding performance yesterday, finishing in fourth place. Unfortunately, the published results were inaccurate at the time of going to press, and she was not credited with this great achievement. We apologize to Nayra, and wish her every success in the remainder of the competition.

For now, we have to play the waiting game. The forecasts are giving mixed opinions, so we will just have to keep our fingers crossed for wind tomorrow. The sailors are itching to get back on the water, and the crowds are excited to see more action.

Please join us again tomorrow for live event coverage, amazing photos and inspiring video footage, exclusively from www.pwaworldtour.com.

Results:
MEN:
Jose Estredo
Tonky Frans
Marcillo Browne
Steven Van Broeckhoven

WOMEN:
Sarah–Quita Offringa
Daida Ruano Moreno
Yoli Freites De Brendt
Nayra Alonso

Day 7
Double Trouble – Light winds play havoc with the double elimination, but Estredo and Offringa continue to dominate.

A relaxing day on the beach for most, as the double elimination continued throughout the morning until light winds forced a delay in the proceedings. The late afternoon saw the return of the wind, and with it, the return of the super stars. Great performances by the World Champions finished the day off, as Jose ’Gollito’ Estredo (Fanatic/North Sails) and Sara Quita Offringa (Starboard/NeilPryde) confirmed their victories with two outstanding performances.

At first glance, the morning looked much like the familiar scene that we have become accustomed to this week. 35 knots, and perfectly flat water pushed up to the end of the full grand stand, and competition was soon underway.

The epic action kicked off with the women’s fleet, where Junko Nagoshi (Tabou/Simmer Style/Dakine) immediately stood out against a solid performance by Anna Maria Zollet. Nagoshi continued to impress by linking perfect puneta 540s, and spocks which saw her past the brilliant Heike Reimann (Hot Sails Maui) and into a battle for fifth place.

On the other side of the ladder, a determined Nayra Alonso (Fanatic/Severne) was sailing brilliantly, with slick grubbys and spock 540s adding to her great heats. Alonso beat Olga Raskina (JP/NeilPryde/MFC) in a tight heat, and then stood to face Nagoshi. In her best heat of the event so far, Alonso sailed excellently, and went on to pass Nagoshi and Iballa Ruano Moreno (North Sails) in a great run into the top four.

However, Alonso’s great efforts were ended when she came to face the outstanding Yoli Freites De Brendt (Fanatic/North Sails), who sailed incredibly to retain her third place position, before the wind shut off for the afternoon.

When the see breeze returned, it was Daida Ruano Moreno’s (North Sails) turn to impress, as she turned all of her skills against De Brendt, winning the tight heat. Moreno was firing today, landing flakas, punetas and ponches, and looking like a serious threat for Offringa.

Unfortunately for the successful Spaniard, Sarah Quita Offringa (Starboard/NeilPryde) really stepped up a level, and sailed her best heat of the year. She was flawless in her execution of the most recent and technically demanding moves, finishing with a perfect chacho Diablo, and taking the victory in front of a huge and adoring crowd.

The men’s fleet took to the water, with eight epic heats that really demonstrated the top end skill of the freestyle discipline.

Key sailors in this round came in the form of Norman Günzlein (JP/NeilPryde), Andre Paskowski (Fanatic/North Sails), Davy Scheffers (Tabou/Gaastra) and Quincy Offringa (Starboard/Severne), who busted out high moves in the crystal clear shallows. Günzlein and Paskowski were amazing with the speed at which they entered their moves, which made the tricks they performed look that much more radical. It also made their wipeouts that much more spectacular, as we saw with Günzlein today. At one point, he exploded in a shaka and was left swimming out to sea to collect his gear after a massive crash, forcing him out of the contest area, and ultimately costing him the heat.

Steven Van Broeckhoven (F2/MauiSails) looked to be the most likely contender to make it all the way through this punishing round. Going head to head with Philip Soltysiak (Starboard/Dakine), Andre Paskowski (Fanatic/North), Taty Frans (Starboard/MauiSails), and Kiri Thode (Starboard/Gaastra) in four unbelievable heats, Van Broeckhoven never looked like he was going to be beaten. The young European Freestyle sensation has caught our eye since Lanzarote, and he was brilliant today, dominating all four heats.

