PWA World Tour 2006 End of Season Round-Up
The 2006 season has witnessed great progress for Professional Windsurfing both on and off the water. Just as the standard required to compete at this level has gone through the ceiling, fresh faces and exceptional talent have un-deniably raised interest in the sport we showcase. Additional tour stops in locations such as Belgium, Israel, Turkey and a return to Austria, further prove windsurfing’s growing global appeal.
What’s more, in his first year as Chairmen, Jimmy Diaz has been instrumental in negotiating additional exciting competition venues. The new-look website has enjoyed massive increases in traffic and media interest, with its live event coverage, constructors tables, and regular daily news content featuring the hottest riders, moves and characters in the worlds best sport.
These developments have earned the PWA further commitment from the industry, as more brands signed up for corporate membership, and the chance to test their products at the highest level. Quatro International, Exocet, T1, RRD and Simmer sails have all made welcome additions to the scene, and we look forward to marketing competitive windsurfing together with all our partners for many seasons to come.
Insane indoor Action
With a € 75,000 Prize Purse up for grabs and honour at stake, the season kicked off in the 70m indoor pool, at the 2006 London Boat Show in Association with the Daily Mail.
This, the PWA’s third visit to the Docklands Excel Center, saw limits pushed more than ever, including the first ever double forward loop landed indoors! French jump wizard Yannick Anton wowed the crowds of over 7,000 who witnessed his amazing displays both in formal competition, and a no-holds barred expression session that whipped the UK fans into a frenzy.
Shrugging off ghosts from a nasty injury in the pool here back in 2005, multiple Indoor World Champion Nik Baker (K-66 Mistral / North) took the Slalom final ahead of Campello after 2 rounds of best of three, man-on-man face-offs. Heavyweight Josh Angulo (CV-1) used both guile and brute force to secure third place ahead of lightweights and race specialists alike.
It was clear the freestyle was going to be tougher than ever as Campello scored the maximum 30 points to go into the final along with 2005 freestyle winner Nicolas Akgazciyan (F-400, Neil Pryde), and practice session favorite 17 yr old Jose Estredo (V-1, Fanatic/ North). In the end, despite youthful Venezuelan Estredo’s amazing shaka's in both directions, it was Frenchman Akgazciyan who took victory with tricks like his switch stance clew first puneta diablo’s! Estredo settled for second and newcomer Antxon Otaegui (E-169 JP / NeilPryde) sent out a warning signal for the rest of the season with 3rd – not bad for the young Spaniard, who took his first ever drop down the indoor ramp switch stance…
The Moreno twins showed they are the leading force indoors despite tough opposition from up and coming sailors like Nayra Alonso (E4- Fanatic / Severne). Daida Moreno (E-64 Mistral / North) won the freestyle with cleanly executed tricks ahead of her sister Iballa Moreno (E-63 Mistral North), who pushed hard and crashed out of the pool and into the stands in her radical efforts to raise the game! Nayra Alonso claimed a hard fought third.
The women’s action continued in the jump sessions. Crashes all round kept the game wide open until the dying moments of the final. In the end it was Daida Moreno who edged ahead as Iballa fell, letting Junko Nagoshi (J-11 F2 / Simmer) take a well-deserved second place.
Closing the Show was the third and final men’s jump final. Although he’d failed to qualify for the final showdown, Campello’s victories in the first two rounds had already secured him the jump title. Consistently landed, super high back-arched backloop’s from Alex Mussolini’s (E-30 JP / NeilPryde) meant he finished second, while superb height and one footed forwards helped the judges award third place to Yannick Anton - who in the complementary super session afterwards, pulled off that sky high double forward as Kauli Seadi (BRA-253 Quatro / Naish) went for the elusive superman!
Backing up their 2005 titles, Ricardo Campello (V-111, JP/ Neil Pryde) and Daida Moreno (E-64, Mistral/ North) took centre stage at the prize giving, taking home the overall 2006 London Boat Show titles.
The 2006 PWA Samsung Mobile Indoor. Ghent, Belgium: A brand new event on the calendar saw record entries and action hungry crowds. Flanders Expo center in Ghent, had freestyle, slalom and jumping on the cards in the massive 80 x 40 metre pool! Significantly longer and wider than the London Pool, competitors had more space to go faster, higher and bigger to earn their share of the €50,000 prize money!
Consistency from Kauli Seadi brought him victory in the Slalom ahead of strong challenges from flyweight Kevin Mevissen (H-79 JP / NeilPryde), and indoor legend Robert Teritehau (F-2000, North Sails). Teritehau however lived up to his reputation for winning over the crowd, making spectacular jump exits from the pool into the stands at the end of each race! With Daida Moreno unavailable it was all rounder Karin Jaggi (Z-14 F2 / North) who claimed the women’s slalom title ahead of Iballa Moreno and Silvia Alba (E-67).
