The PWA Aloha Classic presented by JP-Australia – Final Day
The decision was made to run straight through the men’s double elimination ladder today as there would not have been time to run the men and women side by side. This meant that Daida Ruano Moreno (North Sails, Mistral) was not able to make a come back, and that her twin sister, Iballa Ruano Moreno (North Sails, Mistral) was crowned Women’s Wave World Champion for the second time in her career.
The men’s ladder saw many nail bitingly close heats in the classic Ho’okipa conditions. With the waves topping off at about mast high and light, side offshore winds, all the competitors were notching up some very high scores indeed.
Kauli Seadi (Naish Sails, Quatro International) made a gallant come back in his fight for the world title, fighting his way through four heats but finally met his match once again against Ricardo Campello (NeilPryde, JP) and Victor Fernandez (Simmer Style, Fanatic). Fernandez opened the door to his own world title dreams by knocking out Kauli but then had the wind knocked out of his sails straight away by an amazingly on-form Campello and Matt Pritchard (Gaastra, Tabou).
Campello stamped his mark on wave sailing today, showing that he is by no means just an immensely talented freestyler. He pulled off one of his first ever goiters at Ho’okipa in his first heat today and then backed it up by doing another one in each of his next two heats. These spectacular goiters, combined with some very powerful cutbacks and aerials saw him all the way through to the battle for 4th and 5th place, where he was finally overcome by the incredible power and style of JP team mate Jason Polakow (NeilPryde, JP).
Scott McKercher (Severne, Starboard) was obviously not happy to have been knocked out so early in the single elimination as he set out to gouge his way through the double. He battled it out alongside teammate Boujmaa Guilloul (Severne, Starboard), neither man wanting to miss out on the chance to sail another 12 minutes in the perfect, crowd-free Ho’okipa conditions. In the end, it was experience that won over new-school trickery as McKercher and Matt Pritchard advanced ahead of Guilloul and Traversa.
McKercher was finally stopped in his tracks by two more of the old guard: Nik Baker (North Sails, Mistral) and Matt Pritchard. Baker was unlucky in his next heat to get caught on the inside in the fluky winds and was only able to catch one wave, which was not enough to see him through the heat. This left Matt Pritchard to face Ricardo in an aerial battle, which eventually ended up with Ricardo winning.
Once Polakow had started though, everybody thought there would be no stopping him. He showed his young team mate Campello just how well nearly 20 years of sailing at Ho’okipa has honed his timing and wave knowledge and sailed though unanimously into his next heat where he met Levi Siver, never a man to lie down and get beaten at Ho’okipa.
Theirs was a very close run heat with both Polakow and Siver scoring over 8 points for each of their two counting waves. It was a judgment call between powerful cutbacks and tweaked aerials but in the end it was the fluidity, speed and power of Polakow’s turns that won over Levi’s stylish tweaked aerials.
This left Polakow to face the newly crowned 2006 PWA world champion, Kevin Pritchard (MauiSails, Starboard). Wanting to come away from the event with an Aloha Classic title as well as the world title, Pritchard gave it his all, managing to throw in a clean and stylish backside 360 on his last wave of the heat. Nonetheless, it was again Polakow who came out on top with the most impressive gouge of the event. He wowed the spectators by throwing about 20 feet of spray from one of the most powerful and high-speed cut backs any of the judges could remember seeing at Ho’okipa.
Josh Angulo had to sit through the torment of watching a truly on fire Polakow advance through heat after heat on his warpath to meet the ex Maui local in the final. It just goes to show that nothing can faze a true champion as he went out there for that heat and gave everything he had without showing even a hint of nerves. Polakow had the chance to force a resail of the heat but his timing failed him on one of the best set waves in the heat and he was thrown over the front, leaving Josh to catch one more set wave and boost a huge, stylish aerial combined with a couple of solid turns to take the event win.
With that, the year 2006 comes to a close for the sailors on the PWA World Tour. We crown a new men’s and women’s world champion, both of them receiving this prestigious honor for the second time, so congratulations Josh Angulo for winning the event and Kevin Pritchard for his world title. Also congratulations to Iballa Ruano Moreno for taking the event win and her second PWA World Title.