However, Van Broeckhoven’s run of success finally came to a halt against Tonky Frans (F2/Gaastra), who made the most of the lighter conditions and turned on his Caribbean style. In faltering winds, Frans was flawless, somehow getting the power and height on his moves to make sure the judges had no room for debate.

Frans was outstanding today – he sailed with passion, and always with a big smile on his face. His cool exterior can sometimes disguise the fact that he is unquestionably one of the best freestyle sailors in the World. After a great day on the water, he takes the coveted PWA Sailor of the Day award.

In the semi final, the sensation from Bonaire left Marcillo Browne (Fanatic/North Sails) in his wake, and left him with a shot against the world number one, Estredo.

The final was spectacular, both Frans and Estredo pulled of double and triple combination moves with speed and style as they went head to head. Frans continued to try his personal favorite, the forward–flaka, twice in the final but was unable to make the flaka rotation, therefore only scoring for a forward. In the end this was to be his downfall, as Estredo did enough to clinch the victory.

It was a close call for Gollito, but the results still stand. He and Offringa continue to dominate as we look ahead to the final three days of competition.

All in all, today’s action was inspiring. Having only the best sailors in the world compete just inches from the crowd was a true spectacle. It is rare that the action is this concentrated, and it was a great example of how incredible the sport can look. We hope that the wind will return tomorrow, so that we can continue the epic battle for 2009 PWA Fuerteventura Freestyle Grand Slam.

Join us again tomorrow for live event coverage, amazing photos and inspiring video footage, exclusively from www.pwaworldtour.com.

Results:
MEN:
Jose Estredo
Tonky Frans
Marcillo Browne
Steven Van Broeckhoven

WOMEN:
Sarah Quita Offringa
Daida Ruano Moreno
Yoli Freites De Brendt
Iballa Ruano Moreno

Day 6
Estredo and Offringa take the honors as the first day of freestyle action is underway.

Jose ’Gollito’ Estredo (Fanatic/North Sails/MFC) and Sarah Quita Offringa (Starboard/NeilPryde) start their campaign with a perfect run, as they take the lead in the first single elimination. After two outstanding performances, the reigning World Champions start as they mean to go on.

The 30–knot offshore winds funneled over the dunes at Sotavento beach, creating the ultimate freestyle conditions for the pros. The flat water was broken up by the occasional wave, as an incredible display of power–freestyle stole the show. The grand stand was full throughout the contest, as the crowd withstood the sand and wind to catch a glimpse of the world’s best freestylers in action.

The men’s fleet, culminated in an outstanding final between Jose ’Gollito’ Estredo (Fanatic/North Sails/MFC) and Marcillo Browne (Fanatic/North Sails), who went head to head in the first single elimination. Both sailors had been fantastic, passing the excellent Kenneth Danielsen (RRD/Simmer Style/MFC) and Ian Mouro Lemos (JP/NeilPryde), amongst others, on the way to the ultimate heat.

The final was a clear demonstration of intentions: Estredo showing he was the man to beat, and Browne making it clear that he was going to give everything. Having enjoyed success for so long, Gollito sailed with confidence, which somehow made his sailing seem leagues ahead of his competitors. He nailed an incredible combination of a shaka, and air flaka and his trademark one–handed ponch, whilst Browne tried to push too hard, and fell on his opening moves. He soon recovered to nail an impressive air chacho, and one handed air funnel. In the end, Estredo proved too much, and took his first win at this Fuerteventura contest.

Tonky Frans (F2/Gaastra) stole the show in the semi final, with his massive moves getting the crowd to their feet. Frans was the first sailor to land a pushloop off the tiny waves, as well as his amazing new move – the forward–flaka. Against Frans, the number two in the World, Kiri Thode (Starboard/Gaastra) at times looked amazing, but he never rose to the heights that we saw in Lanzarote. His heat was crowned with a super smooth switch–spock 900. After a great performance by both sailors, Frans took the edge, and finished the single elimination in third place.

