Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam
Fuerteventura lived up to its strong wind reputation to produce nine brilliant days of action packed windsurfing. The freestyle fleet opened the event in explosive style and there was a turn up for the books with the results as Belgian maestro Dieter Van der Eyken (Starboard / Severne) produced the best performance of his life to win his maiden event on the PWA Freestyle World Tour, whilst Sarah-Quita Offringa was at her irresistible best to claim an incredible 8th world title in a row. Meanwhile, Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde), proved exactly why he has won 22 world titles as he dominated here in Fuerteventura to extend his lead at the top of the overall rankings.
With Steven Van Broeckhoven (JP / NeilPryde) missing from proceedings many thought it would be Jose ‘Gollito’ Estredo standing at the top of the podium come the end of the event. However, the reigning world champion wasn’t at full fitness after coming down with an ill-timed bout of chicken pox, which saw Gollito withdraw from the contest after the first double elimination.
This opened the door for a number of other candidates to take the event crown and it was Dieter Van der Eyken (Starboard / Severne) who rose to the occasion as he consistently produced the best performances of his life heat-after-heat. The Belgian qualified for his first winners’ final ever in the second single elimination, losing out to Kiri Thode (Starboard / GA Sails), before getting the bit between his teeth in the second double as he set his sights on a maiden event victory. The Belgian was simply unstoppable as he landed perfect spock into culos, monster air skopus and kabikuchis to defeat Amado Vrieswijk (JP / Severne) twice and earn the sweet taste of victory for the first time, whilst also heading to the top of the overall PWA Freestyle World rankings.
Kiri Thode (Starboard / GA Sails) won the opening double elimination as he combined more explosive combos to take down his rivals. However, there was nothing he could do to stop Dieter Van der Eyken in the second double and so had to settle for third place, which sees the 2013 PWA Freestyle World Champion rise into second place overall. Thode is heavily in contention for another world title going into the final event of the year - currently tied on points with Van der Eyken.
Nicolas Akgazciyan (99NoveNove / Point-7 / AL360 / Maui Ultra Fins) sailed better than ever in Fuerteventura as he secured the final place on the prestigious podium. The Frenchman finished in the top five in both double eliminations as he sailed with power, speed and style to earn his best result. Akgazciyan also landed an absolutely incredible ankle-dry shifty - which was one of the moves of the entire contest. Third place in Fuerte sees Akgazciyan rise to joint fourth in the overall rankings.
Having finished the opening double elimination in joint ninth - Amado Vrieswijk - came out with all guns blazing in the second double. The Bonairean had been hampered with a slight knee injury, but threw caution to the wind as he landed trademark air kabikuchis and double culos to win his first ever single elimination - before finishing second in the second double. Vrieswijk takes home fourth place overall in Fuerte, which sees him rise to third overall in the world.
Tonky Frans (Tabou / GA Sails / AL360) sailed in his usual super stylish manor to return to the top ten after a slightly disappointing start to the season in France. The Bonairean pulled off trademark bongkas, backloops, paskos and pushloops on the way out as he showed off his jumping supremacy. Frans now sits in ninth place overall.
Antony Ruenes (Tabou / GA Sails) was desperately unlucky to finish in sixth place in the end. The Frenchman had been in irresistible form in the single - finishing third - before injuring his foot whilst freesailing. Ruenes sailed through the pain barrier in the second double and was still able to win two heats - defeating both Max Rowe (Fanatic / North) and Bjorn Saragoza (Starboard / Hot Sails Maui) - as he rotated through technical regular stance chachoos and one-handed clew-first flakas to name just a couple. Fully fit there’s no doubt Ruenes would’ve gone further and he will now focus on making a full recovery before the final event of the year in Sylt.
Phil Soltysiak (Starboard / Sailworks) sailed superbly in the second double elimination as he won three successive heats - first taking down Nic Hibdige (Tabou / GA Sails / Mystic), Nick van Ingen (Fanatic / North / Maui Ultra Fins) and finally Taty Frans (Starboard / GA Sails / Mystic) in what was one of the closest heats of the contest to take home seventh place.
Davy Scheffers (Tabou / GA Sails) made the podium in the second single elimination, before just losing out to Kiri Thode in the double. Seventh place in Fuerte sees the Dutchman occupy joint sixth with Taty Frans in the overall rankings at the moment.
The top ten was completed by Balz Muller (Patrik / Severne) and Taty Frans, who share joint ninth.
Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / NeilPryde / Mystic / Maui Ultra Fins) proved once again that she is the undisputed Queen of Freestyle over the course of the event as she won every single heat. The Aruban gem combined smooth sliding moves with the latest power moves exploding through perfect burners and culos to claim an emphatic victory, which sees her claim an incredible eighth successive world title.
Oda Johanne (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins) finishes the year as the PWA Freestyle Vice-World Champion again having also claimed second in 2014. The Norwegian landed big shakas and flakas to defend her place against Maaike Huvermann (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins).
Maaike Huvermann showed plenty of progress again this year and the seventeen year old was rewarded with another place on the prestigious podium - as well as being crowned the PWA Youth World Champion . Huvermann finished sixth last year here but continues to learn moves and looks as though she’ll be an even bigger threat in 2016.
