The Corona Extra PWA World Cup ’07 – Event Summary
The Isle of Tiree was the latest addition to the ground-breaking 2007 PWA wave tour and, as the final event of the season, had the honour of crowning the 2007 world champion.
In the run-up to this unique mobile event the point’s race was tight and the pressure rested firmly on tour runner-up, 23-yr old Victor Fernandez (Fanatic / Simmer) of Spain.
Topping the leader board was Brazilian Kauli Seadi (Quatro / Naish) the 2005 world champion and winner of the last event on his home patch in Brazil.
The task for Fernandez was simple - win the event outright to take the title – as simply knocking Seadi out in their scheduled quarter-final clash would be insufficient.
But as the holding period began, the raw Atlantic coastline of Tiree lay dormant and calm as the world’s best wave sailors waited for suitable conditions.
A lack of surf but some breeze on day two sprung the organisers into action and drinks sponsor Go Fast Energy tossed in USD$ 750 for an expression session.
Starting on the south coast at Crossapol two 15-man qualifying heats produced 5 riders advancing to a 10-man final to be held at Balephuil on the Islands wild western edge.
With normal heat sailing tactics out of the window the crashes were brutal as no-one held back in their bid to steal the purse.
Eventually Victor Fernandez sealed the deal with a crazy and contorted corkscrew rotation to render the barrage of air chacho’s and one-handed back loops from the rest insufficient.
Hot on Fernandez’s heels was fellow Spaniard Jonas Ceballos (Fanatic / Simmer) in second and event favorite Kauli Seadi, who also earned a chunk of the cash in third.
To celebrate the riders enjoyed another night of typical Scottish culture with some delicious Loch Fyne Oysters and seafood in what became a regular feature of each day as the hosts showed-off everything Scotland has to offer with their whisky tasting, musical and culinary specialities.
Several days followed of waiting patiently for forecasts that never quite delivered the goods.
Scouts were permanently sent around the Islands key spots to monitor the conditions and even daybreak starts to maximise time on the water bore no fruit.
But windsurfing is a sport for those tolerant of Mother Nature and the elite pros of the PWA scene are no strangers to being held at the mercy of both tide and time, and find it easy to spend time relaxing and waiting for the elements to deliver.
Like so often before the clock ticked down to the final day and the arrival at last of some solid surf accompanied by an albeit fluky offshore wind.
Glassy logo high waves rolled in at Balevullin but still everyone’s nerves were tested as several heats were cancelled each time the wind dropped and each precious daylight hour passed by.
With the race against time on, the first round eventually ran through and the focus turned to the top seeds wrestling for the title and the remaining podium contenders.
No-one could have been tenser than Fernandez. His two event victories were not enough to displace Seadi who’d made every final of the season including his recent victory in Ibiraquera.
As darkness beckoned Fernandez’s hopes of slaying the Brazilian completely vanished. The 23-yr from Almeria could only watch as the first heat of round 3 was cancelled and the head judge called-off the contest.
With a top-16 now defined Tire had contributed an official contest result and the 2007 season was over.
Seadi was carried by his friends and countrymen and unceremoniously dumped in the shore break before he headed out for a triumphant free sail to celebrate.
The judges watching reckoned the waves he caught then were the best of the tournament and it was a fitting demonstration of his unique and electrifying talent.
His mix of powerful turns, aerials, tail slides and cutbacks were a cut above the rest who simply weren’t capable of such magic in the tricky conditions.
With Seadi officially the victor and Fernandez now cornered into second overall the focus shifted onto the remaining podium place.
Of the 6 remaining top 10 riders in contention for third overall, all bar one had advanced to the third round and subsequently into the prize money.
After the points were added up the third and final podium place was awarded to Josh Angulo of Cabo Verde.
Speaking about the win Seadi remained cool and composed. ‘This was a very exciting year for me and all the sailors. We started in dream waves in Cabo Verde and then we also had an extra surprise event at my home in Brazil where I won in front of my parents and friends. In the end it was like a dream to win the world title especially after a season with so many great events in a variety of conditions which really show who the best riders are. Scotland was amazing and the people here really looked after us and showed us some special culture that we’ve never experienced before. I’m glad I arrived early and practised, and actually the conditions were very similar to back in Brazil. We were unlucky early in the contest as the forecasts kept holding back on us. But, the final day gave us great waves and we were able to complete the two rounds we needed to get a result before sunset. Luckily that surf let me win the championship and round-off an incredible season for us all’
Seadi, Fernandez and Angulo stood proud on the year-end podiums and were honoured by the sponsors with a particularly special gift from Mitchell’s whisky who’ve distilled an extremely rare limited edition scotch for each of them. With each cask set to mature for 10-years the unique prize is guaranteed to become highly collectable over time.
Our special thanks go to the event organisers GMF Co of Glasgow, Event Scotland, Corona Extra, the volunteer crew and of course the Islanders of Tiree for their hard work and hospitality, and our warmest congratulations to Kauli, Victor and Josh.
The tour now heads into the off-season to reflect on a special year and allow the competitors to re-charge their batteries and train hard for 2008.
2007 Overall Men’s Wave Sailing Results
1. Kauli Seadi (Quatro / Naish)
2. Victor Fernandez (Fanatic /Simmer)
3. Josh Angulo
4. Nik Baker (Mistral / North)
5. Kevin Pritchard (Starboard /MauiSails)
6. Levi Siver (Starboard / NeilPryde)
7. Jason Polakow (JP / NeilPryde)
8. Vidar Jensen (North)
9. Julien Taboulet (F2 / Naish)
10. Ross Williams (Tabou / Gaastra)
To review the event be sure to log on to www.pwaworldtour.com to:
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• Check the results
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© PWA / Brian McDowell