Enjoying the wider pool the freestylers went to town and really raised the bar. Estredo ensured there were no mistakes this time and won ahead of his team mate and compatriot Douglas ‘Cheo’ Diaz (V-34 Fanatic / North), and an on-form Kevin Mevissen - clearly benefiting from the support of the Benelux crowd. Years of experience told for Jaggi as she made perfect tricks in the women’s freestyle, her polished repertoire winning hands down despite fluid spocks from, Silvia Alba in second and Iballa Moreno in third.
Young Brazilian sensation Marcilio Browne (BRA-105 Naish / Naish) brought his talent indoors at Ghent to take the Men’s Jump victory. Few errors from French trickster Thomas Traversa (F-3 Tabou / Gaastra) secured him second place and Yannick Anton, also from the south of France, tried frantically to repeat his London feat, but failed with the double loop attempts and had to settle for third.
Further Indoor events are on the cards for 2007 so be sure to watch www.pwaworldtour.com regularly for news of an expanded series for this unique discipline
The 2006 Surf World Cup - Neusiedler See, Austria: This landmark event in windsurfing history marked a unique collaboration between the PWA World Tour and European Freestyle Pro Tour. With full World Cup status and an entry list to match, it opened the race for the men’s PWA World Freestyle Title, whilst also counting towards the EFPT ranking. Known as a huge festival event and an incredible party atmosphere, Neusiedle was an original tour stop when PWA Freestyle emerged in the late ‘90’s. The first round was completed, but sadly conditions failed to materialise for the rest of the event, and no formal result was determined. Nevertheless, outstanding hospitality and entertainment by the Austrian hosts made it a favorite amongst all the riders, despite the battle for the € 30,000 prize fund remaining incomplete.
The women’s Freestyle challenge opened up at the 2006 Gran Canaria PWA Grand Slam. There were rumours of new talent in the run up to this event, and these were immediately confirmed when some new names were seen out freesailing. Last season it was Aruban teenager Sara Quita Offringa (ARU-91 Starboard / Maui Sails) who showed up and shook up the scene with her fluid style and technical repertoire. This year it was Laure Treboux (SUI-4 Naish / Naish) who rocked the boat, showing outstanding skill with flowing routines of high-level tricks. Two double-eliminations were run throughout the 10-day contest. Daida Moreno won the first double elimination, and the crowd got a treat for the second final when Daida Moreno and Karin Jaggi demonstrated just how high the level of women’s freestyle is.
Treboux made an outstanding debut finish to her first ever PWA event by scoring a solid third in both doubles, and Offringa was unlucky not to progress against Treboux when they met in the double eliminations final stages. With the flatter water of Sotavento beckoning, the question was whether or not Moreno could hold her own against the new-skool girls away from the power-move oriented Pozo waves?
Next up for all freestylers was The 2006 Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam, at Sotavento beach. Hyped-up pre-season favorites, Taty Frans (NB-9 Starboard / MauiSails) and Jose ‘Gollito’ Estredo both looked dangerous instantly, in the excellent conditions that allowed two double eliminations to be completed.
Sure enough it was Gollito who proved to be the form player that won the first single elimination, after beating fellow favorite Taty Frans in the semi, and Taty's brother Tonky in a thrilling final. A double elimination was run straight away, and when the dust had settled after a smoking Frans vs. Frans semi-final it was Taty Frans left standing to face Estredo.
This time the final was much closer as Frans took the win and forced a re-sail. As each rider matched the other trick for trick it was only in the dying seconds that Gollito notched up enough points to take the win, finally using his trademark trick the 'Burner' to sink Frans' hopes. With time to start a second single and double elimination competiton got straight underway.
As many top names like 3 times champion Ricardo Campello failed to advance once more, it was another fresh face in the form of local boy Otaegui who triumphed over Estredo in the second single elimination final. Once the second double elimination got underway however, Estredo fought back with venom despite nearly falling victim to Norman Gunzlein (G-186 JP / NeilPryde), who was coming into some late form. Sadly Otaegui broke his foot in the pre-final warm up, leaving him 3rd overall regardless. Despite the second double elimination final going un-sailed, Gollito had done more than enough to seal a crucial event win by this stage - his first major victory outside of the indoor arena - as Taty Frans cemented second.
