Reflections On An Almighty Season - Wave Sailing
With the silverware all dished-out and the big names sent home to re-charge and review their years work, the world of windsurfing can be proud of an impressive run of competition that pushed levels far beyond most peoples expectations.
All in all 6 world championship titles were settled in wave sailing, slalom racing and freestyle between the most talented men and women windsurfers on the globe.
The wave tour glittered brightly with three sparkling new additions to the calendar and 6 events in total.
The 2007 Cabo Verde World Cup – Feb 22nd-March 4th
Fortune smiled immediately upon the world wave sailing elite as a pumping swell raced towards the Cabo Verde archipelago, hell-bent on unleashing its power upon the shallow ledges of Ponta Preta, on the Island of Sal.
The event was a big deal to this small Atlantic republic too. An impressive infrastructure by the organisers, and the level of crowds coming to support their nation were a testament to the importance of windsurfing to Cabo Verde’s low rise and eco-friendly tourism development.
Surf of epic proportions thundered seemingly inches away from the shore at Ponta Preta, and you could almost touch the riders as they flew past on the rollercoaster ride of a lifetime.
The cream rising to the top of 4-man single elimination final contained the worthy names of Josh Angulo, Kauli Seadi (Quatro / Naish), Kevin Pritchard (Starboard / MauiSails) and Nik Baker (Mistral / North).
Seadi, the 2005 world champ, dazzled the judges with his twin fin trickery to win ahead of local favourite Angulo after a tense and tactical final with all 4 riders hustling for position to snag the prime set waves.
The double elimination was blessed with more perfect surf, and the biggest fight back was undoubtedly from Jason Polakow (JP / NeilPryde) who trashed 6 entire rigs after working his way back up to 4th overall.
But Angulo had other plans, and the years he’s spent living here paid off as he proceeded to tear apart the peachiest set waves, punting huge airs, including an outrageous back-arched example, that left Pritchard in third position overall.
Angulo stood firm in the double elimination and disaster struck for Seadi when they met in the final – his choice of a tiny sail resulting in a serious trashing on the rocks. However the re-match simply couldn’t have been any closer.
Eventually Angulo’s decisive wave, including a severely late under-the-lip punt, had more variation with snaps, one-handed cutbacks, vertical hooks and two powerful aerials on the inside bowl.
The beachside carnival was silenced as the judge’s scores were tabulated. A tight 4 to 3 verdict awarded Angulo’s more powerful assault the victory and jubilation erupted like wildfire throughout the adoring throng.
Carried by a tidal wave of fans, Cabo Verde’s newest icon was mobbed at the waters edge to be swept towards the podium in a frenzy of drums, whistles and unabated elation.
The largest sporting event and athletic achievement to ever have graced these shores was celebrated long through the night with cavalcades and parties spilling onto the streets.
With several days left in the holding period and conditions still off the scale the UK’s Boards magazine offered up $1000 for an expression session to wind up the event won by Marcilio Browne (Mistral / Gaastra) for his daring one-handed aerial.
This marked the end of the most spectacular event modern windsurfing’s ever seen; leaving the competitors free to enjoy the waves and welcome the people of Sal had gifted them.
The PWA World Cup Guincho Wave Contest 2007 – Portugal June 4th-9th
Portugal’s stylish Estoril coast welcomed the tour next and the seasonal ‘Nortada’ wind also greeted the women for their first competitive outing of the year.
In typical fashion Praia do Guincho once again delivered quality wind and waves to fully challenge the entrants.
Men's - As the men’s single elimination started heads rolled immediately as the new skool of windsurfing made their presence felt en masse. In fact, from the old-guard, only Angulo remained amongst the youthful pack in the top 8 including form player Yann Sorlut (Simmer) Thomas Traversa (Tabou / Gaastra), Victor Fernandez (Fanatic / Simmer), Kauli Seadi, Boujmaa Guillol (Starboard / Severne), Marcilio Browne and Jonas Ceballos (Fanatic / Simmer).
The final was game of chance in the lighter than usual breeze, which left scarce opportunities for jumping. Some exciting semi-finals threw Fernandez and Seadi together and this time it was Fernandez who played a tactical game of staying upwind to pick off the best ramps and wave rides.
A long wait on an un-typically windless Praia do Guincho meant only a single elimination was completed which earned Fernandez his second career event victory.
In the ladies event 2006 World Champion Iballa Moreno (North) couldn’t quite defeat Karin Jaggi (F2 / North) in the semi-finals and had to settle for third after a loser’s final against Junko Nagoshi (F2 / Simmer), who lost on the other side of the draw against Daida Moreno (North).
That meant there was another classic Moreno vs. Jaggi final in the fluky late evening conditions with strong currents hindering both riders.
Jaggi matched Moreno on wave scores but eventually it was Moreno’s jump scores, which won favour with the judges and earned her the opening victory of the season.
The 2007 Gran Canaria PWA Grand Slam – Canary Islands, Spain. July 9th-19th
Pozo Izquierda immediately served-up a feast of wind and swell for the single elimination of the wave contest. A truly groundbreaking day saw both the tour leader and the current world champion ejected from the ladder.
Predictably some of the famous Gran Canarian locals such as Dario Ojeda (Quatro / Gaastra) and Vidar Jensen (North) prevailed before an historic final between Victor Fernandez and Kauli Seadi.
That historic clash included perfect double forward loops and the first push-loop forward ever witnessed in competition. Fernandez took the honours in a close fought encounter, in which, despite both riders’ aerial skills being near-perfect, the young Spaniards wave riding was superior.