The highlights through the earlier stages came in the form of Andre Paskowski (Fanatic/North Sails), Norman Günzlein (JP/NeilPryde), Leo Ray (Naish/Naish) and Steven Van Broeckhoven (F2/MauiSails) who were all excellent in the single. Paskowski in particular had a very tight battle with Yegor Popretinskiy (JP/NeilPryde/MFC), whose aggressive sailing style has made him stand out in the pre–event warm up sessions.Eventually Paskowski’s consistency and powerful style was enough to let him clinch the win.

Quincy Offringa (Starboard/Severne) also looked very strong, smashing out powerful ponches just inches from the beach, whilst the new face Jakub Kosmowski (RRD/Simmer Style/Dakine) had a brilliant run until he came to face Estredo. The young Polish talent was very impressive today, passing Levi Lenz (Dakine) early on, and sailing brilliantly against the World Champion, unlucky not to have the variation to beat Estredo.

The early rounds of the double elimination were also completed, where a great performance by Björn Saragoza (Starboard/Hot Sails Maui) boosted him through the rounds until he came against Offringa. Phillip Soltysiak (Starboard/Dakine) Sailed well this morning, but was unlucky to come against Thode in an early heat of the single elimination. He put in a good performance in the double, and will be looking to climb even further up the rankings tomorrow.

Taty Frans (Starboard/MauiSails), Andraz Zan (RRD/Loft Sails) and Davy Scheffers (Tabou/Gaastra) were the standout performers in the double elimination so far, and after a poor start to the day, they will be thrilled to have sailed excellently and into the top eight. The young Scheffers was particularly impressive, and has such has been given with the coveted PWA Sailor of the day award.

The women’s single elimination was a fantastic exhibition of skill. The final was between the two heavyweights of the discipline, and once again, the victory went to the incredible Sara Quita Offringa (Starboard/NeilPryde) who was simply exceptional. Offringa nailed a perfect air funnel and a switch spock 540 in her final heat, this on top of her already incredible repertoire.

Second place went to Daida Ruano Moreno (North Sails) who received a huge cheer for her perfect one–handed ponch. Moreno sailed with her usual powerful style that helped her to pass the excellent Nayra Alonso (Fanatic/Severne) and her talented twin, Iballa Moreno (North Sails), on her road to the final.

Yoli Freites De Brendt (Fanatic/North Sails) was on great form, opening each of her heats with full–speed flakas and punetas. De Brendt passed the super–talented Junko Nagoshi (Tabou/Simmer Style/Dakine) after a great heat, and then progressed to beat Iballa Ruano Moreno in the loser’s final. Yoli will have to maintain today’s outstanding performance level if she is to withstand challenges from her competition tomorrow, but she can leave the beach on a high after a great day on the water.

Laure Treboux (Fanatic/North Sails) will look forward to another chance to improve her standings, after a close heat with Iballa Moreno left her out of the contest earlier than she would have liked. Treboux is incredibly talented, and will be amongst the favorites to climb the double ladder in tomorrow’s competition.

Heike Reimann (Hot Sails Maui) competed with passion this morning, landing clean spocks and spock 540s, as well as combining some old school moves to her heats to add variation. This gave her the edge over Olga Raskina (JP/NeilPryde/MFC) who nailed a planing grubby in their opening battle.

The conditions here at Fuerteventura continue to provide an epic show ground for the world’s best, allowing them to compete boldly in front of their adoring spectators. With yet more wind forecast tomorrow, we are sure to have another spectacle on our hands, as the reigning title holders’ fight to retain their glory.

Join us again tomorrow for live event coverage, amazing photos and inspiring video footage, exclusively from www.pwaworldtour.com.

Day 5
Congratulations to Antoine Albeau, Finian Maynard and Kevin Pritchard, who reap the glory from the 2009 Fuerteventura Grand Slam.

