The 2008 Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam – Day Six
The strongest wind of the event so far, confused chop, and a building ground swell marked the first day of freestyle competition in Fuerteventura. From the outset, Normen Günzlein (JP, NeilPryde) made his intentions clear, as he cast team mate Andy Chambers (JP, NeilPryde), then Thomas Traversa (Tabou, Gaastra) and Kiri Thode (Starboard, Gaastra) aside en route to the semi finals.
Mounting similar attacks; Marcilio Browne (Mistral, Gaastra) made light work of Cheo Diaz (RRD, Simmer) before edging past Nicolas Akgazciyan (Starboard, Gun Sails) to reach the semi final, and Jose Estredo (Fanatic, North, MFC) felled Taty Frans (Starboard, North) to make the short step into the final four.
Filling out the last place was Tonky Frans (F2, Gaastra), who had to take down man of the moment, Ricardo Campello (JP, NeilPryde, MFC) to bag his place in the semi.
Challenging Estredo, Günzlein had his work cut out to match the ex-World Champion. As always, his moves were super clean, and executed with pinpoint accuracy, but to topple Estredo you need something extra on top of a polished routine, and Günzlein just didn’t have the spice required to overthrow the Venezuelan. Estredo advanced, moving the focus of his assault onto the winner of Browne versus Tonky Frans.
Trademark shuvit spocks and gravity defying forward loops from Frans meant Browne would have to step his game up if he wanted to continue onto the final. Luckily for Browne, his bag of tricks is arguably the most extensive in the fleet, and a tactical heat eventually rewarded him with a place in the final.
The Frans versus Günzlein losers final was an impressive showdown, but mimicked much of their previous clash. Frans seemed to lack tactics, but made up for it with flare and a unique approach to the heat. Conversely, Günzlein was precise and structured, however the judges sided with Frans’ off the wall and colorful ambush, meaning he’d take third, and Günzlein fourth.
The elimination final was a showdown that’s been sailed many times before this season, Browne versus Estredo. Browne commented, “The final was really windy, I got a couple of moves but also had a few crashes. On my way out I landed a ponch, a one-handed air flaka, a clew first ponch, an air chachoo, and a clew first flaka. On the way in I got a shaka, a one handed funnel, a burner, a one handed burner, and a gozada. I just did what I know I can do, but it was really hard sailing out there, really choppy, and really gusty.”
Estredo, who was competing with an injured ankle, threw moves back at Browne, but didn’t have enough to convince the judges he was the better man. In a 4-1 judging decision, Browne claimed the first single elimination as his, and will now have to wait for his challenger to arrive, and defend his position in the double elimination.
In the women’s single elimination, the first big match up came when Laure Treboux (Fanatic, North) dueled with stable mate Iballa Moreno (North). Treboux’s downfall started when she fell on many of her ‘safe’ moves, giving her very little fall back. Moreno then crippled Treboux, landing a big backloop and an equally big forward. Moreno advanced.
Story of the elimination was Yoli De Brendt (Fanatic, North), who was on biblically good form. The Venezuelan underdog slayed Nina Tjernberg (F2, North), heavy weight freestyler Daida Moreno (North), and Junko Nagoshi (Simmer, Dakine) to claim her place in the final against Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard, NeilPryde).
In the losers final, Iballa Moreno challenged Nagoshi for third place. The super close heat saw flakas and planning spocks from both sailors, with a split decision eventually awarding Nagoshi the victory, and third place in the elimination.
The De Brendt versus Offringa final was another close affair. Both sailors were matched on points until Offringa landed a huge ponch on the way out, Offringa: “In the final I started off with a flaka, but not a very good one, I just made it. Then I did a one handed puneta 540 and I fell on a spock on the way out. Coming back in, I started to get a bit nervous, I don’t know why. I didn’t land anything though. I finally got it together and landed a big ponch. Overall I didn’t sail my best heat. I was overpowered on my 3.7m, and it was really choppy, so hard to do moves. I was actually pretty surprised I won, as Yoli was sailing really well!” Offringa’s victory was impressive, but a wake up call for her given the 3-2 split judging decision.
The day also saw the start of the men’s double elimination. The most impressive inroads were made by Quincy Offringa (Starboard, Severne) and Ian Mouro Lemos (JP, NeilPryde), who will be looking to continue their run of form through to tomorrow.
Sailor of the Day
Sailor of the day gets awarded to Antxon Otaegui, for being the only man crazy enough to throw a double forward loop in competition. “There was a shoulder high ramp out the back, and it was pretty steep. With the wind angle it was quite hard, you have to go way down wind to hit the waves square on, as it’s so offshore. It was kinda lucky!” Antxon’s definitely one to watch as the competition progresses, and the sailors push their boundaries to the limit to advance through heats.
Tomorrow’s skippers meeting is scheduled for 10.30am, with the freestylers hitting the water from 11.00am onwards. Be sure to tune into pwaworldtour.com to follow all of day seven’s trials and tribulations. On the site you’ll be able to:
* Use our live ticker service
* Check elimination ladders
* View results
* Watch amazing video action clips
* Read the daily news summaries
* Browse awesome action photo galleries
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