Day 1: AWT Pro fleet underway on first day after a beautiful opening ceremony

On the opening day of the Starboard Severne PWA Aloha Classic - in association with the American Windsurfing Tour (AWT) - the opening one of a half rounds of the AWT Pro division was completed. The AWT is run as a dingle elimination, so just as the ASP, with the winners of the first round jumping to round three, whilst the third place sailors are given a second chance in the repercharge. 

Today saw sixteen minute heats with two waves to count. The swell started out very small this morning, but built throughout the day with head high sets rolling into Ho’okipa. Standout sailors from the first day of sailing include reigning world champion - Marcilio ‘Brawzinho’ Browne (Goya Windsurfing / MFC), Morgan Noireaux (JP / Hot Sails Maui), Graham Ezzy (Quatro / Ezzy), Josh Stone, AWT title challenger Kevin Pritchard (Starboard / Ezzy), Boujmaa Guilloul (Starboard / Severne / Mystic) and Antoine Martin (JP / NeilPryde).

Meanwhile, Robby Swift (JP / NeilPryde / Mystic / Maui Ultra Fins / SWOX) successfully started his comeback in the repercharge, having missed out on a place in the top two from heat two. 

Earlier in the day we caught up with the bosses of both the PWA and AWT: 

Firstly, PWA Tour Manager - Rich Page:

“The Aloha Classic has always been an important part of the World Tour, it symbolises some of the purest forms of the sport and its interaction with the elements. AWT and PWA have worked hard since the 2013 event to ensure the success of this year’s contest and we are very grateful to have the support of Severne and Starboard who have made the event possible. This year’s event promises to be bigger and better than last year, with a full PWA women’s fleet joining the line-up, and we have a close World Championship title race to be decided, so the action will be explosive to watch and nail biting to follow as we go down to the wire to decide the 2014 wave champions.”

Head of the AWT - Sam Bittner: 

“This is year 4 I’m really grateful for the county of Maui and Starboard and Severne for supporting the event. I’m also really glad to have the PWA back again this year, we’re working together for the second time, I’m stoked to see so many sailors from the PWA attending the event. I’m also delighted by the amount of amateurs we have here, we have over 150 competitors all together at Ho’okipa for the next two weeks, so it’s going to be quite a show. It’s a zoo/circus out here, but I’m going to be taming the animals haha.”

We also caught up with the legend, Jason Polakow (JP / NeilPryde), who is safely through to round three of the AWT:

PWA: Last year you weren’t able attend the event, are you excited to be here for the event this year?

JP: “Yeah, Absolutely. The forecast looks as though it’s going to be pretty good on Friday and Saturday, so hopefully for the PWA we’ll get some nice waves. I just need to try and sneak my way through the AWT to try and get a spot.”

PWA: It’s a pretty tough fleet for the AWT, right?

JP: “Yeah it is, especially like this… I never really go sailing in little waves like this, but obviously we’ll just see how it goes. If I don’t get through then still it’s just a fun thing for me, just being part of the AWT, and hopefully the PWA, and just being at the beach and being part of the event.”

PWA: Obviously you know the conditions as well as anyone here, looking at the forecast what sort of conditions do yo think we can expect?

JP: “It’s going to be a little tricky. There’s definitely some swell coming, but the period is quite low. It’s about an 11 or 12 second period. The good thing is that the swell is North, which is really good. With the low period though, I’d say we’ll have some good moments with really good stuff, so we’re probably looking at something around logo high and it should be peeling from middles all the way down on occasion. So, hopefully it should be pretty good.”

PWA: How about trying to pick a top three for the event? You can pick yourself…

JP: “No, no. Let’s see now, I’d probably go Brawzinho, he’s got a good shot at making top three. Levi [Siver], obviously he did really well here last year and lets say Bernd [Roediger], if he makes it back in time, he’s pretty good at Ho’okipa as well.”

PWA: Great, thanks Jason and good luck for the AWT. We hope to see you in the PWA fleet as well.

The forecast for tomorrow looks good with slightly stronger winds and a bigger swell being predicted for tomorrow, which should hopefully enable the AWT Pro fleet to be completed, ahead of the start of the PWA. The sailors involved in the PWA will be registering on the morning of the 31st October, with the first possible start later that day.

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