Just as predicted in the women’s contest, Offringa charge ahead winning the single elimination against Treboux, who’d ousted Daida Moreno in the semis. Moreno came back with all guns blazing for the double elimination and beat Treboux to advance and face Offringa. In the final Moreno capitalized on the young Aruban’s mistakes, won, and forced a re-sail for the event title. This time however the Caribbean’s best female windsurfer stayed calm and took her first event win, aged just 15, just ahead of Moreno, while Treboux calmly accepted an impressive third place! That wrapped up the title race for 2006, meaning Moreno just clung onto her crown, despite Offringa and Treboux sending clear threats for coming seasons with their second and third place finishes respectively.
The Colgate PWA World Cup, Sylt: Despite a red-hot super-session won by Gollito, light wind conditions meant the final event for the men’s freestyle tour in Germany achieved no formal result. Estredo therefore made history as the youngest ever PWA champion. Joining him on the podium were Frans and Otaegui, who despite all being great friends, will no doubt be training hard to fight it out in what’s sure to be the toughest season ever in 2007.
The PWA’s unique and dynamic obstacle race format tests both the racing and freestyle skills of the world’s best windsurfers. Returning once more to the bay of Roses, Spain, for the 2006 Catalunya Costa Brava PWA World Cup Super-X, a strong fleet of challengers were eager to knock 2 times World champion Matt Pritchard (US-10 Tabou / Gaastra) off his pedestal.
Fluky winds tested throughout the week but during five races the tension soared as Kevin Pritchard (US-3 Starboard / MauiSails), Matt Pritchard and Antoine Albeau (F-192 Starboard / NeilPryde) jostled for pole position, and the lions share of the €30,000 on offer. The lead changed hands several times, but in the end it came down to a photo finish, the closest in PWA history in fact, which awarded Kevin the final race win, event win and tour lead.
Directly after the Catalan event was the 2006 PWA Costa Teguise Super-X World Cup in Lanzarote, which once more included a one-stop championship for the women’s fleet, as well being the final event for the men’s title challenge. But no-one would’ve guessed the battle to win both the event, and the 2006 championships would go down to the wire in such spectacular fashion.
Nine full races were completed for both men and women, with a roller coaster ride of lead changes by each days end in the men’s fleet. Antoine Albeau and Kevin Pritchard fought neck and neck, both relying on discards to get back in the game as the pressure-cooker environment forced even the best into mistakes. One final error cost Pritchard the title in a nail-biting final day finish that saw Albeau deservedly crowned World Super-X Champion. Kevin had to settle for second place and was joined by brother Matt on the podium in third position.
Daida Moreno stood firm in her quest to wrestle the title away from 2005 Champion Jaggi, regardless of the Swiss all-rounder's expertise and constant pressure, which was ultimately only enough to secure second place. Iballa Moreno shrugged off stiff competition from Maui-based Junko Nagoshi to claim third. Fierce competition and testing courses helped this event demonstrate exactly how Super-X is the perfect example of all-round windsurfing skill put to the ultimate test.
Supersonic Slalom 42
Now in its second season, Slalom 42 is the PWA’s Production Equipment Racing discipline, where nothing but high speed and tactical skill are required to survive. Starting off at the Gran Canaria PWA Grand Slam a full men’s fleet showed up to compete. During a mix of short courses and long distance full fleet starts that tested the full range of racing skills, it soon became clear who was to be dominant. Antoine Albeau, living up to his title ambitions, took a stunning 11 wins from 12 races, humiliating 2005 champions Micah Buzianis (USA-34 JP / NeilPryde) and Bjorn Dunkerbeck (E-11 T1 / North) in the process. Dunkerbeck headed a fleet that was often a country mile behind Albeau notched up a second overall finish and Kevin Pritchard claimed third in what was turning out to be an excellent season for the 30 yr old Californian.
After the nuclear winds of Pozo, the fleet took the short journey to Sotavento for the 2006 Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam for both men’s and women’s race action. Over five thrilling days of racing, the excellent Slalom 42 section of this event was noticeably more closely contested after a total of 9 men’s races, and the maximum of 15 women’s races were completed. Albeau started this event looking likely to repeat his excellent form in Gran Canaria. Then, a couple of poor showings by the Frenchman meant that Dunkerbeck took control as the race for second and third place hotted up between Finian Maynard (KV-11 F2 / NeilPryde) and Buzianis. However nerves and mistakes all-round on day four allowed Albeau to re-claim the lead. Maynard, who finished up second remained event winner Albeau’s biggest threat, ahead of Buzianis in third.
