LA TORCHE PWA GRAND SLAM
La Torche produced the conditions everyone has been eagerly awaiting on day four of the La Lorche PWA Grand Slam as the contest burst into life. Winds of 20-30 knots, combined with half-mast to logo high waves and sunshine set the perfect platform for the world’s most radical sailors to wow the thousands of adoring fans, who had gathered on La Torche’s pristine white sand beaches, and they certainly weren’t disappointed as the standard of the action went, quite literally, sky high with explosive moves being thrown left, right and centre. After an epic day of competition - Ricardo Campello (Patrik / Point-7 / MFC) - laid down the gauntlet to claim his first single elimination victory since Denmark, 2011, and he will now be praying that he can hold onto his lead as he looks to secure his maiden event win on the PWA Wave World Tour.
Men’s - Wave
Ricardo Campello lined up against Thomas Traversa (Tabou / GA Sails) in the winners’ final and the duo enjoyed an enthralling battle, that went down to the bitter end. Traversa was on the hunt to setup back-to-back victories, whilst Campello was searching for his first elimination victory since 2011. TT started the heat by looking for a double forward, knowing that he’d need to go big to defeat Campello, but after two failed attempts he reverted to a big and stylish one-handed backloop. Meanwhile, Campello, responded with a tweaked pushloop before bailing out, in spectacular fashion, of a double forward. At this point, Traversa then opened up a lead as he racked up the highest wave score of the heat, going fully under a peeling lip before being projected into an aerial, such was his timing, before backing it up with a couple of foam climbs. However, Campello, saved his best moment until a couple of minutes until the end as he launched into a perfectly executed double forward - earning him 9.44 points - which also earned him the single elimination victory. If results stay the same then Campello will rise to third overall, after discarding seventeenth place from Tenerife.
The wait is finally over for Ricardo Campello, who had this to say: “Well I still cant believe it, I have been fighting for a win on a wave for a long time, my dream is to become wave world champion and I really want to do it, it is still not over but I hope the results can remain as it is! I’m super happy competing here in France, especially with the amazing crowd and the best conditions we have had on tour so far - sunny, windy, wavy, amazing crowds, good result… what else could you ask for?? Thank you all for the support.”
However, Traversa, won’t be too disappointed with the result as Victor Fernandez (Fanatic / North / MFC) had to settle for joint fifth, meaning the Frenchman’s second place takes him to the top of the overall world rankings - for the time being at least - with just one event to go. To secure his place in the top two of the single elimination, Traversa pulled off a sick frontside 360 on the final wave in his semifinal against - Marcilio ‘Brawzinho’ Browne (Goya Windsurfing / MFC) - which he duly claimed on the exit knowing exactly what was on the line.
Having missed out on a place in the top three at the previous two events, the reigning world champion put the disappointment of missing out on the winners’ final behind him to defeat - Robby Swift (JP / NeilPryde / Mystic / Maui Ultra Fins / SWOX) - and return to the top three. On his way to third the Browne stomped another double forward, as well as a double kicked, one-footed, backloop to do the damage. Brawzinho also nailed the best and biggest jump of the day with a massive stalled double forward. Swift, was looking for back-to-back podiums, having earned his first ever podium finish in Denmark, but still enjoyed a fantastic day on the water as he defeated qualifier - Maciek Rutkowski (Patrik / Point-7) followed by Klaas Voget (Fanatic / Simmer / MFC). Swift, then went one better with a hugely impressive victory against Victor Fernandez. The Brit was also the only man to sail away from a pushloop forward today, as well as stopping numerous doubles and linking, fluid, powerful waves.
Elsewhere, Antoine Martin (JP / NeilPryde), enjoyed his best day to date on tour as he claimed joint fifth alongside, Victor Fernandez, Alex Mussolini (Tabou / GA Sails) and two-time PWA Wave World Champion - Josh Angulo (Angulo / Gun Sails) - who showed he still has all the weapons to do some serious damage. Martin, defeated Martin ten Hoeve (Goya Windsurfing / Point-7), first before taking down Philip Köster (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins) to earn his biggest victory so far, with the highlight being a radical goiter.
After a two heat break the double elimination began with the wind still blowing strong and the waves still peeling and the beach break becoming increasingly heavy, which claimed the lives of several masts over the course of the day.
Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde) started his comeback through the double elimination with victory against Flo Jung (RRD / Gun Sails / Maui Ultra Fins / SWOX). However, in his next heat against - Jaeger Stone (SSD / Severne) - the big Frenchman missed the start of his heat allowing Australian rival, Stone, to open up a significant lead. This didn’t phase Albeau though and he pulled off a remarkable comeback to steal victory by 0.26 of a point.
Meanwhile, Moritz Mauch (Starboard / Severne / MFC), stole victory from under the nose of Nicolas Akgazciyan (99 International / Point-7 / AL360 / Maui Ultra Fins) in Heat 19b, as the eighteen year old battled back with his final two waves to earn victory by way of a tiebreak decision.
In the second round of the double - Ben Proffitt (Simmer) - staged a good comeback against sixteen year old Marc Paré (Patrik / Simmer / Maui Ultra Fins). The Brit was trailing midway through heat 22b, but kept his cool to rack up two excellent waves - the best being awarded 8 points. In the meantime - Julien Quentel (RRD / NeilPryde) - defeated Alessio Stillrich (Fanatic / North) to move into joint ninth, whilst John Skye (RRD / RRD / MFC) put the disappointment of a first round exit in the single behind him to then defeat Philip Köster. Dany Bruch (Starboard / Challenger Sails / AL360) also responded in similar vein as he ended the hopes of Klaas Voget, whilst Adam Lewis (Fanatic / North), survived an early scare against Kilian Du Couedic (Fanatic / North / Mystic) to also move into joint ninth.
After a frantic and enthralling day of action, tomorrow is set to see much lighter winds. With this in mind the skippers’ meetings for all fleets will be held at 10am - with the first possible start for the wave fleet at 10:30am, whilst the first possible start for the slalom fleets is 11am. Don’t miss any of the action by tuning into www.pwaworldtour.com, where you’ll be able to follow everything as it happens via the PWA live stream and live ticker.
Results After Single Elimination - Men’s Wave
1st Ricardo Campello (Patrik / Point-7 / MFC)
2nd Thomas Traversa (Tabou / GA Sails)
3rd Marcilio ‘Brawzinho’ Browne (Goya Windsurfing / MFC)
4th Robby Swift (JP / NeilPryde / Mystic / Maui Ultra Fins / SWOX)
5th Antoine Martin (JP / NeilPryde)
5th Alex Mussolini (Tabou / GA Sails)
5th Victor Fernandez (Fanatic / North / MFC)
5th Josh Angulo (Angulo / Gun Sails)