Antoine Albeau (JP/NeilPryde) has done it again, winning the 2009 Fuerteventura Slalom Event by a convincing margin. He now moves even clearer ahead of his competition in his quest for the PWA Overall Title. Finian Maynard (RRD/NeilPryde) and Kevin Pritchard (Starboard/Gaastra/Dakine) complete the podium after fantastic performances.

A calm morning gave way to a gusty afternoon here on Sotavento beach today, as the PWA race crew tried to complete another round of slalom. After an epic display throughout the week, tensions were running high as sailors battled for their final rankings. Unfortunately, there was not enough wind to complete a round today, leaving yesterday’s results standing firm.

Winning the event after yet another world–class performance, the incredible Antoine Albeau (JP/NeilPryde) has proved to the world that he is the number one. After his fourth event win of the year, it is almost certain that this incredible athlete will win the 2009 PWA Overall World Title. Results such as these suggest that the Frenchman may have had it easy; but nothing could be further from the truth. Albeau has fought hard and dug deep for his victory here, and nothing can be taken away from his outstanding achievement. Congratulations Antoine.

Finian Maynard (RRD/NeilPryde) will be thrilled with his second place ranking, after a long, hard fight with Kevin Pritchard (Starboard/Gaastra/Dakine). Maynard’s speed has never been in question – he is one of the sailors who never fails to impress, as he blasts off the start line into clear water, somehow controlling his equipment in the extreme conditions. However, his consistency has sometimes been overlooked, and has let him down in the past. It is clear that he has put this problem behind him, after a fantastic event boosts him to second overall in the World Rankings.

The second podium in as many weeks for Kevin Pritchard (Starboard/Gaastra/Dakine) was all in a day’s work for the ex–World Champ, who never fails to impress with his unflinching consistency. Throughout the week, Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard/North Sails), Ross Williams (Tabou/Gaastra) and Micah Buzianis (JP/NeilPryde) put Pritchard to the test, yet his mental strength and well–honed skills were enough to secure him the valuable third place position.

Praise must go to the main challengers Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard/North Sails), Micah Buzianis (JP/NeilPryde) and Ross Williams (Tabou/Gaastra), who fought until the end in pursuit of the top three. Each of these contestants only missed the elite Winner’s final once, and they were always in amongst the faces at the front of the fleet.

The exciting power–sailors in the fleet Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard/Severne), Peter Volwater (F2/MauiSails), Josh Angulo (Angulo/MauiSails/Dakine) and Patrick Diethelm (F2/North Sails) amazed the crowd throughout the week with their overtaking ability and their gybe–mark aggression. These sailors were a pleasure to watch, especially in the super–high–wind conditions, when they would blast through the ranks and dominate their races.

Arnon Dagan (Tabou/Gaastra), Ben Van Der Steen (Exocet/Simmer Style), Sylvain Moussilmani (Starboard/Simmer Style) and Benoit Moussilmani (Starboard/Simmer Style) were never far behind the action, and all four enjoyed moments of brilliance here. After two weeks of intense slalom, Dagan has worn a hole in his foot down to the bone, his physical scars showing the pressure that has been felt by everyone.

Great individual performances by Robby Swift (JP/NeilPryde), Diony Guadagnino (AHD/Hot Sails Maui/MFC), Jesper Orth (Starboard/Severne) Matt Pearch (Fanatic/North Sails) and Alberto Menegatti (Starboard/Simmer Style) will give them a boost ahead of Turkey, while Jimmy Diaz (Starboard/North Sails) will look to improve to maintain his solid overall ranking.

After a week of breathtaking action, we now look ahead to the opening round of freestyle that will start at 10.30 tomorrow. The promise of five more days of incredible windsurfing will please the crowds here, as we prepare for the penultimate event in the men’s freestyle tour, and the final event for the women.

Join us again tomorrow for live event coverage, amazing photos and inspiring video footage, exclusively from www.pwaworldtour.com

Day 4
Albeau’s great victory is worth the wait.

