The 2007 Gran Canaria PWA Grand Slam – Day 2
Spaniard Victor Fernandez (Fanatic / Simmer) wins his second consecutive event after an aerial dogfight with current tour leader Kauli Seadi (Quatro / Naish). Daida Moreno (North) shows she’s the boss after victory by a whisker from her sister, the 2006 World Champion Iballa Moreno (North)
More swell and solid wind allowed the double elimination of the wave to be completed today.
Men’s Double Elimination
Early on it looked like comeback King, the 2006 world wavesailing champ Kevin Pritchard (Starboard / MauiSails) was about to launch one of his famous double elimination fight-backs. The American strung a decent 5 heat run together before being Britain’s Nik Baker (Mistral / North) ended his hopes of making the last 8.
Another impressive run came from Pozo local Marcos Perez (Exocet). The Gran Canarian wave specialist sailed 7 heats – all the way from the first round after his second round knockout in the single elimination.
Perez was made up after his exceptional days work. ‘I prepared a lot for this event, and it means a lot to have beaten Bjorn and Jonas who are friends of mine and famous Pozo locals. I think the reason I did well this year in particular is that my new Exocet boards are working so well and helping me to get into position for maneuvres that I couldn’t set-up for in the past – especially in the pressured atmosphere of a heat’
Equalling Perez’s 7 heat claw back was France’s radical wave talent Julien Taboulet (F2 / Naish), who fought his way from the third round and all the way up to 3rd overall. Taboulet’s unique style pushed everyone including his Naish sails Kauli team mate Kauli Seadi (Quatro / Naish). Seadi won their heat to decide 3rd and 4th places with a 3-2 decision from the judging panel.
‘I was disappointed to finish 9th in the single’ explained Taboulet. ‘So, today I decided to focus on beating that, and also just to take everything minute-by-minute and heat-by-heat. I simply wanted to focus on making each ride work without falling, and to land each jump without pushing it too much and making mistakes. It worked and I built momentum and confidence. This was the best day for me –I’m so happy I can’t describe it!’
After Seadi had blocked Taboulet’s chances of a crack at the final the Brazilian confidently strode into his encounter with Fernandez. The conditions certainly weren’t as spectacular as yesterday’s single elimination final but the struggle was just as intense. Kauli looked to be leading for a while but Fernandez raised the bar in the final minutes.
Fernandez described the heat. ‘The conditions were harder than yesterday, and the wind was also lighter, plus, we had fewer waves to work with. I was on a 4.1 and my New wave 69. I played it safe at the start and only got a couple of jumps before hanging out back for the good sets. I had 2 long waves which were nice, and then I scored some more jumps before I landed a Goyta on a solid wave right at the end which made a massive difference. I think Kauli had jumped well and I knew he had a taka. It was close and I’m happy as I’ve sailed here a lot and in many different conditions around the world to challenge for the title, and so far it’s paying-off’
Women’s Double Elimination
The most spectacular resurgence in the women’s fleet came from Junko Nagoshi (F2 / Simmer) Her 5-heat streak of powerful riding and stylish jumps shot her up as far as hard-hitting opponent Karin Jaggi (F2 / North) would allow.
But, true to form it was Iballa Moreno (North) who then stopped Jaggi in her tracks to earn a place against Daida Moreno (North) in the final showdown.
The Moreno twins excel at their home break and so the encounter was intriguing and close. ‘I was just happy to even be in the final’ said Iballa. ‘I sailed a hell of a lot better than in the single final yesterday. I concentrated on jumping first as I know that’s Daida’s strength, but then I saw her land a push-table, and some nice forwards, and finally a double. She crashed that and then I went for one too and smashed down myself right next to her! I’m stoked to have pushed her and the decision was a lot closer than the day before, so who knows, next time eh?’
Daida Moreno seemed to agree on how narrow the margin was ‘The waves were worse than yesterday. The ramps were scarce and there were a lot of double-ups and reforms which made choosing a nice section hard, and especially difficult to link a ride well. Luckily they extended the heat duration to 12 minutes so that took the pressure off as the sets were only really coming every 5 or 6 minutes. I was on a 3.7 and started by working on jump scores. I made a push-table, a high backloop – one-handed, some forwards and then I went for a double, but I’d rushed into it really and got slammed. It was funny as then Iballa came flying by me with a double of her own, right by my side! I’m happy to win as it was close and could’ve gone either way’
After 3 wave events Kauli Seadi leads the tour and Fernandez is in second despite 2 back-to-back event wins. Josh Angulo who blew-out today in the 4th round is in third. Daida Moreno leads the women’s tour ahead of Karin Jaggi in 2nd and Iballa Moreno, the 2006 world champ is in 3rd.
Skipper’s meeting tomorrow is at 09.30 and the plan is to start the Slalom racing event. There’s plenty of wind forecast and the action promises to be spectacular.
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© PWA / Brian McDowell