The 2007 Mormaii Ibiraquera Wave Contest / PWA World Cup - Event Summary
Kauli Seadi’s dreams come true as a sensational win on his doorstep continues the 2007 trend of home advantage. This crucial victory marks the Brazilian’s first event title of the season, and protects his grip on the tour lead.
The stunning National Park Zone of Brazil’s Santa Catarina State welcomed the PWA for its inaugural visit to this breathtaking nature reserve and its high quality surf and round the clock breeze.
Single Elimination Surprises
Ibiraquera immediately turned it on for the PWA’s return to South America. The fresh new tour stop provided logo high wave and wind on day one to allow competition to start immediately after registration.
And it became clear from the off that this event would definitely throw up some surprises.
3 of the top-10 going into the event, and 4 seeds with byes into the second round fell to emerging talent from round 1. Many of those early heats were close, often coming down to the final waves of the heat.
There were also fierce match-racing style battles for snagging the best set waves going, often amongst the giant Whales just outside the breaking surf.
The biggest bombshell signified a massive loss to Brazils hopes when Great Britain’s John Skye (F2 / Naish) axed Marcilio ‘Brawzinho’ Browne (Mistral / Gaastra).
The tense clash produced the closest score of the day, using a rulebook tie-break to narrowly award the win to Skye that left the young Brazilian reliant on the double elimination to justify the expectation heaped upon him.
More Shock Revelations
Day two dawned to allow the single elimination finals to be completed. Repeating the pattern of the day before more big names fell at the hands of lower ranked rider intent on stamping their mark on the overall standings.
Amongst the movers and shakers, Phil Horrocks (JP / NeilPryde) disposed of 2004 champ Scott McKercher (Starboard / Severne), and Robby Swift (JP / NeilPryde) took a major scalp in the form of tour runner-up Victor Fernandez (Fanatic / Simmer).
Top German rider Klaas Voget (Fanatic / NeilPryde) also worked hard to edge out wave specialist Jason Polakow (JP / NeilPryde) in a super aggressive heat.
After two great semi-finals, Kauli Seadi (Quatro / Naish) and Levi Siver (Starboard /NeilPryde) emerged as the finalists. Siver at first seemed an unlikely candidate, especially at a port tack location, but displayed solid riding skill after arriving two weeks early to acclimatise himself with the conditions.
Single elimination Final
The final was pretty close as both riders started slowly and only spluttered into life late in the 14 minute heat. Seadi only showed glimpses of what he’d shown to be capable of in freesailing as Siver racked up points for strong top-to-bottom wave riding.
But Seadi’s last wave showed the dynamism he’s famous for and a perfect Goyta in the dying seconds clinched a famous victory for the local boy.
Double Elimination Destruction
The third day allowed all but the finals of the double elimination to be run. The double elimination format gives all those who were knocked out in the single elimination a second chance to work their way back into the game and win the event.
To do so any challenger must progress through the ladder and systematically eliminate the top finishers from the single elimination, and beat the single elimination winner twice to take the title.
The system didn’t disappoint and Victor Fernandez emerged as the most likely candidate after he strung a run of 7 back-to-back heat wins to launch one final assault on the event crown.
But the 23-yr olds path of destruction, which included slaying Scott McKercher, Ricardo Campello (JP / NeilPryde), Josh Angulo, Klaas Voget, Robby Swift, and Kevin Pritchard (Starboard / MauiSails), ended after a mammoth showdown with Britain’s Nik Baker (Mistral / North).
By halting Fernandez, Baker, who finished 3rd in the single elimination, then had a shot at single elimination runner-up Levi Siver.
The 36-yr old veteran of the tour predictably put all his years of knowledge to tactically position himself during the heat, but in the end he won on pure style with long fluid rides that linked all the sections together.
The grand finale was finally started on day 4 with a longer 30-minute heat, and firecrackers and rockets on the beach from the excited home-nation crowd.
Nik Baker opened his account with a long ride which he milked all the way to the beach to set the tone. But single elimination victor Seadi soon kicked into gear with dazzling riding of his own, including an amazing Goyta, as well as plucking a massive push loop table top, and a high one-handed, one-footed back loop out of thin air in the light and gusty breeze.
Baker replied with his own high back loop and a table top forward and continued to pressure the 2005 champ with his wave riding skills as the two competitors played a game of cat and mouse to snag the best surf in the shadow of the small island off Praia do Ibiraquera.
As the heat progressed the wind became sketchier and both riders came in to change onto larger sails, which helped their jumping performance, but didn’t make much difference to the wave scores.
Home advantage eventually paid for the Brazilian as he put his expert local knowledge to use to select waves that offered more open face and workable sections. Seadi’s ability to magic so many energetic turns out of nowhere made the difference to truly indicate his amazing talent.
There was no doubt in the crowd’s minds as to who’d won as a throng of supporters carried Seadi from the water’s edge to the podium before the decision was announced.
The judges seemed to agree and a unanimous 5-0 decision awarded him the victory.
In truth, Seadi was always the favorite and it would’ve taken something beyond electrifying to displace him and, although tour runner-up Fernandez has actually eaten into his lead now the first discard has come into play, he will take some beating at the remaining events.
Baker and Pritchard have also opened the game up for the remaining podium slots as the season heads towards it conclusion, starting with next week’s showdown in Sylt, Germany.
Bonus Mormaii Wetsuits Super Session
Generous event sponsors Mormaii threw down some stunning product prizes in the name of pure entertainment and pushing limits in an all-guns-blazing expression session.
Each rider’s best individual wave or jumping manoeuvre counted as the three best sailors were selected by the judges.
With stunning tricks such as perfect air chacho’s and push loop tabletops going down the standard was literally though the roof. But sometimes the young pups new tricks are no match for older and wiser pack leaders, and Josh Angulo spanked the young pretenders with his outstanding aerial wave 360’s to take the top dog slot.
Ricardo Campello’s flawless double forward loop earned him second and Klaas Voget’s twisted 360’s cemented a well deserved third place.
With official competition completed, yet more wind and waves graced the stunning Praia do Ibiraquera for the rest of the holding period and some insane freesailing sessions went down before the final closing ceremony.
Those sessions saw some innovations from Phil Horrocks, quickly mimicked by a host of top riders, to produce a stunning new back loop variant. You heard it here first!
1. Kauli Seadi (Quatro / Naish)
2. Nik Baker (Mistral / North)
3. Levi Siver (Starboard / NeilPryde)
4. Victor Fernandez (Fanatic / Simmer)
5. Kevin Pritchard (Starboard / MauiSails)
6. Robby Swift (JP / NeilPryde)
= 7. Klaas Voget (Fanatic / NeilPryde)
= 7. Jason Polakow (JP / NeilPryde)
= 9. Ross Williams (Tabou / Gaastra)
= 9. Julien Taboulet (F2 / Naish)
= 9. Vidar Jensen (North)
= 9. Josh Angulo
You can review the event at www.pwaworldtour.com to check the elimination ladders, daily news summaries, results and browse the sensational photo galleries.
Or, for more information please contact the PWA office via firstname.lastname@example.org
© PWA / Brian McDowell