2001 Gran Canaria PWA Grand Slam Day 3
Its rock ‘n’ roll here at the PWA Grand Slam in Pozo Gran Canaria! After an action packed day of radical wave competition Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Proof, Neil Pryde) and Daida Moreno (Mistral, North) have both taken victory the first round of men’s and women’s respective single elimination’s.
Dunkerbeck was back in full ‘Terminator mode’ today and dominated the men’s final despite a brave challenge form Britain’s Nik Baker (North, Mistral). In the losers final, Dutch ‘hell man’, Peter Volwater (F2, Arrows) took third position ahead of Levi Siver (F2, North) of the USA, after busting out an insane double forward which clinched him the heat. The women’s final was an all Moreno affair, this time Daida Moreno took revenge on her sister Iballa (Mistral, North) who had won their head to head battle in the freestyle yesterday. Third place in the women’s went to Antonia Frey (RRD) with ex-world champion Karin Jaggi (F2, Arrows) taking fourth.
As predicated the wind was blowing a solid 35-40 knots this morning which along with 2-4 foot waves provided the perfect conditions for sailors to boost massive jumps. In a day which was largely devoted to rocket airs spectators were treated to a frenzy of wild doubles, massive table top forwards, ballistic one handed back loops and gigantic push loops.
Bjorn Dunkerbeck led the field from the word go this morning, launching himself into a multitude of orbit airs most of which were landed with his usual powerful precision. Some of the sailors were joking on the beach that if Dunkerbeck were to go any higher, then the local airport control up the coast might have to be warned! The ‘Terminator’ was smoking! Dunkerbeck was not only king in the air today but also showed up the rest of the fleet how to wave ride in Pozo. He shredded the waves with reckless abandon highlighted when he landed a perfect wave 360 in the final against Nik Baker. On his road to the final Dunkerbeck quashed challenges from Baptiste Gossien (JP, Neil Pryde) Robert Sand (F2, Arrows) Scott McKercher (Naish) Marcos Perez and Peter Voltwater (F2, Arrows).
Nik Baker was not too upset to have to settle for second place today. He came through many tough heats taking down the likes of Tony Garcia (RRD), Scott Carvill (Naish boards, Naish sails) Pierrick Wattez (Bic, Neil Pryde) Matt Pritchard (AHD, Gaastra) and finally Levi Siver (F2, North) before reaching the final.
To say there are no easy heats in the PWA anymore, especially here in Pozo is a statement, which proved itself this morning. In the first round this morning, yesterday’s Freestyle winner Antoine Albeau (AHD, Neil Pryde) was taken out by sixteen-year-old British sailor Robby Swift (JP, Neil Pryde). Swift who has only just finished his exams at school eventually went down to the experienced Spaniard Stephanne Etienne (Bic) in the second round.
Francisco Goya (F2, Arrows) sailed brilliantly today and seemed to be advancing steadily towards the final, that was until he came up against Peter Volwater in the quarterfinals. Volwater put pay to the Argentineans hopes of glory with an awesome display of ballistic jumping. After his exit, Goya was forced to sit and watch his MPG team-mate Levi Siver advance into the semi final after his defeat of Norwegian wild flyer, Vidar Jensen (Drops, North) in the quarters. Siver was ripping and it took the dynamic consistency of Britain’s Nik Baker who eventually put pay to his hopes of reaching his first Grand Slam Final.
In the women’s competition the Moreno sisters proved to the rest of the fleet that they really are in a league of their own here in their home playground! Both sisters were pulling of jumps that were higher than many of the male competitors efforts here today. They have got balls too! Pardon the expression but these girls have been brought up with the likes of Bjorn Dunkerbeck and Vidar Jensen as teachers and have no respect for the word fear!
With results already in men’s and women’s freestyle and wave, tomorrow will be the chance for the losers to redeem themselves in the respective double eliminations. Pozo has produced the goods already this year but there is still a long way to go before the eventually winners are decided. The forecast is for nuclear winds…possibly building to sixty knots! The battle has only just begun!
BJORN DUNKERBECK (PROOF, NEIL PRYDE)
"It was fun out there. It was not ‘super’ windy but plenty enough for the competition. It was actually pretty easy to sail. I was on a 4.2m and a then a 4.5m in the final. I managed to catch a couple of good waves in the final. The final went pretty good, I did not make everything 100% but I connected pretty well. It was good enough to beat Nik and stay in first position after the single. There is still a way to go but it is good to start off on the right foot. I am definitely very happy with that and I hope to stay there!"
NIK BAKER (MISTRAL NORTH)
"I had great fun out there today. I had a successful day yesterday in the freestyle and finished in second and today I was second in waves to Bjorn, which can’t be bad. I had some good heats and beat some good sailors, everybody was ripping out there. I used 4.1m, 3.8m and then 3.4m as the wind got stronger. It was pretty bloody windy! Bjorn was on fire in the final, I might as well come into the beach and watched him to be honest! I was just trying not to make myself look stupid! (Laughs)"
DIADA MORENO (MISTRAL, NORTH)
" I am pretty happy with the result. We were in the final in Vargas together as well. I landed a pretty high back loop and did a couple of nice push loops. I am really happy about the result. It was difficult conditions, I was on a 3.8m and pretty maxed out. There were a few big sets coming through but you had to be lucky to get them. This is still only the single elimination but it is good to have a result under my belt!"
IBALLA MORENO (MISTRAL, NORTH)
"I had a lot of fun in the final but I got a little bit nervous with my jumping! I tried a double loop but it wasn’t very good and also a push loop at the end of the heat. I needed that good jump but I did not land it very well. I think the final was very good though. I like to show the people that we can sail good, that is the most important thing!"