The 2006 Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam Day Nine
A day full of drama kicked off when Taty Frans staged an incredible fight back in the men’s double elimination. Frans, who’d crashed out early in the single elimination, advanced all the way to the finals by beating Anthony Ruenes (F-85, Tabou / Gaastra), Kiri Thode (NB-61 Gaastra / Starboard), and his brother Tonky Frans (NB-7 F2 / Gaastra), before facing up to single elimination victor Estredo. In the first of two finals, Frans played to the crowd and looked superior as he racked up trick after trick including a ponch into flaka! After careful consideration the judges awarded Frans the win which meant there had to be a re-sail to decide the winner. As tension mounted on the beach the battle re-commenced. Both sailors were pulling double flakas, ponch flakas and then ‘Golito’ Estredo pulled his trademark burner (A funnel ponch), and a massive one-handed shaka to take a narrow victory with a 3 to 2 decision from the judging panel.
Laure Treboux completed a spirited fight back in the women’s double elimination by beating Yoli de Brendt (V-26 Fanatic / North), Iballa Moreno (E-63, Mistral/ North Sails), Silvia Alba (E-67), and Daida Moreno (E-64, Mistral/ North Sails) on her way to the final against single elimination winner Offringa. In an epic semi-final against Daida Moreno, the Swiss freestyle specialist nailed a grubby diablo and clew first puneta to seal the win over the reigning Queen of freestyle. The final against Offringa certainly entertained the crowds, but Offringa’s range of switch stance moves and a smooth flaka gave her a unanimous verdict from the judges.
The second single elimination was scheduled to start immediately as there were excellent conditions for competition. The day of surprises continued in the new seeding as Victor Fernandez (E-42 Fanatic / Simmer) crashed out early to Nicholas Akgazciyan (F400 NeilPryde), and Anthony Ruenes (F-85, Tabou / Gaastra) fell out of the running after his downhaul exploded ending his hopes of advancing. More big names fell with Kauli Seadi (BRA-253, Quatro / Naish), and world champion Ricardo Campello (V-111, JP/ Neil Pryde) also under-performing once again. One of the most impressive performances of the day was by Norman Gunzlein (G-186, JP / NeilPryde) who battled through from the first round heats all the way to the loser’s final, beating Ruenes, Campello, and Kiri Thode (NB-61 Gaastra / Starboard), before losing to Estredo in the semi finals.
The real dark horse of today was Antxon Otaegui, whose smooth repertoires in the difficult choppy conditions booked him a place in the final against Estredo. On top of all the normal moves both sailors were pulling huge air flakas, switch stance flakas and shakas, but then Otaegui suddenly landed a perfect air chacho. Unbelievably Estredo then threw an air chacho of his own in response, right behind Otaegui. After taking all the performance criteria into account gave the judge’s decision swung in favour of Otaegui with a 3-2 verdict giving the Spaniard the last laugh of the day.
Despite today’s insane action and drama, the focus now shifts to tomorrow’s second double elimination, and a positive forecast for action promises to give a fascinating conclusion to this event. It seems Estredo really is the man to beat this year, as so far in 2006 it has been young talent setting the pace, despite Taty Frans appearing to be the young Venezuelans principal threat for this event title. It could be that an experienced head like Frans might just have what it takes. In the women’s fleet the pressure must be all on Laure Treboux as the only one who can push Offringa hard for the event title.
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