Gran Canaria PWA World Cup
After an eigh month break the wait is finally over for the most radical sailors in the world to once again take centre stage. So far this year we have seen freestyle and slalom fleets in action, but now it is time to see the finest wave sailors in the world going head-to-head for the first time in 2015. Pozo Izquierdo will once again play host to the world’s best between the 12th-18th July for what promises to be one of the most spectacular shows of the season.
The first event of the season is always an exciting occasion as we find out who’s looking the most dangerous and who has added new moves in their armoury. The current forecast looks perfect for finding this out right from the word go with Pozo’s famous howling winds and perfect stunt ramps expected to arrive on the first day, which means we should see the wave sailing elite launching themselves into the most radical, explosive and gravity defying stunts than ever before.
As some of you may have already seen the forecast looks as though lighter winds are predicted by the middle of the week, but the local effect in Pozo means that even the lightest breeze can soon be accelerated to nuclear strength, so don’t be surprised to see even the biggest guys reaching for their smallest equipment. And of course in forecasting terms that is still a long way off and open to change.
Ones To Watch
Thomas Traversa (Tabou / GA Sails) enters the event as the reigning world champion, but may not be expected to win the opening event of the year - given that Pozo usually has a slight bias to jumping. As a world champion he of course cannot be ruled out and has moves such as huge stalled forwards and rocket backloops in the bag, as well as double forwards when needed, but it looks as though double forwards could be needed at a minimum to be in with a chance here as well as pushloop forwards. However, on the wave Traversa is one of the slickest in the business combining fluid front and backside turns with takas and 360s with consummate ease.
Victor Fernandez (Fanatic / North / MFC) finished last year as the vice-world champion, narrowly missing out to Traversa in the final event of the year. The Spaniard is a Pozo specialist and has not finished outside the top three since 2008, so looks a sure fire bet to be challenging for top honours again. Fernandez will also be eager to make the perfect start to the season as he tries to add to his sole world crown, which he captured in 2010.
Ricardo Campello (Patrik / Point-7 / MFC) looked as though he had found a new zest for competitive windsurfing last year after his sponsor change, and he was rewarded for several fantastic performances with the final place on the prestigious overall podium. Now Campello will look to use last year as a stepping stone as he goes in search of his maiden world wave title. The thirty-year old possesses all of the tools necessary to come out on top in Pozo and has even been landing new moves ahead of the start of the event - the Voltwater named in memory of the late Peter Volwater - and he should be there or there abouts come the end of the event.
Marcilio ‘Brawzinho’ Browne (Goya Windsurfing / MFC) is another man with a serious chance in the opening event of the year. The Brazilian is regarded as one of the best jumpers in the world. Many consider him to be even better on starboard tack, but he already has immaculate double forwards, which when combined with landing pushloop forwards after training make him an inevitable force. Together with this he has also been training shifty’s on the way in. Browne also has all of the latest wave moves and turns to take down anyone on the day and he’ll be desperate to make a strong start to the season as he looks to recapture his world title - having relinquished it to Traversa last year.
Philip Köster (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins) finished a disappointing joint fifth here last year, but if the forecast delivers what it is currently promising then he is probably still the man that everyone else has to beat. The twenty-one year old has already won the event three times - first at the age of just 15 - and you can be sure that he’ll be more determined than ever to win his home event again. Expect to see ankle dry stalled double forwards, huge stalled forwards and pushloop forwards. Little has been seen of Köster over the winter, but we can expect big things.
Alex Mussolini (RRD / RRD) changed sponsors over the winter and will be keen to mount a title challenge again this year having come so close in 2013. The Spaniard boasts some of the biggest one-hand, one-foot backloops in the business, as well as being the king of frontside 3s and should be involved at the business end of the ladder.
Robby Swift (JP / NeilPryde / Mystic / Maui Ultra Fins / SWOX) finished sixth overall last year and has performed well here in the past - most recently fourth in 2012. The Brit has one of the best pushloop forwards in the game and has double forwards to back it up too, making him another man who is a serious threat.
The standard is so incredibly high right now on the tour that almost all of the sailors in the top 32 are capable of going all the way on their day. Jaeger Stone (Starboard / Severne) made a strong return to the PWA World Tour after a few years out and you can expect the Aussie ripper to be challenging for the top five and beyond again. Stone has massive arched backloops and some of the most silky wave riding in the business and will be one to watch.