Karin Jaggi took an exceptional victory in Sotavento, which decided in the dying moments as Valerie Ghibaudo (FRA-444 T1), who took the runners up spot, and race specialist Allison Shreeve (AUS-911 F2 / NeilPryde), in third pressured to the end. Shreeve brought her tactical prowess to challenge the starts and generate speed, but her gybing and finishing skills were no match for Ghibaudo and Jaggi’s.
Fresh from competition in the Canaries the circus rolled into the much welcomed new location of Alacati, Turkey for the joint sanctioned The 2006 Alacati PWA World Cup / IFCA Slalom World Championships. This men’s and women’s event served dual purpose as a counting PWA tour event and as a one off production equipment World championship. Crystal clear waters and perfect side- shore winds promised the perfect set-up for one of the most exciting windsurfing disciplines.
Straight away Maynard laid down the gauntlet to Albeau by taking the first two race wins, while confusion, mistakes and bad luck threw the ladies title race wide open. The third race victory, which in fact turned out to be the last, was eventually claimed by Maynard despite Albeau snapping at his heels after several re-starts in light and gusty conditions. The Women’s fleet was tightly contested between Formula Windsurfing specialist Allison Shreeve, Verena Fauster (ITA-31 F2 / Gaastra) and Karin Jaggi. As in Fuerteventura Shreeve had shown great starting skill and boardspeed, but was once again outplayed in the turning game. Jaggi, despite her equipment not arriving on time, had done enough to secure another PWA Slalom 42 World title, but had to settle for second place for the event behind Fauster who’d discovered a taste for victory.
The final showdown for the men was at the mammoth Colgate PWA World Cup in Sylt. All but disaster for Albeau would guarantee him his second 2006 World title, and so the battle for the remaining podium places intensified. On day two racing started and in the tricky light airs, equipment failure, mistakes and disqualification immediately meant a handful of top dogs were behind in the game. Micah Buzianis however, capitalized on others misfortune and managed to keep it together and take the lead after two races. A few more days of no wind had the front-runners sweating it out in the Indian summer conditions, all anxious to reach the vital fourth race discard. Some cut-throat racing conditions arrived on day 6 that gave Maynard a much needed race win boost, and some stronger winds aided Dunkerbeck’s cause, gifting him the chance to score a bullet. One final race gave Buzianis a final stab at the event win, which he took regardless of his heavyweight status in the dropping winds. Albeau too shrugged off much lighter sailors by claiming second, ahead of a resurgent Arnon Dagan.
Albeau’s second place finish sealed his second title claim and polished off an exceptional seasons performance from the formidable French competitor. Buzianis dug himself out of a difficult early season period after radical changes of sponsors and showed immense determination to charge into the second overall spot for the year. Kevin Pritchard’s total windsurfing skill earned him third overall for 2006 in what was a stunning season for the American who has proven to be one of the sports greatest all rounders.
The 2006 wave title quest started in a new location for the PWA at Bat Galim near Haifa, Israel. A long standing independent event, The Red Bull Storm Rider 2006 earned PWA qualifier status and surprised many with world class waves in this unlikely Mediterranean location. PWA rider Arnon Dagan (ISR-1 Fanatic / NeilPryde) was instrumental in promoting the contest, which also served as an important protest against a proposed marina development that could almost certainly destroy the quality reef break.
A nine-day waiting period kept the Israeli and international fleet on hold until the last day when awesome conditions arrived. Despite an ankle injury in the early heats, Dagan advanced to the final to face Dutch powerhouse Ben van der Steen (NED-57 Exocet / Naish). Unable to quite match Van der Steen’s solid display of jumping and riding in the logo-high sets waves, Dagan settled for second, as Cyril Moussilmani (F-71 Fanatic / North) beat Eyal Shelef (ISR-43, Quatro / Neil Pryde) for the third spot.
Returning to the majestic Estoril coastline near Lisbon, Portugal, both the men’s and ladies title wannabes then hit Cascais for the PWA World Cup Guincho Wave Contest at Praia do Guincho. Renowned for powerful waves and strong starboard tack jumping winds, Guincho tests all comers with its bone crunching shore break waves. But with pride and €45,000 at stake the cream of world windsurfing was sure to stay out of the comfort zone.
Uncharacteristic light winds and soaring temperatures kept everyone on tenterhooks throughout the holding period. Eventually after a week of teasing and speculation, patience was rewarded in a fitting style with vintage Guincho conditions in front of a packed beach.
2005 Guincho winner Matt Pritchard crashed out courtesy of his brother Kevin, who advanced to the final against Josh Angulo. Pritchard, finding the conditions similar to his native Californian beach beaks won through with a tactical display against the radical Cap Verde based wave specialist. 2005 Champion Kauli Seadi of Brazil just edged out Brit Nik Baker for third place in a spectacular loser’s final.
