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10/16/2009 - created by Paul Griffiths

K-Day

Klaas Voget’s big day in Sylt.

In the Double Elimination of the Colgate World Cup Sylt, Klaas Voget (Fanatic, North, MFC) sailed the contest of his life (so far) and fought his way into 2nd in the waves. Voget won eight heats in a row, accompanied by the exultations of the beach crowds on Sylts Brandenburger Strand.

Voget took down former world champions such as Kevin Pritchard (Starboard, Gaastra, DaKine) and Kauli Seadi (JP, NeilPryde, MFC, Mormaii), as well as newly crowned 2009 World Champion, Josh Angulo (Angulo, MauiSails, DaKine) on route to the double elimination final.

Voget dropped us a line to explain his personal K-Day:  

6:45 am: My clock rings and I have to wake up. It’s still dark outside, the wind blows at the window and while I get dressed a big rainstorm hits against my window in the Dorfhotel Rantum.

7:15 am: I’m the first at breakfast and eat my muesli. Outside I can see clouds, rain & sun exchanging. 

8:01 am: Arrival at the team parking on Brandenburger Strand. At the moment I walk over the dunes the green flag is up for the first girls heat. My heat is the 14th in the men’s round, so I still have some time. The wind comes from west-southwest as forecasted and is getting stronger every minute.

8:36 am: I pull my sail out of the rig bag, which I hid behind the Fanatic tent the day before to save it from the upcoming storm. 4.2m², 3.9m² and 3.6m² are on the beach a few minutes later, next to them my NewWave 69 & 76 production boards.  

11:37 am: Surprisingly Phil Horrocks (JP, NeilPryde), who I expected as my rival for the next heat is eliminated by Frenchman Jules Denel (Exocet, Naish).

11:40 am: Together with Victor Fernandez I get ready for a warm-up session. The wind is stronger now so I take my 4.2m² and out I go. I feel powerful and have a good feeling. The 4.2m² is too big and also Victor is heading back to the beach.

11:48 am: Bernd Flessner (F2, NeilPryde) comes to the beach to check my equipment and helps me to carry my stuff to the event site.

2:35 pm: The red flag for my heat is up. I go out with 3.9 and my NewWave 69, a perfect combination for these conditions.

2:37 pm: The green flag is up, I’m fully into action and hit my first ramp. The lip breaks exactly underneath by board and I fly 7-8m up into the sky and do a clean backloop. Just back planing the next ramp is in front of me. I can hear the commentator and the people on the beach screaming while I do a Pushloop. After 30 more meters I’m rotating my third jump in this run, a high stalled frontloop. I can clearly hear the crowd at the beach. I had completed my jumps within 30 seconds, so I had 11.5 minutes left for waverides!

2:50 pm: I come to the beach, Bernd grabs my equipment and is really sure that I won.

2:57 pm: A World Cup employee writes G-4 in the next box of the seeding. I grab my flag for my next heat against Kevin Pritchard and go to Bernd, who is waiting at the beach next to my equipment.

2:20 pm: The green flag in my heat against Pritchard is up and I’m on the water with my 3.6m². After a good wave, a backloop and a pushloop I got eaten by a monster wave and had to swim. The current pulls my equipment out of the contest area, so I have to sail miles out to get back in. In the last minute I do another one-handed backloop and ride another good wave. Bernd says to me: “Your jumps where much better, but his rides were good. I still think you have it…” 

2:38 pm: The releasing news over the speaker: “Advancing from the last heat are Voget and Volwater (F2, MauiSails)” Awesome!

2:49 pm: My third heat starts, and my rival Kauli Seadi is on the water with a 3.2m². I start with a good wave and 3 backside turns. My 3.6m² feels pretty big. I find a small ramp for jumping, also backside I can see the perfect section for a Wave 360 and think “now or never”. I turn free, come out clean and can hear the crowd on the beach screaming. I can’t help smiling. After another backside turn I’m back at the beach and Bernd screams: “Jumps!!!” And I hit two more ramps and do a backloop and a pushloop-tabletop.

3:08 pm: Kauli stands next to me under the judge tower, it’s raining and we wait for the results. I hear that Kauli had a good double loop. The door opens and Rich Page the PWA Tour Manager points at me. Excited, I grab my flag for my next heat.

The speaker informs the crowds about the result and everybody is screaming loud again. I feel like I’m in a soccer stadium!

3:17 pm: I start my next heat with a high pushloop against Peter Volwater. Then I look desperately for waves, but nothing good. With a high backloop I score my 2nd jump, but my wave score is not comparable with the heats before. In the end I get two good waves, however I got washed out of the contest area with the 2nd one. 

