NoveNove Maui Aloha Classic
Ho’okipa delivered again on Day 2 of the NoveNove Maui Aloha Classic allowing the single elimination to be completed. The swell may have dropped significantly in comparison to yesterday, but to put Wednesday’s swell into context there were still over mast high sets peeling along Ho’okipa and with a cleaner wave face there was more emphasis on performance wave riding today, rather than the survival tactics often required on the opening day. After another epic day of sailing last year’s Aloha Classic winner — Morgan Noireaux (JP / Hot Sails / Maui) — fended off the rest of the competition to put himself on the verge of back-to-back Aloha Classics after being crowned the deserved champion of the single elimination.
With the early evening wind starting to fade the men’s winners’ final — featuring Morgan Noireaux, Kauli Seadi (99NoveNove / Hot Sails Maui / MFC), Thomas Traversa (Tabou / GA Sails) and Camille Juban (Quatro / Avanti / MFC) — was extended to 35 minutes to give each sailor a fair chance to show exactly what they can do. The level of sailing leading into the final was superb and the final continued in the same vein. With the light winds the sailing was also an extremely tactical affair, which gave the final another dynamic in what was classic float and ride conditions.
Noireaux was the first sailor to catch a wave and the twenty-one year drew first blood as he landed a huge aerial out into the flats off of a pitching lip before backing it up with a vert snap in the pocket and another floaty aerial off the end section. Noireaux was awarded 8.52 points for his opening effort, which turned out to be the highest scoring wave of the final and put him in a commanding position. The Hawaiian looked every bit the champion yesterday and he quickly followed up his opening wave with another score in the excellent range to really apply the pressure to the remaining three sailors.
Thomas Traversa responded first as he landed two critically late aerials on the wave same wave to earn 8 points, whilst Kauli Seadi also racked up an 8 point wave to add to his earlier score of 7.65 after linking a few of his trademark fluid turns and a radical aerial. This left less than half a point between the top three sailors such was the closeness of the battle, however, with the clock quickly running down and the wind continuing to fade there was no chance of grabbing a final wave and Noireaux was left to celebrate clinching the single elimination.
Unfortunately things didn’t quite click for Camille Juban in the final and after looking like the winner for much of the day the twenty-five year old had to settle for fourth place and he will now look to fight his way into the top three when the double elimination begins.
Morgan Noireaux had this to say after winning the single elimination: “The final was really hard. I wasn’t sure how I was going to do at the beginning since I’m a lot heavier than the other riders, but thankfully everyone was just as slow as me — even Thomas [Traversa] was having a hard time moving around the break. In the end it was awesome. I managed to get my two best waves right at the beginning and then I spent the rest of the heat just looking for another good scoring opportunity. Now I’m just hoping I can hang on in the double, but I’m really stoked.”
Noireaux also added which kit he was on and why he opted to choose a 4,9m still in the light winds: “I was on my 85l board and my 4.9m. I do have a 5.2m in my quiver, but I don’t really like going bigger than 4.9m and it was still perfect on the wave.”
Heat of the Day
While the final may have not quite gone to plan for Juban, he was absolutely on fire during the second semifinal against Seadi, Levi Siver (Quatro / Goya Windsurfing / MFC) and Robby Naish (Naish), so much so that the man from Guadeloupe racked up the highest scoring heat of the day within the first five minutes of Heat 22. Juban combined huge, head throw aerials off of meaty sections with vert gouging rail-to-rail turns right in the pocket in what was easily the performance of the day.
Accidental or not is the question many people were asking about Morgan Noireaux’s move in the opening semifinal. Noireaux lined up for another aerial but was inadvertently thrown into a grubby off the lip, which he somehow managed to sail away from. Some are coining it a new move under the name of ‘oiseaux’ but whether it was deliberate or not remains to be seen — either way it was a hugely impressive feat to sail away from it and it was more than worthy of the 9.25 points it received after a couple of trademark gouging turns beforehand. In the same heat Thomas Traversa advanced over Marcilio Browne (Goya Windsurfing / MFC) by way of a tie break with the Frenchman’s progressing due to acquiring the higher single wave score.
Game, Set and Match?
Philip Köster (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins) is another step closer to securing his third world title today despite a second round exit from the single elimination after his only rival left standing — Victor Fernandez (Fanatic / North / MFC) — suffered the same fate after being eliminated from Heat 16 by Antoine Martin (JP / NeilPryde / MFC) and Diony Guadagnino (Hot Sails Maui / MFC). The Spaniard now faces the almost impossible task of fighting his way all the way back through the double elimination — as Fernandez needs to claim victory here to overhaul Köster from the top of the rankings.
The women took to the water for the first time this event as the opening couple of heats were completed. Nayra Alonso (Fanatic / Severne) made a winning return to the competition scene as she defeated Tatiana Howard (JP / NeilPryde) in Heat 4a, whilst Vicky Abbot advanced over Ulrike Hölzl (Goya Windsurfing).
Shawna Cropas (JP / NeilPryde) successfully negotiated her way past Robynne Riley with an efficient display, before Anne-Marie Reichman (Naish) defeated Anna Rohden.
When the action resumes for the women we will pick up with round two which will see the big hitting top seeds come into play.
The swell is expected to increase in size again tomorrow with the current forecast models predicting a 2,4 metre swell at 16-17 seconds. The wind strength looks as though it will be roughly the same as today, so a decision with the plan of action will be made in the morning. The skippers’ meeting has been called for 10:30am with the action commencing from 11am onwards. Don’t miss any of the action by tuning into www.pwaworldtour.com.
Current Standings NoveNove Maui Aloha Classic — After Men’s Single Elimination
1st Morgan Noireaux (JP / Hot Sails Maui)
2nd Kauli Seadi (99NoveNove / Hot Sails Maui / MFC)
3rd Thomas Traversa (Tabou / GA Sails)
4th Camille Juban (Quatro / Avanti / MFC)
5th Kevin Pritchard (Starboard / Ezzy / MFC)
5th Marcilio Browne (Goya Windsurfing / MFC)
5th Levi Siver (Quatro / Goya Windsurfing / MFC)
5th Robby Naish (Naish)
9th Keith Teboul (Quatro / Goya Windsurfing / MFC)
9th Kai Katchadourian (Simmer)
9th Klaas Voget (Fanatic / Simmer / MFC)
9th Josh Stone (Goya Windsurfing)
9th Robby Swift (JP / NeilPryde / Mystic / Maui Ultra Fins / SWOX)
9th Graham Ezzy (Tabou / Ezzy)
9th Diony Guadagnino (Hot Sails Maui / MFC)
9th Antoine Martin (JP / NeilPryde / MFC)