<span class="text">When I last wrote, I was in Thailand shaping some new boards that might come into the range for 2002. Home for 10 days went extremely fast, with a trip up north not possible due to the video's commitments, so I was heading back to Europe without my usual medicine of time in the desert.
I did get my first sail in since blowing my knee out in the Canaries however, which seemed to hang in there ok. (Note; I tore my posteior cruciate last year in Hawaii) So I headed off with a perfect weather map for home, for conditions in Germany which turned out to be far from perfect. Last year was a washout there, with no wind at all (offshore), and this year was no different except that the sailors and organizers did something exceptional in order to get a result for the event.
Like last year 8 days were spent between the tent, on the beach talking shit and drinking coffee, the hotel , riding bikes or going to the gym. Has to be said that we were pretty styling though. Top 16 were put up in the Dorint Hotel which was pretty comfortable for me and Anne Marie. Definitely not used to that level of accommodation.
Some of the boys spent a lot of the days asleep, with the nights spent in the American bar and the strip clubs, but for me, that scene has become pretty old as it's the same as it has been for 9 years or so, and my body doesn't recover so well as it used to in the day. A couple of drinks were had though to break the no wind monotony. The American Bar can certainly get a little crazy with no shortage of groupie type girls and boys.
So it boiled down to the last day with no sign of wind, with the call being made to extend the contest for a day as the forecast was for the wind to blow the day after the contest. (Murphy's law and has happened quite a lot in the past.) But this year they set a precedent and decided to extend.
This day started off windy and gusty cross off, but then swung more side shore and stabilized to about 20 knots. 5Metre weather. The waves in Sylt when it get's like this are pretty tricky. There's some waves out the back which the judges can't see really well, but where you tend to get your jumps, and then a sucky shoredump which is pretty gnarly. What makes it difficult is that it's right on the shore, along with a strong current running down the beach.
This means that if you come inside during your heat, you always run the risk of getting pummled on the inside, not being able to get out for the rest of your heat.(My first attempt in the morning involved getting washed down the beach not making it out )
My first heat was a shocker. I fell on two backloops, but made one push loop, and fell on one of my waves, and was sure that I'd blown it and was spewing.
However the other guy did worse and I got through to face Bjorn Dunkerbeck. This heat wasn't going that well either with only an Ok jump and average waveride until the last minute of the heat. Then I got a wave which sort of banked out the back allowing for a few faked turns, and then pitched hard as I put it up backside off the lip. This just launched me into a massive air which sort of spun me out and almost broke both my knees' on landing as I came down hard way out in the flat.
Bjorn didn't get much done in that heat and as a result I got through the big man. Pretty stoked. Then a good heat against Greg Alloway got me through to the semi's against Kevin Pritchard. Sketchy waves were still the case, but I managed to find a long one, and then another nice lip to hit that didn't suck completely dry onto the sand, allowing you to hit the lip and come out without a sand anemia..
So all of a sudden I was in My first Final against Jason Polokow. This heat actually went pretty good as well, with a few people thinking that I might have got it, but the dream run and finish didn't eventuate, with Jason taking the crown..
So they got on with the prize giving on the beach and it was time to pack it up and move on without even getting pissed to celebrate.
De rig, pack up the van, back to the hotel to pack up the clothes and onto the train to Holland, and then the ferry to England and then Ireland for the next contest.
Trading off between Anne Marie and myself we made our way slowly over the two ferries and all day driving missions. Pretty gnarly and by the end of the road reaching Ireland, had a nasty neck which didn't feel that good at all.
We sorted out accommodation into another stylish set up at Jamie Knox's bed and breakfast. Best accoms and breakfast by a mile, and you get to be entertained by the man himself.
I love Ireland and have been quite a few times before. Beautiful countryside, unreal waves , with usually quite a lot of wind. (And the best Pints Of Guinness in the world.
There were gales before the contest, but by the start it was quiet with a glassy surf with Josh Angulo out at point break which was pretty tasty.
A Few days of dead wind cruising with wind forecast a few days into the event. It was to be Thursday, and as Wednesday night turned into Thursday night, the forecast seemed to be right. I was awake real early hearing the wind shake the tree's outside, but then there was something not quite right on the inside.
By 4.30 am I was throwing up and pissing out of my arse. Every half hour or so I was back driving the porcelain bus, not knowing how I'd get through the day. Half mast waves with 5.0 wind which was really offshore. Very difficult to get out, especially for someone with barely enough energy to walk down the beach.
A quick spew on arrival and I was rigged and on the water. Thankfully I didn't need to again, even though I got worked trying to get out, and managed to get a few waves and through my first heat.
After that though I was knackered and broke into a hellish fever and sweat, where I couldn't have gone into the water again, and thankfully I didn't need to as winds turned offshore and heats cancelled for the day.
The forecast for the next day wasn't good, with a lot of sailors taking that as the call and getting stuck into it down at the pub that night.
Well, Ireland's a magical place, and even though there was no wind in town, down at the contest site it was 20 knots with little 1-2 ft waves coming through.
I made it as far as the third round where I came up against Kauli Seadi who had just taken out Josh Angulo and it wasn't going to be me that stopped him. It might have been, but contests are contests, and just like it went my way in Germany, it didn't go my way here. Unpredictable inconsistent waves saw me having one where I could get multiple turns, and another which only allowed one hit which wasn't going to do it.
You always get bummed when you lose, but it was OK to Kauli as he's a cool little guy who's unaffected by all the recognition he's getting at the moment, and he definitely deserves it. He was sailing fast and fluid with tight turns.
I saw this in his heat against Bjorn Dunkerbeck where I would have had him going through, but the judges were probably scared to take away Bjorn's Potential world title.
So it was Bjorn through to the final over Peter Volwater and Polokow again getting through over Kevin Pritchard. Kevin wasn't looking the prettiest either on Port tack, but he was getting the sets and milking them, which is what the judges seemed to be looking at, up until the final.
There they seemed to get it right, with faster more critical waveriding with potentially less turns getting through over slower turns and airs. This time everyone thought Bjorn got it, but the judges saw it Polokow's way (By the way, who was one of the sailors getting into it at the pub with the forecast of no wind!!) These results played havoc with the overall results with Vidar jensen dropping from 1st to 4th, Bjorn becoming world champion again, and Polokpow coming in to third after his two wins on the trot in Europe. Hang on, all the events were in Europe. There must be something wrong with our tour. As per normal.
On that point who knows what's happening with the tour. Then again, who knows what's going on in the world right now. Crazy times for sure. It'll be interesting none the less on both fronts.</span>
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