The women’s event was also marked a milestone in the sport. It takes more skill than ever before to compete at this level so, perhaps unsurprisingly it was Pozo legends Iballa Moreno (North) and Daida Moreno (North) who emerged as the finalists. Both the twins ripped and threw double loops mixed with sick wave riding, but Daida Moreno took the victory after landing the first ever Pushloop-tabletop seen in a women’s contest.
More good waves meant there was no delay in starting the double elimination of the wavesailing event on day 2. Strong comebacks were made by 2006 champ Kevin Pritchard, local hero Marcos Perez (Exocet) and France’s Julien Taboulet (F2 / Naish), but Seadi and Fernandez stood firm to fight through to another final to settle the event title.
The conditions were not as good as the first day but another jumping-oriented final allowed Fernandez to seal his second consecutive event win and second successive Pozo crown.
The 2007 Mormaii Ibiraquera Wave Contest / PWA World Cup – Brazil. September 9th-16th
The stunning National Park Zone of Brazil’s Santa Catarina State welcomed the PWA men’s fleet for its inaugural visit to this breathtaking nature reserve and its high quality surf and round-the-clock breeze.
Ibiraquera immediately turned it on as the fresh new tour stop provided logo high wave and wind on day one to allow competition to start immediately after registration.
It became clear from the off that this event would definitely throw up some surprises.
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.
Top German rider Klaas Voget (Fanatic / NeilPryde) also worked hard to edge out wave specialist Jason Polakow in a super aggressive heat.
After two great semi-finals, Kauli Seadi and Levi Siver (Starboard /NeilPryde) emerged as the finalists. 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 but his 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.
The double elimination 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 ended after a mammoth showdown with Britain’s Nik Baker (Mistral / North).
After halting Fernandez, Baker, who finished 3rd in the single elimination, then shot-down single elimination runner-up Levi Siver.
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 Santa Catarina crowd.
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.
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 won by Josh Angulo who spanked the young pretenders with his outstanding aerial wave 360’s.
The 2007 Colgate World Cup Sylt – Germany. September 21st-30th
Both wind and surf were scarce in Germany but a narrow window of wind and waves allowed the women a valuable chance to complete their wave sailing single elimination on day 4.
It was apparent from the early heats that careful wave selection would prove critical for success.
Cross to cross-onshore wind from the left and punchy head high shore break waves gave the ladies the perfect canvass to showcase their skills. It also became clear early on that Spanish firecracker Nayra Alonso (Fanatic / Severne) was going to be a danger in these conditions, which were so similar to her home spot of Vargas.
The early heats progressed without drama until local favourite Steffi Wahl (F2 / Gaastra) caused a major upset when she defeated tour leader Daida Moreno in round 2.
The second round also saw Alonso take her first major scalp in the form of Karin Jaggi who sailed to her normal high standards, but on this occasion was simply outclassed by Alonso who looked untouchable with her aggressive approach.
To maximise time in the fading conditions, the organisers opted for a 4-women final between Junk Nagoshi, 2006 world champion Iballa Moreno Alonso, and local favorite Wahl.
Alonso, aged 28, continued her good form in the final along with her fellow Gran Canarian rival Iballa Moreno.
Wahl was also looking dangerous but like Nagoshi her work rate was lower, and after Moreno fell a couple of times it wasn’t long before the onlookers were convinced they were seeing a well deserved victory.
Alonso’s vertical, destructive attack was unequalled and she took the win by a 6-1 verdict amongst the judges to make a valuable career-first event win. Iballa Moreno finished second and Steffi Wahl made her first podium appearance in third.
As Sylt marked the need of the wave tour for the women, and Daida Moreno was knocked-out, Iballa Moreno took the title for a second successive season. Daida Moreno finished in second overall with Karin Jaggi taking bronze.
Sadly the wind didn’t play ball for the men and the title race intensified for the final event in Scotland.
Colgate Super Session
Colgate threw in a whopping €5000 for a super session on the final day with the best move to count. Colin Sifferlen (Starboard / Simmer) took the biggest chunky of the cash home for his massive air flaka over a heavy section of the shore dump surf breaking above bone dry rock!
Alex Mussolini (JP / NeilPryde) scored second for his radical auto rotators in the pocket, Ricardo Campello (JP / NeilPryde) third for his perfect switch Chacho 540, Victor Fernandez came fourth for a sweet shaka off the lip, and German favorite Klaas Voget 5th for his clean back loop in the difficult conditions.
The Corona Extra PWA World Cup – Tiree Scotland. October 6th-13th
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 of Spain.
Topping the leader board was Brazilian Kauli Seadi 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 – simply knocking Seadi out in their scheduled quarterfinal 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 won by Victor Fernandez for his ‘Corkscrew’
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.
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.
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 slot, and after the points were added up the third and final podium place was awarded to Josh Angulo of Cabo Verde.
Seadi has produced something special this season and his dynamic style is almost unmatched. His second world title aged just 24 is certainly impressive, and he’ll no doubt be a major threat to all in 2008. His title is also of extra note as the season tested the riders in a wide range of conditions to really iron-out a most worthy champion.
You can review each event using our extensive video and photo galleries, read news summaries, browse the results and elimination ladders, swot-up on the stars using our profile biographies, stay up to date with the latest news on the pro scene daily and more right here at www.pwaworldtour.com
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© PWA Brian McDowell