PWA Freestyle 2002 - A Championship Year!
After a grueling year on the men’s PWA freestyle tour with four incredible events in Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, Canada, and Bonaire Matt Pritchard (Gaastra, AHD) has taken the PWA overall freestyle title. Pritchard has been battling away on the PWA circuit for the last ten years and has finally achieved one of his main lifetime goals by joining the elite as a PWA overall Champion. The twenty nine year old Californian sealed the deal on the sun-drenched beaches of Bonaire in the Caribbean after fending off the challenge from his main contender Ricardo Campello (JP, Neil Pryde) of Venezuela. Nik Baker (Mistral, North) managed to take the last overall podium position for the 2002 tour despite a disappointing performance in Bonaire.
This year’s freestyle action kicked off in the screaming winds of Gran Canaria where Pritchard posted his win of the season ahead of Nik Baker in second and Ricardo Campello third. Held in winds gusting between 30 and 40 knots the three rounds of competition were tough and the action spectacular.
The tour then moved over to the neighboring island of Fuerteventura where it was seventeen-year-old Ricardo Campello’s turn to raise his game. Campello came out on top after winning the second of two rounds in a riveting final against his good friend Kauli Seadi (Naish boards, Naish sails) of Brazil.
With the title chase wide open it was all to play for in third event of the season in Canada. The beautiful Magdalen Islands played host to the tour and provided a variety of conditions ranging from light wind freestyle to high wind wave orientated action. After taking the first round in style Ricardo Campello was knocked out in the early rounds of second the double elimination. His poor performance left the door wide open for his rivals and the outcome in Canada was a joint victory for Baker and Pritchard.
With the tension running high and the level of freestyle running going through the roof the chase had boiled down to a three man battle at the closing event of the season in Bonaire. The Caribbean island delivered the goods in style as Pritchard, Campello and Baker battled it out in their final showdown. After three double eliminations of insane action it was Pritchard who held his nerve and produced the required results to clinch the title. Despite local hotshot Tonki Frans taking the King of the Caribbean title Pritchard managed to hold on to second place, which proved enough to secure victory.
The standard of freestyle on the men’s tour has risen to an incredibly high level. Sailors have been nailing mind-boggling moves even in the height of intense competition. There is also a lot of new blood joining the tour and providing a formidable challenge to the old guard. Pritchard has deservedly won this years battle but one things for sure…he is going to have his work cut out next year to hold on to his title!
It has been pretty grueling you know. We have had four freestyle events that were pretty intense. It was a tough year…I am tired now! I was just thinking that some day when I grow up I would like to tell my kids what I did. If I could not tell them that I did not win then what good is it! At least I got one under my belt am I am going to keep shooting for more. Ever since 1998 when the PWA picked up freestyle I have been gunning to win the thing. It hasn’t really hit me yet that I won but I am sure it will soon!
I can’t complain! I am still seventeen so I have a big career ahead of me. I wanted to win but I didn’t happen. Next year I will be better than this year!
Third overall not really what I wanted but too many thing went wrong for me in Bonaire to win overall. I am happy I am still on the podium at least. We have had a great season with lots of different conditions. We had port tack, starboard tack and waves and I would like to say that Matt was a very worthy world champion. He is a very good competitor so he definitely deserved it.
MENS FINAL OVERALL FREESTYLE RANKINGS 2002
1. Matt Pritchard (Gaastra, AHD)
2. Ricardo Campello (JP, Neil Pryde)
3. Nik Baker (Mistral, North)
4. Robby Swift (JP, Neil Pryde)
5. Tonki Frans (Gaastra, AHD)
The women’s tour consisted of three events…Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura and Bonaire. Daida Moreno (Mistral, North) opened up the season in formidable style by winning the first event in Gran Canaria with Karin Jaggi (F2, Arrows) fighting her all the way and taking second and Colette Guadagnino in third. Unfortunately, Daida’s twin sister Iballa Moreno (Mistral, North) was forced to pull out of the event after sustaining a foot injury on the opening day of the event. Moreno continued her winning by posting another victory in the side offshore winds of Fuerteventura. This time it was Colette Guadagnino and Karin Jaggi both shared equal second in an incredibly close battle.
A tragic family bereavement meant that Daida Moreno was unable to compete in Bonaire leaving the title chase wide open between Karin Jaggi and Colette Guadagnino. The stakes were high…whoever won in Bonaire would not only win the Queen of the Caribbean title but the winner would also become PWA overall champion. Guadagnino set the pace by taking the first two out of five rounds leaving Jaggi with an uphill struggle to fight back. Jaggi somehow managed to raise her game and won the final three rounds to take both the titles!
Next year both the Moreno twins should be back competing so it looks like Karin Jaggi is also going to have to fight it out all the way to defend her title!
It is very sad, this is kind of Daida’s trophy in a way. Everybody is really upset about the situation. I am positive she will be back next year. I am going to train more freestyle this winter and do my best to keep the trophy again. I will definitely be happy when Daida comes back!
I am happy with second. It was a battle until the end it was really close. I did not have a good heat in the very last final. Karin deserved it she sailed better than I did in that last heat. It was a bummer not having Daida at the last event. The title should really have gone to her because she was so far ahead. I wish she could have been here. The whole year she trained hard and it is a great shame what happened!
WOMEN’S FINAL OVERALL FREESTYLE RANKINGS 2002
1. Karin Jaggi (F2, Arrows)
2. Colette Guadagnino (JP, Neil Pryde)
3. Daida Moreno (Mistral, North)
4. Tanja Emig (RRD)
5. Angela Martinez (Neil Pryde, Naish)