2001 Gran Canaria PWA Grand Slam Day 10
The Gran Canaria PWA Grand Slam wound up here today with dramatic a conclusion. With winds blowing between 25 and 30 knots this morning it was decided to run a further single elimination of both men’s and women’s freestlyle. In the men’s single, sixteen year old Ricardo Campello (JP, Neil Pryde) of Venezuela sailed brilliantly throughout the day and was the surprise winner. In a close final against Vidar Jensen (North) of Norway, Campello landed an array of spocks, loops and difficult tricks in clinching victory. This must be one of the greatest achievements by such a young sailor in PWA history. Vidar jokingly commented after the final that he was old enough to be Ricardo’s father.
Campello had advanced through heats today over Francisco Goya (F2, Arrows), Michael Viscovich (Proof, Simmer) Kavli Seadi (Nasih boards, Naish Sails) Julien Taboulet (AHD, Neil Pryde) and Antoine Albeau (AHD, Neil Pryde) on his road to the final. Jensen meanwhile had beaten Dioni Guadagnino (JP, Neil Pryde) Orjan Jensen (Proof, North), Nik Baker (Mistral, North) and Kevin Pritchard (Bic, Gaastra).
The women’s final was won by Karin Jaggi (F2, Arrows) of Switzerland in a thrilling head to head against Daida Moreno (Mistral, North) of Spain. Daida had come through to the final after defeating her sister Iballa (Mistral, North) in the semi final. In the other semi Jaggi had advanced over Colette Gaudagnino (JP, Neil Pryde).
The effect these results have on the mathematics of the overall freestyle positions here in Gran Canaria mean that in the men’s division Antoine Albeau remained in first, Nik Baker second with Vidar Jensen moving up to third. The two sailors to really suffer today were Peter Volwater (F2, Arrows) who dropped down to 11th and Michael Viscovich who fell from 4th down to 12th. Competition can be very cruel sometimes!
In the women’s overall freestyle Iballa Moreno (Mistral, North) finished in top slot with Colette Guadagnino (JP, Neil Pryde) finishing in second, followed by Daida Moreno (Mistral, North) in third.
This years wave competition will almost certainly go down in history as the windiest and most radical in PWA history. We have completed two whole double elimination’s in both men’s and women’s divisions. Winds have reached ridiculous levels, at times gusting in excess of 60 knots. Some of the jumping we have seen here during the past week has been absolutely incredible. With sailors maxed out on their smallest sails hitting logo to mast high ramps at full speed the net results produced some enormous jumps. Bjorn Dunkerbeck, (Proof, Neil, Pryde), Vidar Jensen (North) Jonas Cebellos (Proof, Gaastra) Peter Volwater (F2, Arrows) and Kevin Pritchard (Bic, Gaastra) were standouts who racked up the most air miles this week.
In the men’s wave competition Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Proof, Neil Pryde) proved himself to be the superior sailor here at his home break. Dunkerbeck’s jumping throughout the contest was almost faultless. The big man was consistently higher and cleaner in the air than most of his opposition. His monster one handed back loops were particularly impressive. Dunkerbeck also excelled in the waves and he regularly nailed moves such as the backside 360 alongside his aggressive front side turns.
Current Overall World Champion Kevin Pritchard (Bic, Gaastra), Norwegian Wild Flyer Vidar Jensen (North) and Nik Baker (Mistral, North) all put up spirited challenges in the fight for the wave title. All three sailors faced Dunkerbeck in the various finals of the two double elimination’s but in the end the ‘Terminator’ proved too strong for his opposition and finished the contest with an unbeaten record.
The women’s competition was convincingly won by Daida Moreno (Mistral, North) with Karen Jaggi (F2, Arrows) and Iballa Moreno (Mistral, North) both sharing second place. Daida Moreno stood out from the fleet as the sailor most able to cope with the arduous conditions. Her performance included high push loops, cleanly landed back loops and an aggressive display of frontside and backside wave riding.
The competition will be wrapped up tonight with the closing ceremony which is being held at the Gloria Palace Hotel. Traditionally this is a big night where sailors make the most of the opportunity to let off some steam. Holidays Bar is often the next port of call once the awards ceremony is over. After that sailors will most likely party on into the night at the infamous ‘Pit’ in Maspalomas!
The PWA World Tour now moves over to the neighbouring Island of Fuerteventura for a Grand Prix Freestyle event which commences on the 27th of July. Antoine Albeau will be fighting hard to repeat his success here in Gran Canaria but the with likes of Nik Baker, Josh Stone and Matt Pritchard breathing down his neck the battle for the Overall Freestyle title is still wide open.
"I am very happy and excited and I can’t believe this has happened! I sailed my best heat in the semi final and wasn’t sure if I had won against Vidar. I was not nervous at all!"
"I made it to the final through some pretty close heats. I finished in third overall so I am really stoked, that means I finished in the top three in both disciplines. The conditions were a little bit up and down in the final. I was happy to be there though. It is super cool that we have guys like Ricardo doing so well. I am really happy for him that he beat me. He is such a talent and it is good to see these new young guys up there!"
"I was pleased to make the final. I was wishing for wind this morning but it really didn’t look so good. It was really gusty today. It actually finished quite strong, I was on a 3.6m in the final. It was definitely tough conditions that’s for sure. I am glad it’s all over now…time for some rest!"
"I really wasn’t expecting to have another round of freestyle today. I am really happy I made the final. I beat my sister in the semi final but she won overall anyway so she won’t be too upset!"