Fuerteventura Grand Slam
After a day full of expectations, the two best freestylers in the world have held firm in Fuerteventura. Jose ‘Gollito’ Estredo (Fanatic/North Sails/MFC) and Sara Quita Offringa (Starboard/NeilPryde) punched the sky as they were officially announced as the event’s winners at the packed beach. The wind, once again, refused to blow enough to run a contest.
As well as the event title, the most highly acclaimed award in women’s windsurfing went to Sara Quita Offringa (Starboard/NeilPryde), who was crowned the 2009 PWA Women’s Freestyle World Champion for the second year in succession. This incredible achievement is made even more unbelievable when we consider the extent to which she has taken the world by storm since her debut last year: the style-mistress from Aruba has not lost a heat in two years.
Yesterday, the kind words by Nayra Alonso (Fanatic/Severne/MFC) neatly summarized her astonishing abilities. Offringa was described as an untouchable, and the sort of talent that only comes around in sport on a very few occasions. To add to this already glowing report, she is also a wonderful person, always humble, always full of praise for her opponents, and always incredibly modest.
We offer her our warmest congratulations on such an outstanding achievement, and hope that she stays fit and determined to return next year.
After two days of waiting in unbearable heat, the competitors came down to the beach this morning unsure of what to expect. There were signs of wind early on, and they all knew that if the competition started before 10.00, a full double elimination was on the cards. As the morning progressed, it became apparent that the trades would not kick in, and at 10.30, the official event was called to a close. An expression session was scheduled for the afternoon if the wind returned.
At 11.30, the wind began to fill in. The first to hit the water were the European super star Steven Van Broeckhoven (F2/MauiSails), Kiri Thode (Starboard/Gaastra), Yegor Popretinskiy (JP/NeilPryde) and Davey Scheffers (Tabou/Gaastra). These four made the most of the light wind conditions, as they launched into high ponches, air funnells, and burners. Their attitude was infectious, and their talent obvious, and soon the rest of the competitors followed.
For an hour before lunch, the thermal heat wave gave way to a short period of 25 knot trades, which saw the entire fleet take to the water to try an train for the super session. The scene was incredible – 40 of the world’s best windsurfers gave it their all to impress the enormous crowd that filled the white sand of Sotavento.
Always eager to impress his fans, Tonky Frans (F2/Gaastra) stole the show as he wowed the masses with his radical culos, followed by a charming wave and a beaming smile. Always the showman, Frans was a pleasure to watch, and he thoroughly deserved his second place here this year, and his second equal overall.
Marcillo Browne (Fanatic/North Sails/MFC) also stood out, flying in to every move at full speed, and getting some serious height on his rotations. Ian Mouro Lemos (JP/NeilPryde) looked like he was training hard for the expression session, whilst Bjorn Saragoza (Starboard/Hot Sails Maui) really turned heads with his unique and fearless style.
Unfortunately, the wind failed to hold. At 15.30, the final day at Fuerteventura was officially called to a close, and the competitors crowded round to congratulate the two champions. Surrounded by spectators, Gollito and Offringa posed for photographs and signed autographs, as the ovation from the crowd confirmed their hero’s status.
It has been an incredible fortnight here, and the wonderful Sotavento beach has not disappointed. Thanks must go to the efforts put in by the Rene Egli Team, especially Rene himself, as well as all the crew who worked tirelessly to make the event such a success. A special mention must also go to the Fuerteventura Red Cross Team, who were amazing all week. We have been blessed with incredible displays of both slalom and freestyle, and the aura that surrounds this incredible event will boost as a result.
Congratulations to both Jose ‘Gollito’ Estredo (Fanatic/North Sails/MFC) and Sarah Quita Offringa (Starboard/NeilPryde) after their incredible achievements once again.
As the dust settles at the end of the Canaries Tour, we turn our sights now to the next event in the PWA calendar: The 2009 Pegasus Airlines PWA Slalom in Alacati, Turkey. As always we will have exclusive live coverage, incredible photos, and amazing videos. Make sure you tune in to www.pwaworldtour.com to follow the amazing actions.
Steven Van Broeckhoven
Sarah Quita Offringa
Daida Ruano Moreno
Yoli Frietes De Brendt
2009 WOMEN OVERALL:
Sarah Quita Offringa
Daida Ruano Moreno
Yoli Freites De Brendt