PWA Pozo Grand Prix
Marking the start of the 2010 PWA wave world tour, this hugely anticipated event in Pozo, Gran Canaria delivered 30-40 knot winds and head high waves over the four day period, allowing the world’s best wave sailors to bust out their most impressive moves in front of the international judging panel, and world media.
A break from the crazy winds on the first day of competition saw increasing amounts of tension between the sailors as they were forced to wait for a further twenty-four hours before the wave tour could finally commence. On day two, the winds began to build from first light, but weren’t reaching full strength, allowing just the first round of the men’s single elimination, which meant many of the top seeds were kept onshore yet again. Day three saw a return to what Pozo has become renowned for – strong winds and super high jumps. Small sails were rigged and ready for battle, and both the men’s and women’s fleets were able to complete their single eliminations. The men’s fleet also got through two rounds of the double, which enabled the competition to be completed with ease on the fourth and final day in spectacular style.
Single Elimination Victor-y
Three times Pozo champion, Victor Fernandez (Fanatic, North, MFC) sailed a faultless single elimination, taking down former world champions, event champions, and port tack legends, to take the single elimination convincingly. Even in the winner’s final, the 2009 Pozo champion, Philip Koster (Starboard, NeilPryde, Dakine) couldn’t stop the Spaniard from storming his way to victory. Koster had been wowing the crowds with his insane stalled double forwards throughout the day, but failed to pull them off to his usual impeccable standard in the final. And, to make matters worse for the 2009 champ, Fernandez was boosting faultless, ankle dry, doubles of his own, and was riding with a much more fluid style, which won over the judges.
Single Life - Highs and Lows
Day two belonged almost entirely to the new breed of Pozo locals that were taking the scalp of many a world tour hero. Just as Kid Koster stormed through his first heats the previous year, a whole crew of locals followed suit in this contest. Amongst those tearing their home spot to pieces were Jose Romero (JP, NeilPryde), Alessio Stillrich (Fanatic, North), Josep Pons Casasnovas, Eleazar Alonso (Naish, Naish), and Francisco Casas Garcia (Starboard, Severne). Watch out for all of these guys in the future.
Britain’s Ben Proffitt (Simmer) stood out beyond all recognition on day three for not only sailing to a world-class standard, but for taking down former world champion, and 2010 title favourite, Kauli Seadi (JP, NeilPryde, MFC). It was the Brazilian’s first heat of the day, and left him with a huge amount of work to do in the double in order to redeem himself. Following that heat, the port tack prince, Proffitt, narrowly missed out on advancing into the top 8. Proffitt was up against local champ, Koster who only just beat the Brit on a 2-1 decision. With plenty of port tack events this year, Proffitt is now a serious fright for anyone going up against him on the world tour!
Local ripper, Dario Ojeda (Tabou, Simmer, Dakine, MFC) put together an excellent repertoire in the single elimination to take down a whole host of top international sailors, and claim third. Ojeda showed all of the young hotshots how to sail his local break with incredible jumps, and consistently high wave scores, to achieve an excellent finishing position.
With Fernandez sitting pretty at the top, the double elimination gave every sailor the opportunity to fight back, make amends, and challenge the three times champion for the top spot. Plenty of sailors gave it their best shot by charging through the fleet, but the only one worthy of meeting Fernandez turned out to be the 2009 champion, Koster.
Kid Koster successfully defended his position against a challenge from triple loop dare devil, Ricardo Campello (JP, NeilPryde) - who had been tearing his way through the fleet - with a jaw dropping display of radical jumps, including his now trademark perfect stalled double forward. The judges and the crowds probably thought they’d seen everything that the youngster could possibly deliver, and he’d easily already won the heat, but then he hit a perfect stunt ramp down by the bunker to launch into a huge pushloop, and then reverse the rotation, and throw a forward. This was the only pushloop forward seen in this competition, and definitely deserved maximum points for raising the bar even higher!
Fernandez must have been seriously worried when he hit the water with Koster for the double elimination final - no one had ever seen the sort of amazing jumps that Koster was performing in competition before. However, the wind had backed off slightly for the final, which must have held Koster back, but he still managed to bust out endless doubles, huge tweaked pushloops, and awesome stalled planing forwards to edge out in front of Fernandez. Unfortunately for Koster, a win didn’t actually claim him the event. It simply meant that he was then allowed to challenge Fernandez once again, this time for the Pozo title.