Elsewhere - Dany Bruch (Starboard / Challenger Sails / AL360) - has been pushing his level even further with stalled double forwards and the German is one of the most dangerous sailors on the tour, especially with his expertise in the wave riding department. You also have John Skye (RRD / RRD / MFC), Adam Lewis (Fanatic / North), Dario Ojeda (Starboard / Severne) - who may prove to be one of the biggest dangers competing on his home turf - Antoine Martin (JP / NeilPryde), Klaas Voget (Fanatic / Simmer / MFC), Graham Ezzy (Tabou / Ezzy) and Morgan Noireaux (JP / Hot Sails Maui) - who of course won the Starboard Severne Aloha Classic and is now trying his hand at the entire world tour.
Also keep a look out for local boys Alessio Stillrich (Fanatic / North) and Moritz Mauch (Starboard / Severne / MFC), who are two of the most exciting and upcoming talents in the world. Stillrich consistently lands sick fully tweaked pushloops and has now added double forwards to his jumping repertoire - making him an even bigger threat, whilst Mauch specialises on the wave with amazing frontside 360s and stunning air takas on lockdown, however the jumping aspect of his game could let him down - especially if there are to be three jumps judged.
The women’s division looks as though we’ll see another epic battle between the legendary Moreno twins, who have dominated the top of the game for so long and neither of them look like slowing down any time soon. Iballa (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins) enters the event as the reigning world champion, but Daida (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins) will still be the one to beat, having 1) won here last year and 2) having only lost in Pozo once in the last 15 years, which was to Iballa in 2012. Both women possess the skills to challenge many of the top ten with monster one-handed backloops, stalled forwards and wave 360s all on lock down. It promises to be another intriguing battle.
Away from the formidable Moreno twins - Steffi Wahl (Patrik / Sailloft Hamburg) - will be right in the mix as one of the most consistent performers on the tour. Wahl always impresses with her wave riding and has now added backloops to her jumping. A place in the top five looks a certainty for a competitor who thrives in the competitive ring.
Alice Arutkin (Fanatic / North) claimed her place on the overall podium last year for the first time in her career and will be there or there abouts again. However, with an emphasis on jumping you can expect more to come later in the year. The French beauty added: "After 6 month without any world cup event, everyone had a different winter training and it's now the time to meet everybody in Pozo and assess the level of each. I've been sailing here since the 2nd of July, we had different conditions since we got here but not the real Pozo Storm as usual, but it seems that it will happen on Sunday. Girl's level is high. Pozo is definitely not my favorite event because of jumps, but I will do my best! I wish Good Luck to all the Riders!"
Having spent the winter in Maui - Amanda Beenen (99NoveNove / Point-7) - will be raring to go again. The Dutch girl takes a no-fear approach to her sailing and takes one of the most aggressive approaches to her sailing on the tour. Expect to see big forwards and some seriously tasty turns as she looks to achieve a place on the podium.
Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / NeilPryde / Mystic / Maui Ultra Fins) may be relatively new to the wave scene, but already proved last year that she is a force to be reckoned with - no matter the discipline. Offringa is the Queen of freestyle, as well as being a dominant force in the slalom and with the amount of progression she has shown in a relatively short period of time on the wave tour, you can expect her to be challenging for the podium in the first event of the year. Offringa will have perfectly executed forwards, whilst having the access to further jumping points for being one of the few women in the world who can land shakas.
Also keep an eye out for Ingrid Larouche, who has been crowned to the AWT champion for the past four years. The Canadian is without doubt one of the most talented girls in the line up and should be in the mix at the latter stages of the contest.
Justyna Sniady (Simmer) should also be in contention. The Pole shows no fear and has forwards and backloops in her repertoire. After another winter in Australia she will be looking to prove herself on the competition scene.
No matter what happens, Pozo always proves to be one of the most impressive spectacles of the year with the elite of the wave sailing world throwing themselves into gravity defying stunts. The current forecast looks as though the conditions will be absolutely firing from the word go. With this in mind the schedule has been brought forward slightly to make the most of the best conditions, so trials will now start from 9:45am - if conditions allow - meaning the main contest can now start from 12:30pm. Make sure you tune into www.pwaworldtour.com from the 12th-18th July to follow the very best of the action, which will be brought to you via the PWA live stream and live ticker. The countdown is almost over - who’s your money on?