The opening day of the new look PWA Gran Canaria Wind&Waves Festival saw sailors registering for the week of competition ahead between 10am and 12pm. From the outset the sailors were greeted with strong winds and waves as brilliant conditions hit the shores of Pozo, by 2:15pm the men’s single elimination was up and running as twelve heats were completed before the end of the day.
Men’s Single Elimination
The opening round of the contest saw the talented Catalonian Eric Sanllehy (Goya / MFC) advance against Spain’s Albert Pijoan (Starboard / Severne). Sanllehy looked dangerous in the air as he threw perfect backloops and tweaked pushloops to knock out Pijoan. Antoine Martin (JP / NeilPryde) managed to edge his way past Brazil’s Levi Lenz (Goya) in what was a close heat.
The second heat of the day belonged to Jonas Ceballos, who put together a comprehensive display to book his place in the second round at the expense of fellow countrymen Pablo Ramirez (Goya / MFC). Meanwhile on the other side of the heat Finland’s Tuomo Naalisvaara (Starboard / Severne) looked in confident mood as he safely navigated his way past Arthur Arutkin (Starboard / Severne).
Heat three saw Leon Jamaer (Fanatic / Hot Sails Maui) taking on Gustav Hagestrom, who was making his debut on the PWA World Tour. Unfortunately the Swede couldn’t make a winning start to his life on tour, as Jamaer proved too much for him. The otherside of the heat saw a German head-to-head battle between Moritz Mauch (Starboard / North) and Michael Kleingarn (Fanatic / Gaastra). By the end of the heat it was Kleingarn who would be marching into the next round, after his better consistency proved vital.
The final heat of the first round consisted of just two sailors, Robert Baldyga (Quatro / MauiSails) and Nicolai Litterscheidt, who is also a newcomer to the PWA. Baldyga safely dispatched of the debutant as he pulled off a slick forward off the lip as well as a precise backloop.
The opening heat of the second round saw the standard of sailing increase dramatically. Klaas Voget (Fanatic / Simmer / MFC) was carving apart the waves at free will as he effortlessly linked together each section of the wave, whilst performing backside wave 360’s and takas to leave Christopher Friis with no chance. Dany Bruch (Starboard / Severne / AL360) was also involved in this heat and he was one of the standout sailors of the day. Bruch looked in formidable form, both in the jumping and wave riding department. He threw the first forward double loop of the competition as well as landing a one handed backloop and a super tweaked pushloop. To cap an already impressive performance he combined his brilliant jumping with shakas, takas and wave 360’s to deliver the best display so far.
Heat ten saw John Skye (RRD / RRD / Mystic / MFC) advance against fellow Brit Jamie Hancock (Tabou / Gaastra). Skye was able to score a couple of sweet wave rides combined with a forward off the lip to guarantee his place in the next round. Hancock reportedly caught his fin on a rock, which cost him dearly. Ricardo Campello (JP / NeilPryde) started off poorly as he crashed his opening forward and backloop. However the Venezuelan soon found his form to end the hopes of Antoine Martin.
Heat eleven saw the closest contest of the day between Robby Swift (JP / NeilPryde / Mystic / Maui Ultra Fins) and Omar Sanchez (Simmer), with just two points separating to the two of them. In the end it was Swift who would be progressing to the next round as his wave riding proved to be slightly better than Sanchez’s. The other stand out sailor of the day was Marcilio Browne (Goya / Goya / MFC). The Brazilian threw a massive double forward to please the crowds on the beach, as well as launching into super tweaked pushloop tabletops. Brawzinho also looked on fire on the wave too, as he landed a goiters and takas demonstrating his thoroughbred wave riding pedigree.
The standout sailor of heat twelve was the former World Champion Victor Fernandez (Fanatic / North). The Spaniard landed the best double forward of the day and from here he just went from strength-to-strength as everything he touched turned to gold. By the end of the heat he had racked up wave 360’s, takas and one-handed backloops to end Ceballos’ elimination. Ben Proffitt (Simmer / Simmer) and Jules Denel (Exocet) continued their battle against each other in the A-side of the heat, and on this occasion it was Denel who came out on top.
Heat thirteen witnessed Ross Williams progress comfortably against Peter Volwater (Fanatic / Avanti), who didn’t have his best heat. That’s not to take anything away from the Brit though as he put together a confident display, with a super smooth taka being the stand out move from him. The Three times World Champion, Kauli Seadi (JP / NeilPryde), made no mistake of beating Jamaer with an assured display.
Local boy Dario Ojeda (Tabou / Gaastra) sailed in heat fourteen, and the Canarian delivered an accomplished display. His backside wave 360’s and big backloops proved too much for Kleingarn to handle, and Ojeda progressed. Meanwhile, Kenneth Danielsen’s (F2 / Simmer) powerful wave riding deservedly saw the Dane advance into the third round at the expense of Martin Ten Hoeve (Goya / Point-7).
Teammates Thomas Traversa (Tabou / Gaastra) and Alex Mussolini (Tabou / Gaastra) both successfully navigated their way through heat fifteen. Traversa tore the waves apart with a number of outstanding turns, which sent the spray flying. Mussolini proved to be the pushloop king and despite Alessio Stillrich’s (Fanatic / North / AL360) best efforts to stage a comeback he couldn’t quite do enough to over hall Mussolini.
The final heat of the day saw the reigning World Champion Philip Köster (Starboard / NeilPryde / Maui Ultra Fins) enter the fray. The wonder kid didn’t look his usual unbeatable self at the start of the heat, but after coming back to the beach to change equipment he started to show what he is capable of. His best moment saw him rotate through a massive backside 360 before linking two takas on an incredible wave ride. After this he started to find his stride and by the end of the heat he had also added one of his trademark double forwards to the score sheet. Britain’s Phil Horrocks (Tabou / Gaastra) sailed a great heat to defeat the dangerous local Eleazar Alonso (JP / NeilPryde).