Antoine Albeau (JP/NeilPryde) will leave the event site with his head held high, after claiming victory in one of the most daring and stunning displays of slalom in windsurfing’s history.

A morning of shifting winds and abandoned races gave today’s event an electrifying suspense. Early on, the wind speed ranged from 5 – 35 knots, whilst the fleet tried to complete the primary heats. After lunch, however, the conditions switched to create a perfect 40–knot offshore machine, and the racecourse was redesigned to create an epic battle ground.

There was only one round of racing today, yet the quality of the afternoon’s action will be remembered for years to come. The offshore wind meant that the course could be designed so the sailors would hurtle towards the huge crowds for the crucial and competitive first gybe mark. From the beach, it was possible to make out every detail of the determination, and fear, that showed on the sailors’ faces; not to mention the frightening speed at which they competed in the high–wind extravaganza.

Antoine Albeau (JP/NeilPryde) battled like a champion throughout the day. He had his work cut out for him, after being caught in the dead wind of the pack in the semi final. Despite rounding the opening mark in eighth place, he showed unbelievable speed and skill to overtake four sailors on one reach, and finished the heat in second place.
Then came the final. He was fifth over the start line, but made it up to third at the first mark, passing Kevin Pritchard (Starboard/Gaastra/Dakine) who suffered an enormous early crash. Over the next two reaches, he blasted past Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard/Severne) and had a grueling battle with Josh Angulo (Angulo/MauiSails/Dakine) before passing the final mark in first place. The great Frenchman celebrated his win with an enormous jump over the finish boat, which received a huge cheer from his adoring spectators.

Josh Angulo (Angulo/MauiSails/Dakine) had yet another spectacular day, finishing the final in a solid second position. Angulo led all of his heats from the earliest rounds, his perfect start line timing giving him a crucial advantage over his competitors.

Continuing his recent success, Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard/North Sails) performed brilliantly in his heats, and qualified for the elite Winner’s final comfortably. His success was crowned when he over took Dunkerbeck in an immense sprint to the finish line in the final, to take third place. This is an even greater achievement as Dunkerbeck was firing today, at times looking like the fastest man on the water.

Ross Williams (Tabou/Gaastra), Patrick Diethelm (F2/North Sails), Micah Buzianis (JP/NeilPryde), and Ben Van Der Steen (Exocet/Simmer Style) maintained their current success, each of them battling hard in the ultimate heat of the day. Diethelm often won the crowd’s support thanks to his blistering straight–line speed, which often allowed him to pass the majority of the fleet on the opening reach, and hit the first mark in clear water, in a commanding position.

Matt Pearch (Fanatic/North Sails), Robby Swift (JP/NeilPryde) and Andrea Rosati (RRD/NeilPryde) all enjoyed the contest today, and Pearch will be especially thrilled after winning the second semi final by a solid margin. The British sailor seems at home when the winds are at their strongest, and he will hope for similar conditions tomorrow.

Disaster struck for the excellent Peter Volwater (F2/MauiSails), Finian Maynard (RRD/NeilPryde) and Benoit Moussilmani (Starboard/Simmer Style) this afternoon, when huge catapults cost them dearly. During the first semi final, both Volwater and Maynard were leagues ahead of their opposition, yet both wiped out, leaving them stuck in the loser’s final. Moussilmani’s crash cost him the first place spot in the losers final, and he was forced to return to the beach with a DNF. The huge crashes really added to the intense excitement that was felt on the beach today, maximizing the day’s drama.

After such a thrilling day, it looks as though the World Champion may well have done enough to secure another event title. It is the top five who will need to focus tomorrow to maximize their points from this epic contest. Maynard, Pritchard, Moussilmani and Buzianis are all separated by just one point, and so any additional races will be crucial.

As the slalom event reaches its climax, make sure you continue to follow the action exclusively live from www.pwaworldtour.com. As always, amazing photos, great videos and live event coverage will keep you in the mix.





















































Posted:27-Jul-09, Read 5113 times,
 

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