AWT 2013: Pistol River Wave Bash - Event Report

Day 4: Camille Juban wins Single Elimination of the AWT Pistol River Wave Bash presented by Starboard

The forecast delivered for Day 4 of the 2013 AWT Pistol River Wave Bash presented by Starboard with 20-25 knots of wind. The waves were small but there was enough to get through a full single elimination bracket for all the divisions. It was a long day at the beach but it was exciting to see what all the riders could deliver in such challenging conditions.

The first round of the Pro heats was tough, with no jumps counting and the best waves breaking practically on the beach. Riders picking the best waves would get one or two hits before finishing with a finally slash or two right up onto the sand. The Gorge area riders like Sean Aiken, Nathan Mershon and Casey Hauser took advantage of their Oregon coast knowledge to advance to the semi finals along with Camille Juban, Kevin Pritchard, Levi Siver, Morgan Noireaux and Bernd Roediger.

A jump was added to the semi-final heats (along with 2 extra minutes) as the conditions improved with the day. The first semi-final saw Siver sailing extremely well tweaking out all his aerials against Camille Juban, Roediger and Aiken. Juban also turned up his game advancing to the final along with Levi Siver. The second semi-final saw Pritchard charging. He absolutely ripped up the small waves along with Morgan Noireaux, both advancing to the final.

The final was extended to 20-minutes with each rider's best two wave rides and one jump counting for their score. Noireaux opened up the scoring landing a huge back loop right on the start. Later in the heat, he improved his jumping score with an even bigger one-handed back loop but the waves just didn't seem to line up in his favor. Despite landing several takas in the heat, Noireaux finished in 4th place. Levi Siver scored a few better waves, landing some nice tweaked aerials but his scores were only enough to give him 3rd place in the end.

Kevin Pritchard was on fire making it insanely tough on the judges as he was scoring in every way possible. His started the heat with a huge stalled forward loop and then bettered it with a massive one-footed back loop. He found some nice set waves and scored well with his smooth powerful style. On one wave, he landed a wave 360 and a backside 360 on another.

But in the end, his scores were not enough to take down Camille Juban, whose first jump was a nicely tweaked pushloop. Then, minutes later Juban threw down an even bigger and more tweaked pushloop that may have been the highest scoring jump of the event. Juban was masterful at picking off the best waves of the heat, constantly getting several hits of the outer sandbar and then following the wave in for more critical hits on the beach break. Congratulations to Juban for sailing an amazing heat!

It was amazing to see Rhonda Gill taking advantage of the friendly atmosphere of the AWT to make the Pistol River Wave Bash be her first experience in the waves. Four years ago here at Pistol River, Fiona Wylde shared this same experience and now she's battling for the podium at every event. Sam Bittner and Kate Barker sailed very well in tough conditions but just didn't have enough to make the final.

The 20-minute super final featured last year's champion Ingrid Larouche against Fiona Wylde, Katie McAnena and Miho Tanaka. Coming all the way from Ireland, McAnena picked off some nice waves early riding her way to a 4th position. Tanaka looked like she's been training hard for this event as she was often in the best place to pick off the best waves. She sailed a strong heat and finished on the podium in third. For the past few event, the battle between Larouche and Wylde for the top spot on the AWT Women's podium has been fairly one sided with Larouche winning easily... but it looks like things have now changed. Larouche is sailing better than ever with an aggressive style and big forward loops that really impress the judges, but now Wylde has stepped up her game in a huge way with impressive wave hits and a smooth style. Wylde scored the biggest wave of the heat and ripped it apart but it wasn't quite enough to take down Larouche who defended her title. Congrats to both for putting on an impressive 20-minute show for the crowd!

Amateurs, Masters and Youth:
With 27 riders, the Amateur fleet was the biggest in the competition. There were too many standout performances to mention them all and in the end it came down to a 20-minute final featuring Fiona Wylde, Casey Rehrer, Marc Bitoun and Jeff Albright. Wylde and Albright both sailed a strong heat but didn't have the jumping scores to battle for the top two spots. In the end, Albright rode the better waves to third position just knocking Wylde off the podium. Both Rehrer and Bitoun were on fire in the final. Both caught plenty of set waves and had cut them apart with super critical hits. The heat was very close and may have come down to the jumping with Bitoun's back loop giving him the title over Rehrer's forward!

The Masters and Grand Masters fleet was mixed together giving everyone the ultimate competition experience. These divisions have the most local riders and definitely the best beach rivalries. The only question was who could follow up their trash talking on the beach with the best performance on the water? The 20-minute final came down to a battle between Dana Miller, Sean Aiken, Ferdinando Loffreda and Brian Caserio. Miller sailed a strong heat, actually finishing in 2nd place giving him the Grand Master's title over a tie for 2nd between Dwight Bode and James Lundin. Caserio claimed the 3rd position on the Master's podium sailing an overall strong event. Aiken sailed well for 2nd place but it wasn't enough to take down Loffreda who was super impressive in the final. Loffreda is definitely in the drivers seat for the overall Master's title winning both of the AWT's first two events.