3:30 pm: Back at the beach I don’t have such a great feeling. I leave my equipment where I came out the water and walk to the PWA container. Peter says his heat was also not great, so I hope…

3:35 pm: “G4 and G1181 advance!” I hear over the speaker. Just a few minutes till the next heat. I walk to Bernd, who carried my equipment up the beach in the meantime. Dany Bruch (Exocet, Serverne) is my next rival. He’s already sailed 2 heats more then me. I eat a quick Powerbar and drink a bottle of water. I think that I now should be 6th place for sure, but Bernd is shouting at me: “You can beat them all! If you carry on like that you will be on the podium for sure! You are sailing tactically and absolutely superb!” I had to go out again already, so no time for thinking about it.   

3:45 pm: A massive rainstorm with 40knot gusts is going on during my heat. I can hardly see what happens around me. I crash a few times, but also have some clean moves and get two waves and two jumps. The heat takes a lot of strength. At the end of the heat I can’t see Dany, he probably got washed out of the contest area.

3:57 pm: Bernd expects me at the beach: “That’s yours for sure, now you also make the rest! This is your chance!” He hands me a bottle of water & my neoprene coat and grabs my equipment. 

3:59 pm: “Voget advances!“ The people on the beach and on the promenade applaud super loud when I run up the beach. The next heat starts in a few minutes and John Skye (RRD, Naish, MFC) is on the sandbank already. I can feel my strength draining, but the happiness and the crowds of people on the beach are pushing me. I get congratulations and applaud from all sides.

4:12 pm: The heat has started and I see John jumping outside the sandbank and riding some waves. I stay around the beach and get some good waves. While tacking I fall in the water and can feel my legs starting to cramp. Nevertheless a good heat, I have a great feeling.

4:26 pm: I won again – crazy! Everybody around is trying to to give me something – bananas, Coke, Powerbar, water - I take it all. I go with Bernd upwind. He massages my muscles and talk to me: “Antoine Albeau (JP, NeilPryde) you can beat easily and Josh too - he’s scared already! You can win here today if you carry on like this!” The weather gets better and the beach is getting more crowded.

4:40 pm: I can’t find a good ramp at the beginning of the heat and start with a few waves. A good ride gives me motivation. Then the first ramp appears, I land a high pushloop, that’s one jump in the bag! Next is a good backloop and then a wave with a backside and frontside air and clew first turn. I can see Bernd and the others celebrating at the beach and in between I can hear the crowds screaming. Antoine is out of sight, he must have lost his equipment. I’m not sure if I won this heat. The crowd on the beach cheers and so do I as I am announced as the winner. Now I’m at least third.

4:54 pm: An extra heat break, so not 12 minutes but 24 until the next heat. I put on my shoes and my neoprene coat. I’m surrounded by my friends and lots of camera people. I eat another Powerbar and drink something. Then I go up again together with Flessi. 6 minutes to go. Flessi: “Angulo is scared! I just told him that you are on fire! And that we’re not in sunny Cabo Verde, that’s our North Sea! Our territory. And that you show him now!” I go out and think: what a day!

5:20 pm: The heat starts. The sun comes out and everything looks golden. I sail in a complete trance. The light, the jubilation on the beach, I can hardly believe this.

5:35 pm: I’m in the final! The news comes right after the heat. Obviously Josh didn’t have a good run, but I had close to my best heat of the day.

5:51 pm: I use all of my strength and land a few jumps. Also my waves are good, but I’m not strong enough anymore to do any extraordinary moves or jumps. The last wave grabs me and I loose my equipment. My left leg cramps while I get washed. I hold it and try to stretch it and then my left arm starts to cramp too. I let the wave take me to the beach. There the crowd is rocking and cheers for me. I let myself drift right to the beach, to my gear and meet Alex Mussolini (Tabou).

6:03 pm: Alex jubilates. He hugs me and says he had a really good heat. I believe I’m 2nd now. What a success. Lots of people streaming towards Alex and me. 

6:08 pm: Alex is announced as the winner.

6:57 pm:  All packed and I go to the “Riders Lounge” to get something to drink. As soon as I get in all the other riders jumped towards me and applaud. I get drink vouchers from all sides and the party started.

2:48 am: Dead tired and overjoyed I lie in bed. What a day!

A special day it certainly was. Why not check out JC’s picture gallery from the final day of competition. You’ll find stacks of photos of Voget pushing hard, along with many other sailors that braved the North Sea that day!

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