Both sailors were boosting huge jumps with copious amounts of style, and matching each other move for move in the waves. Goitas, takas, aerials, and forwards off the lip were all thrown down on the same wave racking up uber points. But, this was after all a wave contest, and not just freestyle in the waves, so riding style and fluidity were just as important as tricks performed off the lip. In the end, Fernandez’s experience shone through, and his radical wave riding scored top marks over Koster’s, winning him his fourth Pozo title, and an early lead in the race for overall 2010 glory.
When eleven times Pozo champion, Daida Ruano Moreno (Starboard, Severne) launches into action at her home spot, it’s hard not to stare. Her repertoire of jumps is up there with the best of the men’s, and includes tweaked pushloop table tops, massive back loops, and huge stalled forwards. Not even her sister, Iballa Ruano Moreno (Starboard, Severne) stood a chance at taking down the world champion who was in her element at, quite possibly, the best place on the planet for boosting rocket airs. Iballa has clearly upped her game with some seriously high back loops of her own, and some stylish riding, but it was no match for Daida in Pozo, leaving her to settle for second.
Fight For Third
With the Moreno twins intent on taking the top spots, the real fight was on for the final podium position. Many sailors showed plenty of promise in the early rounds, including Junko Nagoshi (Tabou, Simmer, Dakine) and Stefi Wahl (Patirk, Gaasta) who both fought through with some impressive forward loops, and radical riding. But, they were stopped dead in their tracks by Nayra Alonso (Fanatic, Severne) and Karin Jaggi (Patrik, Severne) in the quarter-finals.
Alonso and Jaggi went on to face each other in the loser’s finals where some slick riding, and awesome jumping kept them on a par for much of the heat. However, the fearless Jaggi hit a huge ramp, launched into orbit, and spun round a massive push loop, which gained her bonus points with the judges, and a spot on the podium.
The top four females all defended their positions from the single elimination with ease, but failed to improve on them, leaving the results exactly as they were. Daida put on yet another display of jumping prowess, to claim her twelfth consecutive victory in front of her home crowds.
One sailor who did progress through the ranks in the double was the young French star, Alice Arutkin (Starboard, North). After failing to get through her first heat in the single, she found her form, and climbed the ranks. Her riding was second to none with some great frontside and backside smacks allowing her to fight back to 7th equal. If she gets her jumping dialled, she’ll be a force to be reckoned with in future wave contests.
1st Victor Fernandez (Fanatic, North, MFC)
2nd Philip Koster (Starboard, NeilPryde, Dakine)
3rd Ricardo Campello (JP, NeilPryde, MFC)
4th Dario Ojeda (Tabou, Simmer)
5th Marcilio Browne (Fanatic, North, MFC)
6th Robby Swift (JP, NeilPryde)
7th = Dany Bruch (Patrik, Severne)
7th = Marcos Perez (Exocet, Gun)
1st Daida Ruano Moreno (Starboard, Severne)
2nd Iballa Ruano Moreno (Starboard, Severne)
3rd Karin Jaggi (Patrik, Severne)
4th Nayra Alonso (Fanatic, Severne)
5th Stefi Wahl (Patrik, Gaastra)
The overall standings for the PWA wave world tour are currently exactly the same as the event results from Gran Canaria due to this being the first event of 2010. This will all change however when the wave tour moves to Klitmoller, Denmark for the Cold Hawaii World Cup in September.
The PWA world tour moves to the island of Fuerteventura for the 25th Anniversary of this well-established world cup event, which is scheduled to take place from 23rd July to 2nd August. In Fuerteventura we’ll see more slipping and sliding from the men’s freestyle fleet. And, the slalom sailors will get their chance to unpack their smallest sails in order to compete in the howling winds of Sotavento.
Be sure to log on to www.pwaworldtour.com where you’ll be able to keep up to date with every piece of the action via the live ticker, live elimination ladders, read daily summaries, watch awesome action videos, and browse JC’s excellent galleries.