Yoli de Brendt (Fanatic / North) finished in fourth place overall for 2015 as the Venezuelan combined her stylish sliding moves to progress. Arrianne Aukes (RRD / Simmer / Maui Ultra Fins) was upset with her performance here in Fuerte after finishing fifth, but you can be sure that the Dutch beauty will be back stronger than ever next year, whilst Maxime van Gent (Fanatic / North / Maui Ultra Fins) completes 2015 in sixth place.
Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde) dominated in Fuerteventura as the reigning world champion cemented his place at the top of the overall rankings with a commanding performance. AA won three out of the eight eliminations completed, whilst qualifying for all but one winners’ final as he sent out a clear warning sign that he’s going to be incredibly hard to beat over the remainder of the season.
Antoine Albeau speaks after another brilliant performance in Fuerteventura:
“Fuerte for me is one of the best places for windsurfing. I always look forward to coming here because you have good wind everyday here, which makes for a great event, so thanks again to Rene Egli and his team who make a huge effort to bring us back each year. It’s a real pleasure to come back and every time it’s another big battle with the guys, so I’m super happy to have managed to win here again. Well done to both Matteo and Ross for fighting back onto the podium yesterday. I hope to be back next year. Thanks to everyone again.”
Ross Williams (Tabou / GA Sails / Mystic) moves up into second place in the overall world rankings after another great performance in Fuerteventura, which is the Brit’s second podium finish in 2015. The Brit has found the kind of consistency required to compete at the very top of the sport this season and qualified for over half of this weeks winners’ finals top another great event.
Matteo Iachino (Fanatic / North) backed up his maiden event victory in Costa Brava with a solid second place in Fuerte as he moves into third place in the overalls. The Italian was in superb form as he continued to look lighting quick, which saw him qualify for the first six finals out of six. At this point Iachino and Albeau were almost inseparable, but he then missed out on the finals in the next two eliminations, but will still be delighted with his work this week.
Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / North) and Ben Van der Steen (Tabou / GA Sails) finished level on points - missing out on the podium by just 0.7 of a point. The Frenchman finishes just ahead of Van der Steen in fourth with a better count back. Mortefon drops back one place into fourth in the overalls, whilst Van der Steen remains in seven place.
Taty Frans secured a top ten finish in the slalom as well as the freestyle as he claimed sixth place overall in Fuerteventura. The Bonairean also won his first ever elimination in the sixth race after timing another start to perfection as he led from start to finish and qualified the at least in top sixteen all but once as he produced his best form ever at a slalom event.
As always the French featured heavily in the top ten with Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard / Severne), Cedric Bordes (Tabou / GA Sails), Julien Quentel (RRD / NeilPryde) and Pacal Toselli (99NoveNove / Point-7) finishing 7th-10th respectively.
Finian Maynard (99NoveNove) finished 24th in Fuerteventura, which is especially commemorative of the late and great Peter Volwater - H-24. Maynard was especially close to Peter as a best friend over their 18 years together on the PWA tour.
“This week was particularly hard to compete as Peter was always on the mind, especially on Day 1; very difficult indeed. Fuerte was one of his favourites over the years. The result of 24th is not what I aimed for but it is such a sign from above to finish on Peter’s sail number, a 1.9% chance! We all miss and love you Peter and thinking of you everyday.”
Fuerteventura re-enhanced its reputation as one of the most exciting events on the tour after another epic nine days on the 30th anniversary of the event. The PWA World Tour now moves directly to Tenerife for the third stop of the waves, which runs between the 3rd-9th August. You’ll be able to follow everything as it happens by tuning into www.pwaworldtour.com.
Overall Results Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam: Men’s Freestyle
1st Dieter Van der Eyken (Starboard / Severne)
2nd Kiri Thode (Starboard / GA Sails)
3rd Nico Akgazciyan (99NoveNove / Point-7 / Maui Ultra Fins)
4th Amado Vrieswijk (JP / Severne)
5th Tonky Frans (Tabou / GA Sails)
6th Antony Ruenes (Tabou / GA Sails)
7th Phil Soltysiak (Starboard / Sailworks)
8th Davy Scheffers (Tabou / GA Sails)
9th Taty Frans (Starboard / GA Sails / Mystic)
9th Balz Müller (Patrik / Severne)
Overall Results of the 2015 PWA Women’s Freestyle World Championship:
1st Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / Neilpryde / Mystic / Maui Ultra Fins)
2nd Oda Johanne (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins)
3rd Maaike Huvermann (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins)
4th Yoli de Brendt (Fanatic / North)
5th Arrianne Aukes (RRD / Simmer / Maui Ultra Fins)
6th Maxime van Gent (Fanatic / North / Maui Ultra Fins)
Overall Results Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam - Men's Slalom
1st Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde)
2nd Matteo Iachino (Fanatic / North)
3rd Ross Williams (Tabou / GA Sails)
4th Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / North)
5th Ben Van der Steen (Tabou / GA Sails)
6th Taty Frans (Starboard / GA Sails / Mystic)
7th Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard / Severne)
8th Cedric Bordes (Tabou / GA Sails)
9th Julien Quentel (RRD / NeilPryde)
10th Pascal Toselli (99NoveNove / Point-7)