2001 Gran Canaria PWA Grand Slam Day 7
Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Proof, Neil Pryde) finished off a thrilling week of men’s wave action today in style today here at the Gran Canaria, PWA Grand Slam. After a tense final held in survival conditions against Vidar Jensen (Drops, North) of Norway, the ‘Terminator’ was awarded victory by the five man judges panel with a 3-2 decision in his favour. Today’s results mean that after two men’s double elimination’s we have a unanimous Dunkerbeck victory, Kevin Pritchard has finished in second overall, Vidar Jensen in third and Nik Baker fourth.
It’s hard to describe how windy it was here at the contest site today. We have been hammered by screaming winds once again sometimes gusting in excess of 60 knots.
The flags lining the beach now read ‘GRA’ ‘CANA’ the other half of them has been disintegrated by the winds. The women’s wave event had to be put on hold in the interests of safety! It was deemed by the race committee that conditions were simply too ballistic for them to compete. Nuclear winds once again have turned the sea into a mass frenzy of white caps! Despite the severe conditions the show went on and the second men’s double elimination was drawn to a conclusion late this afternoon.
Vidar Jensen came through several tough heats on his path to the final. In three consecutive mind blowing heats the radical Norwegian took out Jason Polakow (JP, Neil Pryde) followed by Matt Pritchard (AHD,Gaastra), and then finally World Champion, Kevin Pritchard (Bic, Gaastra).
In the final Dunkerbeck opened his account with a monster stalled forward loop. We are talking thirty-foot plus here. Jensen replied by landing two clean back loops on his first run out from the beach. Dunkerbeck stormed back with a massive one handed back loop. The two locals seemed engaged in a duel, matching each other move for move as the heat progressed. Jensen found better waves but was in dire need of a massive jump to round out his score sheet. In the dying seconds he hit a logo high ramp at full speed, throwing himself into a sky-high back loop. He was up in the air so long that the wind took him backwards so that he landed on the crest of the same wave from where he had taken off! Jensen simply could not hang on and probably lost the final as a result.
Dunkerbeck has dominated here in Pozo. His jumps have been higher, his wave riding more radical and his ability to cope with the extreme winds never in doubt. After two whole double elimination’s he was the only sailor to remain unbeaten. The ‘terminator’ has terminated!
Will the wind ever die down here in Pozo? We still have three days to go. If the conditions stay the same it could be deemed too dangerous to continue with the freestyle. The second double elimination of women’s wave performance also has to be decided. Its not often we get to complain that it’s too windy on the PWA World Tour! We are hoping that the things will calm down over the next few days so we can carry on competing. History is in the making right here in Pozo. It’s now official...This is the windiest most radical windsurfing competition ever!
BJORN DUNKERBECK (PROOF, NEIL PRYDE)
"I guess that’s it! It was close, finals can be like that. I didn’t get the best waves because I could not really find them. I had a couple of good high jumps. I got on a few waves on the outside but when they got to their breaking point they were disappearing. I went out quite far a couple of times to find something bigger but it wasn’t quite working out that way. In the end I just went in and rode whatever I could find. I guess my jumping made the difference. I think this has been the best contest ever in Europe. We have never had a day as good as yesterday in the history of Pozo. Hopefully it will be even better next year"
VIDAR JENSEN (DROPS, NORTH)
"We are used to these conditions so it wasn’t too bad out there. I had a great time, especially in the final even though I was really tired. Bjorn had a slight advantage with his weight. I think it was five knots too much for me. I would have liked a little bit less wind but still I can do pretty well in these winds. I was really happy with my waves but did not really stick the last few jumps. If I had of landed them, I probably would of won the last final. On my last back loop I went so far backwards that I landed in the same wave that I took off from. It was super close and I am really stoked. I finished in third place overall here. I have had a great week, probably one of the better wave events in Europe ever! This was probably the hardest competition I have ever done in my eleven years of doing the world cup. I am really happy"
JASON POLAKOW (JP, NEIL PRYDE)
"The conditions are the best there has ever been here. It has been fantastic. I have really been enjoying the sailing, it has been unreal. Who ever wins here is a true winner of really good conditions. There have been a few gusts that must have been 60-65 knots, maybe even more every now and then. I was on a 3.4m sail but should have been on smaller. I was happy with my sailing today and I feel I have improved at sailing here in Pozo. This has been the best Pozo ever!"
ANTOINE ALBEAU (AHD, NEIL PRYDE)
"I like it when the wind is like this. I can’t remember ever seeing better conditions here. I think this is the best event we have ever had here in Pozo."