The 2007 Costa Teguise Grand Slam - Event Summary and Final Day Report
Perfect freestyle conditions meant there was no delay in getting the first double elimination of the year underway. There were a few shock exits, namely the Frans brothers who couldn’t seem to perform to their usual standard, but, many were excited about the potential comeback of Ricardo Campello (JP / NeilPryde) who’d dipped below the radar in 2006 and fought his way up to the final stages, including an amazing Pushloop-Vulcan in the single elimination final.
However, despite a bit of a fright from Campello Jose Estredo (Fanatic / North) dug deep to secure the win after another all-Venezuelan final in the double elimination.
Kiri Thode (Starboard / Gaastra) fended-off any other pretenders to defend the third place spot.
Daida Moreno (North) fended off the new-wave of ladies freestyle talent despite the standard rocketing in the off-season. Aruban Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / NeilPryde) sealed second place after halting Laure Treboux’s (Naish / Naish) remarkable fight back in its tracks.
Moreno was also using the sizable ramps on the Las Cucharas reef to her advantage as the younger girls focused more on technical sliding tricks.
Some epic surf-slalom conditions and logo-high surf hindered the crew’s chances of safely setting a course. The decision to switch back to Freestyle was taken and a second single elimination was completed.
Anthony Ruenes (Tabou / Gaastra) and Marcilio Browne (Mistral / Gaastra) sprung into form but couldn’t displace Thode or Estredo who met in a tense final. Estredo was injured, but his combo moves gave him the win even though Thode must’ve notched-up a record amount of tricks in a heat.
In the women’s final Moreno fell a fair bit leaving Offringa to punish her with her impressive array of the latest switch-stance tricks.
More solid surf made for a gruelling day with the maximum 4 races run across the reef on the third day. A mixed bag of results were thrown up but Bjorn Dunkerbeck (T1 / North) came out as the event leader after 4 separate race winners in Micah Buzianis (JP / NeilPryde), Dan Ellis (Fanatic / Naish) – the half-fleet race victor, Pieter Bijl (Fanatic / NeilPryde) and Dunkerbeck himself.
The crowds on the beachside grandstand were thrilled as the heats streaked through the gnarly waves and back the finish line under their noses on the breakwater.
An entertaining day meant both Freestyle and Racing were run for the spectators and there was even some left-over swell to throw into the mix.
In the morning the 2nd double elimination of the freestyle was completed and Campello’s hopes of a fight back to the final were dashed. He scrapped well through 6 heats to reach the last three, but young Kiri Thode spoilt the chances of a Margaritan party for the final.
Just prior to the final Estredo injured his foot but soldiered on to defeat Thode and still pull-of his trademark moves such as the one-handed burner through the pain to win.
Sarah-Quita Offringa and Daida Moreno met once more after Treboux failed to barge her way into the final. Offringa made it 1-1 between her and Moreno with a solid heat as Moreno floundered and fell.
In the afternon's slalom racing Dunkerbeck wasn’t messing about and set to on building an event lead by taking 2 wins from the 3 races run that afternoon. Finian Maynard (F2 / NeilPryde) won the third race as the stronger wind favoured the heavyweights. Tour leader Antoine Albeau (Starboard / NeilPryde) grafted hard to hang on to his smallest registered sail, (A 7.8sqm !), in wind of up to around 30 knots.
Another Estredo vs. Thode final surfaced after the young Bonaire youngster brushed aside all pretenders. Once more, Thode’s work rate was exceptional as he performed an amazing array and number of tricks, but Estredo’s higher scoring moves and unique stunts awarded him the win.
The women’s final was controversial in that opinion on the beach was divided one who they thought had won, but the judges were unanimous in a 5-0 decision in Offringa’s favour. That settled the tie between her and Moreno and awarded her the event win and the tour lead going into the next event in Gran Canaria.
Lighter winds than previous days made for ideal slalom conditions, but this didn’t exactly favour the heavyweights. Antoine Albeau finally overtook Bjorn Dunkerbeck to seize the event lead. Kevin Pritchard snuck into second overall after victory in 2 out of 3 of the day’s races – the third was won by Britain’s Ross Williams. That left Dunkerbeck in third overall as the final day approached
Final Day Report
First-up was the completion of 11th race left unfinished in dying wind on day 6.
This day of nerves started when Dunkerbeck couldn’t make it out of his semi-final heat. Both Kevin Pritchard and Jimmy Diaz (F2 / North) enjoyed the lighter winds in the final, but it was another lightweight, light wind specialist - Gonzalo Costa Hoevel (F2 / NeilPryde) - who won first race of the day. ‘All day long it looked like the pin end was the favored end to start at, so with around 30 seconds or so to go I went over, just behind Kevin, but, I went over the top of him on the first reach, gybed first and accelerated away and from then I was gone and I just made safe gybes to secure the win. It felt great as yesterday I got a second and today a first’ said the Argentinean race specialist.
More anxiety got to the top names in the twelfth race. Even Albeau failed to make final and neither did Pritchard as the event lead was left on a knife-edge. In the rankings this also intensified the race for third as the final race of the event loomed.
As the tension go to everyone there were several re-starts and disqualifications as no less than 5 of the finalists were sent back to the beach for premature starts. Eventually Dunkerbeck won easily, using an 8.3, he crossed before anyone and drove it home ruthlessly all the way to the finish line.
Commenting on the scrap for third place overall, the multiple champ explained his approach for the concluding races. ‘I basically had to cover Micah all day and not take risks. Antoine had it in the bag pretty much and so I had to just be sensible and book my podium slot to keep myself in the running for the end of year title’
Arnon Dagan (Fanatic / NeilPryde) earned himself a consolatory win in the 13th elimination. ‘I said before the start that I have amazing speed and as I've had such a terrible event I knew it would be a kind of joke if I didn’t take at least one win. Before the race I changed onto my 90 board and used a 7.8, and I knew the pin-end would be the one to go for, plus I knew Kevin would be there too, as always. We sailed downwind for ages but maybe he got caught in the pack but I was just focused on hitting the pin and then I knew if I was in front no-one would catch me to the finish’
Last years champ Albeau had Albeau was modest as ever about his intelligently plotted victory. ‘I’m glad I won here as it’s my second win this season, now we’ll go to Pozo where the wind is strong and will suit me and there I will try my best to attack it from the start and perhaps take more risks and I’ll be in a better position. I didn’t win any of the 13 eliminations we raced in here, but I was clearly the most consistent, and, as it was really close between the top guys, a conservative approach was definitely the way to play it'
Men’s Freestyle Results:
1. Jose Estredo (Fanatic / North)
2. Kiri Thode (Starboard / Gaastra)
3. Ricardo Campello (JP / NeilPryde)
Women’s Freestyle Results:
1. Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / NeilPryde)
2. Daida Moreno (North)
3. Laure Treboux (Naish / Naish)
Men’s Slalom Results:
1. Antoine Albeau (Starboard / NeilPryde)
2. Kevin Pritchard (Starboard / MauiSails)
3. Bjorn Dunkerbeck (T1 / North)
The tour now rolls on to Pozo for the 2007 Gran Canaria PWA Grand Slam which starts on Tuesday 10th July. Be sure to check www.pwaworldtour.com from then to follow the action with our live event ticker, daily news summaries, video footage, awesome photo galleries, online elimination ladders and more!
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© PWA / Brian McDowell