The Corona Extra PWA World Cup ’07 – Registration Day
From four corners of the earth, the world’s biggest names in windsurfing have arrived in the Hebrides by plane, train, boat and automobile for the final showdown in the 2007 wave sailing series.
The contest runs from October 6th through 13th when the 2007 world champion will be crowned after a landmark season of epic conditions and stunning new tour stops.
To celebrate the Highland Year of Culture, Event Scotland and Corona Extra have thrown an event to remember with a unique mobile format against the the wild backdrops of Scotland’s remote coastline.
Tiree’s exposure to furious storms and untamed weather patterns make it a perfect place for the thrill-seeking pros of the world most exciting watersport.
The Hebrides provide a stark contrast to some of the entrants’ home spots, and a refreshing outlook from the regular locations the tour takes in.
But as much as windsurfers crave wet and windy weather, they love nothing more than a welcome as warm as they’ve experienced already.
Cultural Adventure - First Impressions
Moroccan mad-man Boujmaa Guillol (Starboard / Severne) has a big reputation for his outrageously radical sailing style that he’s honed at his local beach on the Sahara’s Atlantic edge.
Boujmaa, who’s travelled far and wide thanks to the sport of windsurfing, reckons Scotland has come onto the schedule like a breath of fresh air. ‘My first impressions are that the scenery is so amazing, and the shapes and colours of the coastline are so different from my home in Moulay Bouzerktoun. I’ve sailed a few times already, it was port tack which is not my strong side, but it was great fun, and I can’t wait for my next session. I’m really happy to be here and Scotland’s a new destination for me so I’m looking forward to absorbing the local culture and lifestyle’.
Maui-based waterman Levi Siver (Starboard/ NeilPryde) was bowled over by what he saw after an amazing journey north. ‘The surroundings here are magnificent with dramatic weather fronts moving in really fast from one hour to the next. I’m really impressed and the people seem to be so friendly. Josh Angulo and I took our time cruising up here and we’ve stopped and met some interesting characters, and, as an American it’s a real privilege to even say you’ve been to Scotland, let alone for something as unique as a windsurfing competition. I think everywhere this tour goes it impresses more and more people and gets the locals, especially the kids, all fired-up when the top pros come to town. We’re really feeling a special energy here and hope the forecasts come through to gift us some great conditions – we’ve been looking forward to coming here for so long and the fact that it’s the final event of the season really makes it special’
Another Hawaiian born entrant, Josh Angulo, who now represents his adopted home nation of Cabo Verde, gave his reaction. ‘Scotland’s been great so far and the hospitality from the people’s been great and we’ve had so much help from everyone we meet to make it so easy getting here with our mountains of gear by so many means of transport. The landscape and the beauty and the feeling of history has added to the ambience. There’s a big ocean out there with waves and surf, and that’s what we love so it’s really really cool. Plus, as we’re all living and eating together the atmosphere’s really nice and different to the regular stops on tour’
Britain’s Greatest Hope
Britain’s top hope and highest ranked rider Nik Baker (Mistral / North) has won professional events all over the world, including such prestigious trophies as the holy grail of windsurfing titles, The Aloha Classic in Hawaii.
Baker, currently ranked 4th overall effectively launched his pro career back in 1990 by winning the open event here in Scotland to first become noticed by the world at large. ‘It’s awesome to be back here in Tiree, not just with the British guys but also with all the top names I compete with these days from all over the world. I first came here around 20 years ago when I was 15 or 16. The contest here is so well organised and the guys have been doing it for so long. It’s something really different to anywhere else we go after such a good season with great conditions and amazing new stops like this on the calendar. Hopefully we’ll get some nice surf and wind and I can be at the sharp end of the results. It’ll be hard as it’s tight at the top to settle the title and the remaining podium slots, and the risk is increased as a lot of the British guys are going to be dangerous here as they know this place well, plus I don’t get to train in these types of shifting conditions so much these days’
Current tour leader and the hottest favorite for the title Kauli Seadi (Quatro / Naish) of Brazil gave us his take on Tiree. ‘It’s great to be here and it looks we’ll get all kinds of conditions, mostly side-offshore, with both port and starboard tack directions which is great. We’ve had so much fun already sailing a few of the breaks, plus, it’s not as cold as we’d imagined and its also interesting to all live and eat together and to share the experience as well as being mobile for the competition side of things. We’ve got an amazing event base here in the An Talla community hall which is cool too. Bring on the wind and a big party to finish off 2007 in style!’
Scott McKercher (Starboard / Severne) of Western Australia is no stranger to the shores of the UK after countless trips to the North of Scotland and the powerful reefs around the British Isles’ Celtic fringes.
McKercher, the 2004 world champ, has a Scottish mother and, as his father is descended from the Farquarson clan thinks he’ll fit right in to the spirit of the aquatic confrontation. ‘The place has a real earthy rugged feeling to it and the conditions are likely to throw up quite a few challenges. There’s huge potential for some chunky beach break days and good wind to go with it so let’s hope we get heaps of both’
The Final Countdown
The title race is as close as it’s been for some years now, and can only be taken by the top 2.
Spain’s Victor Fernandez (Fanatic / Simmer) is the tour runner-up and has won two events already this season.
After one results discard the 23-yr old from Almeria has closed the gap on Seadi, but must win the event outright to deny Seadi, the 2005 champ, a second shot at glory.
Seadi is the form player after winning at home in Brazil in September. Despite this being only his second win, he’s featured in every final this season and so the pressure rests firmly on Fernandez.
Forecasts are promising for early in the week and perhaps again towards the weekend. The first call is at 08.00 tomorrow and an announcement will posted as soon as the head judge has assessed the conditions around the Island.
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© PWA / Brian McDowell