The 2007 Cabo Verde World Cup Event Summary
The PWA Strike Gold As The Inaugural Cabo Verde World Cup Event Goes Down As One Of The Greatest Events In Windsurfing’s History
Fortune smiled upon the world elite as a pumping swell raced towards the Cabo Verde archipelago, hell-bent on unleashing its power upon the shallow ledges of Ponta Preta, on the Island of Sal.
Leading up to the event there were several favorites ripping it up at the spot already, but, without doubt, all eyes were on local hero Josh Angulo. In addition to the main seeds, a trio of Angulo’s compatriots represented a significant outside threat, with their intimate knowledge of the point breaks characteristics.
Mitu Monteiro (Fanatic / North), Djo Silva (Fanatic / North), and Titik Lopes (Fanatic / North) had some top names worried with their courageous and stylish approach as the clock ticked down to the opening ceremony.
Also arriving early to warm up were 2005 World Champion Kauli Seadi (Quatro / Naish) and Julian Taboulet (F2 / Naish). But apart from that time paying off in competition it merely got them excited. ‘I just couldn’t resist buying an apartment here’ said Taboulet, now addicted to the Islands rhythms and potential. ‘This place is just perfect’ commented Seadi.
The event was a big deal to this small Atlantic republic too. An impressive infrastructure by the organisers, and the level of crowds coming to support their nation were a testament to the importance of windsurfing to Cabo Verdian tourism development, and their resolve to manage and protect their resources by attracting such clean living and environmentally conscious visitors as windsurfers.
With the early heats completed on day one, the second day dawned with surf of epic proportions. Sets approaching double-mast high thundered seemingly inches away from the shore, and you could almost touch the riders as they flew past on the rollercoaster ride of a lifetime.
Testing conditions with super offshore winds limited the vertical attack seen at more side shore spots. Nevertheless the standouts dug deep to edge turns of quality and power.
Local hotshot Monteiro raised hoots and whistles from the beach for his fearless approach and some massive hits by Phil Horrocks (JP / NeilPryde), and Alex Mussolini (JP / NeilPryde) on the thick-lipped peak were outstandingly high. ‘I thought...if I let go I’ll probably die...and if I hold on I might still die’ said Horrocks on the terror he felt, looking down 40ft above the pit! ‘These have been the best few days of my life!’ explained Mussolini, who just couldn’t get enough of the most perfect conditions he’d ever experienced.
The cream rising to the top of 4-man single elimination final contained the worthy names of Josh Angulo, Kauli Seadi, Kevin Pritchard (Starboard / MauiSails) and Nik Baker (Mistral / North).
Superior wave selection and all-round ability helped them edge out big hitters, Jason Polakow (JP / NeilPryde), Levi Siver (Starboard / NeilPryde), Bjorn Dunkerbeck (North) and Scott McKercher (Starboard / Severne).
After a tense and close-fought final, the judges awarded Seadi, of Brazil, the win, with the sporting crowd cheering the Portuguese speaker who’d defeated their countryman. Kevin Pritchard took third position ahead of Baker.
‘Kauli’s has been on fire since the day he got here’ said Angulo, ‘It’s a very tiring place to sail, especially during a heat where trying to connect a wave all the way through is demanding’.
‘I just let it come to me… and tried not to worry about the risks involved’ spoke Kauli on his intuitive approach to victory.
No time was wasted in getting the double elimination underway on day three, with several riders champing at the bit to claw their way back up the rankings on this, their second and last chance.
A cautious approach had so far been wise, but for the double elimination only a make or break attitude would pay dividends, despite the risks being stacked in the reefs favour. A record amount of equipment was destroyed on the rocks as the stakes were raised in the savage natural amphitheatre.
Without doubt the most impressive fight back came from Polakow, who trashed 6 complete rigs on the rocks to surge up the ladder, sidestepping Siver and Mussolini in his gutsy charge forwards. Eventually exhaustion and a solid performance from Kevin Pritchard halted his progress beyond a credible 4th place overall.
2006 World Champion Pritchard then showed spirit and flair to challenge Angulo in a last shot to face Seadi in the final. However Angulo had other plans, and the years he’s spent living here paid off as he selected the peachiest set waves that he proceeded to tear apart, punting huge airs, including an outrageous back-arched example, that left Pritchard in third position overall.
As if by magic, some staggering set waves arrived for the final against Seadi. But a gamble on taking a small sail cost Florianapolis’ finest dearly as he became a victim of the imposing shore break once more! Two breathtaking rides in the dying seconds were not quite enough to outscore Angulo, granting the local spectators a sigh of relief.
The double eliminations re-sail was Seadi’s absolute last chance to defend himself, as even more massive sets connected down the race track to match the occasion.
Of the two waves each to count, no one could have predicted it would be this close. Both riders highest scoring rides involved back-dooring the peak before making massive hits on the thick pitching section which projected them incomprehensibly skywards. Seadi consolidated the early smack with unique lines of tight and flowing turns in the pocket - his twin fin set up helping his flowing, linking lines.
Angulo’s decisive wave, after the late, under the lip punt, had more variation with snaps, one-handed cutbacks, vertical hooks and two powerful aerials on the inside bowl.
The beachside carnival was silenced as the judge’s scores were tabulated. A tight 4 to 3 verdict awarded Angulo’s more powerful assault the victory and jubilation erupted like wildfire throughout the adoring throng.
Carried by a tidal wave of fans, Cabo Verdes newest icon was mobbed at the waters edge to be swept towards the podium in a frenzy of drums, whistles and unabated elation.
The largest sporting event and athletic achievement to ever have graced these shores was celebrated long through the night with cavalcades and parties spilling onto the streets. Angulo’s reward for dedication and commitment to his adopted home was worthy, precious and vital for this countries future. Future stars have doubtlessly been inspired, and it’s just a matter of time before Cabo produces more icons.
With the holding period still having several days open, but the full double elimination completed, the UK’s Boards magazine just couldn’t let more superb conditions go to waste.
Generously throwing in $1000 in the name of entertainment, the time to play it safe was long gone, and those with a point to prove needed little persuasion to jeopardise themselves and their remaining equipment.
Marcilio Browne (Mistral / Gaastra) took home the cash for his audacious one-handed aerial - no mean feat above water barely a foot deep - ahead of Ricardo Campello’s (JP / NeilPryde) double forward off the lip, albeit completed behind the wave. Victor Fernandez (Fanatic / Simmer) came the closest of the countless attempts at back loop’s off the lip, with his high and late attempt just short of the final rotation it needed.
This marked the end of the most spectacular event modern windsurfings ever seen; leaving the competitors free to enjoy the waves and welcome the people of Sal have gifted them.
Special thanks go from the entire world of windsurfing to Cabo Verde Investment for their vision, hospitality and the everlasting memories they have given us.
© PWA / Brian McDowell