Fuerteventura Grand Slam
On the tenth and final day of competition off Sotavento’s glorious white sands, a strong breeze with the occasional piece of swell rolling in turned the waters into the perfect playground for the world’s best freestylers. With the second double elimination well underway from the previous day, those still left with a chance battled their hearts out to improve their overall standing.
1st Jose “Gollito’ Estredo (Fanatic, North) 2.7pts
2nd Kiri Thode (Starboard, Gaastra) 4.7pts
3rd Steven Van Broeckhoven (F2, Gaastra) 7pts
4th Tonky Frans (F2, Gaastra) 7pts
5th Taty Frans (Starboard, MauiSails, Mystic) 8pts
6th Leo Ray (Naish, Naish) 12pts
Watching on in anticipation throughout the day was the second single elimination winner, and reigning world champion, Jose ‘Gollito’ Estredo (Fanatic, North). Whoever fought the hardest would be allowed to challenge him for second double elimination honours.
The freestyle legend from Bonaire, Tonky Frans (F2, Gaastra) successfully took the scalp off a handful of sailors early on to progress right through the fleet. Many of his heats were not only milestones for the event, but for the year!
The first of these was a family affair, with Tonky taking on his brother Taty (Starboard, MauiSails) in a serious sibling showdown. If Tonky knocked out his brother, he would destroy Taty’s chances of a final shot at the world title, and would be one step closer to handing it to Estredo on a plate. With Taty being the only other rider to have won an event this year, he was the current world champion’s biggest threat. Unfortunately for Taty, Tonky continued firing on all cylinders and nailed some huge air moves to progress further through the fleet, and remove any dreams Taty had for 2010.
The next heat was equally big, with Tonky taking on another world title contender, Kiri Thode (Starboard, Gaastra). If Tonky knocked out his fellow Bonairean, he would hand Estredo both the event, and the world title. Needless to say, Tonky was on fire, and threw down a full repertoire of powerful and stylish moves to advance past Thode with ease. No one knew it, but this was enough for Estredo to claim victory in Fuerteventura, and add a fourth world title to his name without actually having to compete any further.
Steven Van Broeckhoven (F2, Gaastra) finally stopped Tonky in his tracks by successfully defending his position with some huge konos and spectacular culos, allowing him to challenge Estredo for second double elimination victory.
The scene was set for the ultimate showdown, but the writing was already on the wall. Regardless of how each sailor did, Estredo would take the event and Broeckhoven would have to settle for third. It was an exciting finale none the less with more massive moves, and the sailors matching each other move for move. In the end, the judges decision was final, and with a 3-2 split the three times world champion took it by the narrowest of margins.
Jose ‘Gollito’ Estredo:
On claiming victory in Fuerteventura
“Winning this event feels really special for me because it’s such a spectacular show with the very best sailors in the world all in the same place at the same time. I’m extremely happy to be crowned the Fuerteventura Freestyle Champion for the fourth time. Today I was competing on my North Ice 4.0, and my Fanatic Skate 90L, which was perfect for the conditions. I actually really wanted to sail another heat because I thought I didn’t sail that well in the final, but the judges gave it to me on a 3-2 decision anyway, which was amazing!”
On Securing the world title
“I can’t believe I’ve taken the world title with an event to spare this year. Wow, that’s unbelievable. It hasn’t really sunk in. Are you sure… I’m lost for words. That’s excellent news!”
The first sailor of the day to up the stakes was 2009 Pozo Wave Champion, Philip Koster (Starboard, NeilPryde, Dakine). Even before the competition had begun he was impressing the judges with ankle dry double forwards off one foot chop. When it came to his heat, he was charging around trying to find the perfect ramp, and right on cue he flew into orbit nailing one of his now trademark two scoop specials.
The other most impressive move of the day was a spock culo combo. Both Broeckhoven and Thode have them nailed, and faultlessly performed them during their heats.
Stand Out Sailor
Tonky Frans was without a doubt the most impressive sailor, partly for his enormous air moves and amazing style, but also for taking out Estredo’s opposition, making heat after heat an even more exciting spectacle.
KP’s Inside Line
Former world champion, Kevin Pritchard (Starboard, Gaastra, Dakine) continued to capture the behind the scenes footage in Fuerteventura. Follow the links here to watch part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6, part 7 and part 8.
Overall Rankings – after three events
1st Jose ‘Gollito’ Estredo (Fanatic, North)
2nd Kiri Thode (Starboard, Gaastra)
3rd Steven Van Broeckhoven (F2, Gaastra)
4th Tonky Frans (F2, Gaastra)
5th Nicolas Akgazciyan (Starboard, Gun)
Keep in the groove
For more information on all the entrants, and to keep up to date with every piece of the action, click on www.pwaworldtour.com
Here you can use our:
• Live ticker service for heat-by-heat bulletins
• Check live elimination ladders
• View results
• Read daily news summaries
• Browse awesome action photo galleries
There’s also a dedicated event website which can be found at www.fuerteventura-worldcup.org
Or for more information, please contact the PWA office via firstname.lastname@example.org