The Youth final came down to a match up between Maui's Casey Rehrer and Fiona Wylde from the Gorge. The wave riding skill of both has improved immensely since they joined the tour just a few years ago. Rehrer took the title sailing a strong heat landing a massive forward loop and some slashy wave rides.

Day 3: Contest ON...!

A full day hanging at the beach finally paid off as the wind came up just enough to begin competition.
After an 11 AM skippers' meeting, riders (especially the amateurs) got the benefit of a Q&A session with some of the world's top pro riders. Kevin Pritchard, Levi Siver, Camille Juban, Bernd Roediger and Ingrid Larouche answered questions about how achieve a better result in the contest environment... and many other questions. Great job by the pros!

Next up was Round 2 of the board toss, which was taken by Jay Watermeyer. The afternoon was full of blasting music and fun at the beach as competitors felt the wind gradually building. By late afternoon, judges Alex Bitoun and Brian Caserio made the call that it was time to go with the Amateur fleet up first, followed by the Women and the Masters. The riders made the most of the tough conditions, but everyone laid down plenty of scoring waves for a solid result. We are looking forward to a solid Day 4 of competition... So stay tuned!

Day 2: SUP Gold Beach Challenge

Day 2 at the AWT Pistol River Wave Bash presented by Starboard was all about SUP. The wind was light and the waves were decent so it was time to run the SUP Gold Beach Challenge presented by the Inn of the Beachcomber.

The competition was fun but still serious boiling down to a final featuring Bernd Roediger, Pascal Hardy, Matt Spencer and Brian Caserio. This heat featured the best waves of the day and these four competitors really knew what to do with them! Brian Caserio had some powerful hits but didn't have enough to make the podium. Spencer caught more waves then anyone else but his top two scores just weren't enough. Pascal Hardy scored some great waves but Roediger really proved he was the class of this contest.

The ladies also had a solid final heat with Fiona Wylde winning by a tie-breaker over Katie McAnena, with Kate Barker and Sam Bittner rounding out the fleet. Congratulations to all the competitors in the event for putting on a great show!

After the SUP contest was in the books, event organizer Sam Bittner made the call to run a board toss. Everyone took turns chucking an old board down the beach while consuming delicious beverages supplied by the Inn of the Beachcomber. No matter the're guaranteed to have fun at every AWT event!

Day 1: SUP Clinic with Bernd Roediger and Fiona Wylde

The competitors have descended on the town of Gold Beach, Oregon for the 2013 AWT Pistol River Wave Bash presented by Starboard. The opening night party and registration was hosted by the Inn of the Beachcomber and everyone had a blast with BBQ, beer and music... always a winning combination!

Day 1 was a relaxing day as the wind didn't materialize enough to run any heats, but we're ready for when it does show up. The main action on the beach was with a SUP clinic from Bernd Roediger and Fiona Wylde. They gave the crowd plenty of great tips on paddling and catching waves. I'm sure some will use them to their advantage at the upcoming SUP Gold Beach Challenge presented by the Inn of the Beachcomber that will be running on Day 2. Stay tuned tomorrow for a report on the action and photos from this exciting SUP event!

Event Preview

The American Windsurfing Tour’s Pistol River Wave Bash presented by Starboard & Severne is back for the 4th year in a row and going even bigger in 2013 with an extended contest window and an updated format. Starting on Tuesday the 18th of June and running though Sunday 23rd, everything is insured, permitted and set to run the contest at “the Rock” in the Pistol River State Park or if conditions warrant, in front of the Beachcomber in Gold Beach.

Last year, a total of 75 competitors attended. For 2013, we’re looking at more than 80 competitors signed-up. And the updated competition format will permit the heats to be longer! Instead of a double elimination, a streamlined bracket system where the winners of the first round proceed to the third round will give more time for the riders to show off their moves.

Kevin Pritchard who jetted off to a great start at Waddell Creek, winning the single elimination of the first event of the 2013 American Windsurfing Tour, leads the charge for the Starboard team. He knows the spot well, having won the event in 2010 and is looking hungry to get the title back once again:

"I love Pistol River! It is one of my favorite sailing spots around the globe. It is usually nice and windy, with some good ramps for big jumps and some fun waves to slash up as well. It gets a little cold but I have been traveling in California this spring and getting used to the cold water."

Zane Schweitzer is also trying to attend as the fleet gets stacked from there. And if the wind doesn't cooperate, there is going to be a Beachcomber Stand Up Paddle event that is free of charge for anyone, as well as a prize purse of $1500. As the weekend comes, the forecast looks great for some fun action, both on and off the water. And the schedule looks like this:

Monday, June 17th:
6-7 PM: Check In/Registration at Inn of the Beachcomber
7 PM: BBQ and Beer!

Saturday, June 22nd:
8 PM: Dinner, Awards, Prizes and Music at the Curry County Fairgrounds Docia Hall

Skippers' meeting will be held each morning at 10 AM at Pistol River State Park unless otherwise posted on the front door of Inn of the Beachcomber in Gold Beach. The Pistol Rive Wave bash is tons of fun for both windsurfers, stand up paddlers and spectators alike. So make sure you come down and check out the Pistol River Wave Bash presented by Starboard and Severne Sails!

And stay tuned for daily reports! Visit the 2013 Pistol River Wave Bash website by clicking here!