The women’s fleet had many starboard tack specialists flying in from Maui to chance their luck, but in the end it was competition savvy from top riders Jaggi and Daida Moreno that saw them top the leader board. A brutal battle raged as the sun set on ever improving conditions, leaving Moreno as the winner after a close final, and her sister Iballa just edging out Ho’okipa local Junko Nagoshi for third place. Guincho had delivered in spectacular last minute fashion, and turned the screw on anyone hoping to make an impact on this tough competitive arena.
The marathon event that is the Gran Canaria PWA Grand Slam event was next, with its nuclear winds testing the all round ability of the men’s and women’s wave sailing fleets.Perhaps unsurprisingly, locals and Pozo specialists dominated, and it looked likely that younger talent would finally displace many old-skool competitors.
Seasoned competitor Kevin Pritchard appeared to lead the single elimination final until Spanish sensation Victor Fernandez (E-42 Fanatic / Simmer) sprung into action with a flawless display of double forwards and push loop table tops that smashed Pritchard’s old-skool approach down. Then in the double elimination Seadi emerged as the contender to take on Fernandez. A mind-bending array of tricks and rides from both sailors treated spectators to the highest performance Pozo wave final ever witnessed. But it was Fernandez who finally matched his reputation by delivering an outstanding victory. Pritchard had done enough to secure third overall.
After tough opposition from newcomers, the stage was set for a classic Moreno vs. Moreno Pozo women’s double elimination final. Iballa showed impressive wave selection and riding skill, but couldn’t match Daida’s jumping display that included one handed forwards, and a clean double forward in addition to the regular arsenal of stunts. Perhaps unsurprisingly it was Jaggi who won the losers final and secured third, just ahead of local ripper Nayra Alonso (E-4 Fanatic /Severne).
The penultimate stop for the wave fleets was The Colgate PWA World Cup in Sylt, Germany, and the season’s largest prize purse (€ 105,000). Sylt, perhaps the sailors favourite event on tour, has seen countless world titles won and lost, and the greatest rivalries have all been settled over 23 consecutive seasons.
In bright sunshine, record-breaking crowds flocked to see their hero’s perform just as they have done in previous years, regardless of howling winds and rain. However another week long wait tortured the wave fleets, but this time no last minute reprieve materialised to give a result. There was some consolation when a spectacular un-official super session the day after the event treated the holiday crowds, won by Josh Angulo and Daida Moreno. All eyes then looked to the pinnacle in any windsurfer’s career – the Aloha Classic – and the final chance to prove themselves.
The 2006 PWA Aloha Classic - Presented by JP Australia: The final showdown between the top players could be settled in no better place than the North shore’s massive fall swells. Added to a formidable global entry list, the special 21st Anniversary Aloha Classic threw elite tour competitors, amongst the local legends of windsurfing’s spiritual home, and their specialist knowledge of Ho’okipa's perfect waves.
A special qualifying event gave any outside challengers a chance to win wildcards into the main event, with many well-known names from Maui having to earn their place in the main draw! After the qualifiers, yet another agonising wait was in store for the front-runners hoping to settle their title hopes.
Repeating the trend of the entire season, the wait continued until the final two days, when super light, but contestable winds and good sized surf tested even the best, making expert wave selection vital to avoid the infamous rocks. In the end it was some of Ho’okipa's favorite sons who came out on top. Josh Angulo beat Kevin Pritchard to win the single elimination, before fending off a solid challenge from Jason Polakow (KA-1111 JP / NeilPryde), who’d charged his way back up through the losers bracket, eventually beating Levi Siver (USA- Starboard / North) to secure his place in the final. In the end a mistimed hit in the dying minutes of the final cost Polakow dearly, and so Angulo became a worthy event winner with his outrageously radical approach in the fluky conditions.
Iballa Moreno stood firm winning the single elimination ahead of Karin Jaggi. Iballa’s riding skill left the judges in little doubt who was best, regardless of the local base opposition such as Junko Nagoshi and Jennifer Henderson, who came third and fourth before time ran out to start a double elimination.
Kevin Pritchard’s 3rd place finish was enough for him to take his second World title after a calculated and focused effort. Iballa Moreno’s victory also won her second wave title after a long and testing season.
A brief winter period of rest and recuperation will be followed by intense off season training and development by all the riders and manufacturers, before what promises to be one of the busiest and most intense seasons ever.
Our thanks go out to all organisers, riders, members, and crew who’ve competed in a sporting manner and contributed to another fascinating season. Here’s looking forward to the next great year on tour!
© PWA / Brian McDowell