2002 PWA Freestyle Special King of the Lake Day 3
The battle between two generations of windsurfers couldn't have been more dramatic at this year's Red Bull King of the Lake - right through to the final, which saw rising young star Colin Sifferlen (Mistral/North Sails) defeat surf legend Briton Nik Baker (Mistral/North Sails) in one of the most exciting heats ever seen in freestyle windsurfing.
The judges called their windsurfing in the last heat "unbelievable" and even referred to it as "possibly the best performance in freestyle windsurfing ever!" The North Sails and Mistral Team rider Nik Baker was on fire, pulling off the most difficult moves, such as Grubbies, Spock 540s and other tough technical sail tricks. However, it was his 17-year-old team mate Colin Sifferlen (Mistral/North Sails) from New Caledonia who amazed all spectators by performing the best freestyle tricks ever seen - an explosion of freestyle perfection. Apart from traditional tricks, he performed several varieties kinds of Spocks, a perfect Diablo, the "move of the year", a Swayze and a never-before-seen Grubby Diablo.
Josh Stone (JP/Neil Pryde), whose fantastic performance won him third place, called Colin's performance "simply shocking." The revolution in freestyle windsurfing took place today!
Windsurfing has been one of the most popular sports in the world for decades. However, in recent years, it seemed like no new talents were emerging who were of the caliber of a Björn Dunkerbeck (Proof/Neil Pryde) or a Robby Naish (Naish/Naish), the pioneers of this sport.
But this impression was simply blown away at this year's King - everybody was spellbound by the young league of 14 to 17 year old windsurfers' attack on the pros. The young guns, including the Venezuelan Alexis Zabala [Fanatic/North Sails], Douglas Diaz [Fanatic/North Sails], Dionicio Guadagnino (JP/Neil Pryde) and Ricardo Campello (JP/Neil Pryde), the Brazilian Kauli Seadi (Naish Sails) and the "South Sea Kids" Tonki (AHD/Gaastra), and Tati Frans (AHD/Gaastra), Keke Dammers (Starboard), and Colin Sifferlen (Mistral/North Sails) are part of this group of challengers, who were ready to dethrone their idols.
This year's King was definitely dominated by the younger generation: tough competition amongst the women saw 22-year-old Colette Guadagnino (JP/Neil Pryde) from Venezuela take the crown of the Queen and 16-year-old Brazilian Konan Lang (Naish Sails) beat 23 other would-be princes.
The pros might feel a little threatened, but they are also thrilled with what the kids are doing for the scene. On the one hand, they are faced with a whole armada of rivals at the competitions, but on the other, the young wild guys have woken the sport from its slumber.
This year's Red Bull King of the Lake certainly gave us a taste of that and the exciting future that lies ahead for freestyle windsurfing.
Additional reporting by Dr. Beat, E-69