The 2008 Gran Canaria PWA Grand Slam – Day Six
Familiar faces return to podium, following a grueling day of race and freestyle competition in Pozo Izquierdo.
Three full slalom eliminations allowed Antoine Albeau (Starboard, NeilPryde) to lay rest any demons that may have haunted him, following his failure to qualify for the race six final the previous day.
Silencing criticism that his defenses were weakening, he towered above the opposition to win all three races in a commanding manor, and further stamp his authority on the event.
Following on from day five’s freestyle single elimination, Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard, NeilPryde) once again defended her first position stronghold to walk away with her second double elimination win.
Failing to make the cut in the qualifying heats, Ross Williams (Tabou Gaastra), Micah Buzianis (JP, NeilPryde, MFC) and Josh Angulo (MauiSails, Dakine) all went out in the first rounds, denying them a chance to compete in the final.
Recovering in the losers final, Williams relinquished his previous error to take first place, ahead of Buzianis in second, and Angulo in third.
Returning to his domineering form, Albeau led the final from the start, with Kevin Pritchard (Starboard, Gaastra, Dakine, MFC) and Steve Allen (Tabou, Gaastra) left fighting for second position.
Pressuring the leaders, Bjorn Dunkerbeck (T1, North Sails), and Moussilmani brothers Cyril (Fanatic, North Sails) and Sylvain (F2, Simmer) also made their presence known as they advanced through the fleet. At the finish line, Albeau won the race by a solid margin.
Race 7 Results: 1st Albeau, 2nd Pritchard, 3rd Allen, 4th Dunkerbeck, 5th Sylvain Moussilmani
Nerves were spreading in the day’s second race, as a combined total of six false starts littered the winners and losers final.
Over early in the losers final were Cyril Moussilmani, Finian Maynard (RRD, NeilPryde), and Ben Van Der Steen (Exocet, Simmer Sails). Opportunist Steve Allen, took control of the under strength heat to seize victory, ahead of Taty Frans (Starboard, North Sails) in second and Jimmy Diaz (North Sails) in third.
Over eager starts for Pritchard, Williams and Volwater (North Sails) meant the final had to be restarted, minus the offenders. Rocketing down the first reach in the rerun, Albeau settled into his usual position at the front of the pack. Chasing him down were Dunkerbeck and Buzianis, who never let the leader out of their grasp, but failed to summon enough grunt to overthrow the French World Champion. Albeau walked away with another victory.
Race 8 Results: 1st Albeau, 2nd Buzianis, 3rd Dunkerbeck, 4th Angulo, 5th Benoit Moussilmani.
Uncharacteristically departing in the first round were Buzianis and Van Der Steen, who started a trend of big names departing early in the elimination. Moving onto round two, Allen, Dunkerbeck and Volwater also slipped up and failed to qualify for the race final.
Regaining focus in the losers final, Volwater delivered an inspired performance to claim victory. Allen and Dunkerbeck also made amends for their previous mishaps, and recovered to take second and third respectively.
The final witnessed more of the Albeau show. The slalom machine methodically executed four perfect gybes combined with his astonishing straight line pace to notch up his eighth race win of the event. Pritchard snapped up another second place finish, and Cyril Moussilmani flew home in third.
Race 9 Results: 1st Albeau, 2nd Pritchard, 3rd Cyril Moussilmani, 4th Maynard, 5th Williams.
Overall So Far: 1st Albeau, 2nd Pritchard, 3rd Dunkerbeck, 4th Williams, 5th Cyril Moussilmani
Freestyle Double Elimination
Switching to freestyle in the afternoon, Offringa would have to prove herself one more time in the double elimination, to lay claim to the overall elimination win.
Yolanda De Brendt (Fanatic, North Sails) showed early form, knocking out Silvia Alba Orozco (MFC) and Iballa Moreno (North Sails). In her next battle against Junko Nagoshi (Simmer Sails, Dakine), De Brendt continued to shine, but cool headed Nagoshi banged out a diverse mix of switch and regular stance moves to stop De Brendt in her tracks.
Gaining momentum, Nagoshi went on to defeat Laure Treboux (Fanatic, North Sails) before falling victim to Daida Moreno (North Sails) who dealt out a harsh hand, which included a clew first puneta, a flaka and some monstrous forward loops. Moreno, in a repeat of the previous double elimination final, went on to challenge Offringa for first position.
Coming out all guns blazing, Offringa’s barrage was impressive to say the least, and Moreno had a tall order ahead of her, having to find a reply to a one handed puneta, a shaka, and funnel. Nerves seemed to overcome the local, and a last minute grubby, flaka and forward weren’t enough to match Offringa’s mammoth score. In a 5-0 decision, Offringa added another double elimination victory to her name.
Tomorrow, all the skippers meetings are at 10.00am, with competition likely to commence from 10.30am onwards. Be sure to follow every stroke of action here, at www.pwaworldtour.com, where you can:
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© PWA / Andrew Buchanan