2001 Vargas Gran Canaria PWA Wave Grand Prix Day 1
Gran Canaria the popular holiday destination for European sunseakers is hosting the opening regatta of the Professional Windsurfers Association (PWA) 2001 World Tour. Sixty-six wave sailors – the sport’s international elite and local challengers have gathered for a Wave Grand Prix that will run until April 20th. Both the reigning Overall Wave Champion, Argentinean Francisco Goya and the former titleholder, Spain’s Bjorn Dunkerbeck are competing. Both are under the spotlight. For Francisco, it’s his first defence and for Bjorn, he’ll be competing in home waters for the first time since losing his crown. This is also the first opportunity for Dunkerebck to compete using Proof boards. The 13 times World Champion left his long-term sponsor F2 at the end of last season.
Gran Canaria is an old favourite for the tour and has become famous over the years for its nuclear winds. This is the first time Vargas has played host to the World Tour and is the first of two wave events to be held in Gran Canaria this year. Today the wind gradually filled in throughout the day but never really built up to the necessary strength needed for competition.
The first contest of any season always presents it’s own special challenge to sailors after the winter break, even more so when it is held at a brand new venue. Despite the wind and waves not delivering the goods most of the sailors were still tempted to get wet and use the opportunity for some last minute practice.
Matt Pritchard was one of the first to take to the water and is back competing after nearly a year out of action following an ankle injury sustained in Gran Canaria last year. He will be eager to get back to the top and challenge his younger brother Kevin Pritchard who took the Overall World Title in his absence last season. Other names to watch out for here in Vargas are Nik Baker, Peter Voltwater, Levi Siver, Vidar Jensen and Josh Stone. All are hungry to challenge Goya for the wave title.
The forecast for the rest of the week is looking excellent and winds up to force eight are expected over the weekend.
“I am looking forward to competing for sure. I am glad we did not compete today because the conditions were not the best. On the first day we are usually just getting tuned in to the conditions. I have been practising hard for this event and done everything I can to prepare. The guys I am watching out for are Josh Stone, Bjorn and Levi Siver. They are the ones who can put the package together and needed to win the event”