NoveNove Maui Aloha Classic
This year’s PWA Wave World Tour is about to reach its climax and the stage couldn’t be set more perfectly with what is widely regarded as the most prestigious event on the world calendar deciding the outcome of this year’s world titles.
The elite of the wave sailing world are preparing to do battle one last time at the NoveNove Maui Aloha Classic, which starts on the 28th October and runs until the 10th November. Can Victor Fernandez (Fanatic / North / MFC) pip Philip Köster (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins) to the world title? And can Daida Moreno (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins) hold her nerve to regain her world crown? There’s only one way to find out and that’s by tuning into www.pwaworldtour.com over the next 13 days.
Ho’okipa (meaning ‘hospitality’) Beach Park, Maui, Hawaii is quintessentially the home of windsurfing. A place any windsurfer has hopes, dreams and aspirations of visiting at some point during their lifetime. What makes Maui so special is its clockwork like trade winds, which combine with some of the best, and biggest, waves on the planet to create the most spectacular windsurfing conditions — and all of this is then set against a stunning, luscious, tropical backdrop. It truly is a destination that every windsurfer must experience at some point in their lifetime.
Ones to Watch
The Title Race
The women’s title race sees an exact replica to last year’s showdown. Just like in 2014 Daida Moreno enters the final event of the year with the tour lead — holding a perfect record so far this season with two wins out of two, but reigning Aloha Classic and world champion — Iballa Moreno (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins) — remains right on her sister’s heels. A third place finish or better would guarantee Daida the title, but as last year proved anything can happen. For Iballa to retain her world crown she would need the following scenarios:
— If Daida were to finish 4th — Iballa would need to win the NoveNove Maui Aloha Classic.
— If Daida were to finish 5th — Iballa would need to finish 2nd or better.
— If Daida were to finish 6th — Iballa would need to finish 3rd or better, etc.
Meanwhile, Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / NeilPryde / Mystic / Maui Ultra Fins) and Amanda Beenen (99NoveNove / Point-7) will go head-to-head to decide who will complete the women’s podium. Offringa currently holds a narrow advantage, but there’s hardly anything between them, meaning there’s all to play for. Beenen will be hoping to use her training in Maui last winter to gain the upper-hand, but will have her handsful against Offringa who is becoming more and more dangerous at each event. Who do you think will win the battle for third?
The legendary Moreno Twins have earned the right to have things their way most of the time having dominated women’s windsurfing over the last two decades, but Maui is a slightly different beast such is the wealth of local talent on display.
Fiona Wylde (Starboard / Goya Windsurfing) burst onto the scene last year with a hugely impressive display on her debut appearance and she took the rest of the fleet by storm to earn second place, with only Iballa Moreno stopping her in her tracks. The eighteen year old is one of the most exciting talents in the wave sailing world and will be looking to show her excellent wave selection and execution again to achieve another podium finish. The real question is could Wylde go one better this year?
Nayra Alonso (Fanatic / Severne) hasn’t been seen on the competition scene since August 2013, but she’ll be raring to go when the green flag is raised in Maui. Alonso used to be a regular top four finisher at events making her potentially one of the most dangerous women in the fleet — particularly if the swell is as big -- as it is expected to be.
Other names to keep a watchful eye over include Ingrid Larouche (Fanatic / North), who finished seventh here last year and has achieved four podium finishes in a row in Maui during the American Windsurfing Tour (AWT) contests, Alice Arutkin (Fanatic / North), who completed last season in third place overall, whilst finishing fifth in Maui and Sarah Hauser (Tabou / Simmer), who now spends much of her time training at Ho’okipa and thrives in big waves. Any of the locals hold the potential to make the final and the competition is set to be more fierce than ever.
The Title Race
The whole season has been building to this boiling point and as we head into the last event of the year there are only two men left standing with a chance of securing the 2015 PWA Wave World Championship. Philip Köster holds an almost unassailable lead at the top of the rankings and already has one hand on a third world title, but Victor Fernandez will be doing everything in his power to win the NoveNove Aloha Classic and steal the crown from the claws of Köster. Victory for Fernandez is the only option to stop Kôster, so the stakes couldn’t be any higher for the Spaniard. However, Fernandez will be more motivated than ever as he attempts to clinch a second world title. It promises to be an epic battle with both sailors willing to lay it all on the line in order to come out on top.
The Fight For Third
Jaeger Stone (Starboard / Severne) is eyeing up his first finish on the overall podium and whilst he holds a commanding position, the deal is not yet set in stone. Alex Mussolini (RRD / RRD) and Marcilio Browne (Goya Windsurfing / MFC) are the only men who could stop the Australian from achieving a first top three finish, but they face a tall order if they wish to rain on Stone’s parade.
Mussolini would require a top three finish or better with Stone finishing sixth or worse to steal third place, whilst Browne would have to win the event outright with Stone again finishing sixth or worse. There’s no doubt that both men possess the talent to do just that so the battle for third promises to be an intriguing affair.
Away from the fight for the overall top three, the contest for the illustrious NoveNove Maui Aloha Classic title will be nothing short of epic as the elite of the PWA prepare to go head-to-head with the ripping Ho’okipa locals once more.
Morgan Noireaux (JP / Hot Sails Maui) enters the 2015 Aloha Classic as the defending champion and will be doing everything in his power to defend his title. The Hawaiian has grown up sailing Ho’okipa and showed his local prowess last year to link devastating wave, after devastating wave to see off the rest of the competition. Noireaux will be one of the biggest threats again and you can expect to see more perfectly timed turns in the pocket together with massive aerials as he looks to win back-to-back Aloha Classics.
However, he will face stern competition from the likes of the aforementioned sailors as well as the 2013 Aloha Classic Champion — Levi Siver (Quatro / Goya Windsurfing / MFC), last year’s world champion and runner up in Maui — Thomas Traversa (Tabou / GA Sails), Graham Ezzy (Tabou / Ezzy), Ricardo Campello (Patrik / Point-7 / MFC), Klaas Voget (Fanatic / Simmer / MFC), Kevin Pritchard (Starboard / Ezzy / MFC) and Robby Swift (JP / NeilPryde / Mystic / Maui Ultra Fins / SWOX) as well as many more such is the depth of talent on offer.
This year’s NoveNove Maui Aloha Classic will also see the return of three-time world champion — Kauli Seadi (99NoveNove / Hot Sails Maui / MFC), who missed last year’s event through injury. In 2013 the Brazilian took home third place and he’ll be hoping to conjure up another eye catching performance with more of his instantly recognisable wave riding.
The forecast currently suggests that the conditions will be absolutely pumping from the word go with a 2.5 metre swell at 15s together with trade winds being predicted for the innaugural day. Are you ready to see the world’s finest wave sailors taking on well over mast high Ho’okipa? It promises to be a show you can’t afford to miss, so make sure you tune into www.pwaworldtour.com between the 28th October until the 10th November — here you’ll able to stay up to date with all of the epic action via the PWA live stream.