Gran Canaria Wind & Waves Festival
Pozo lived up to its reputation today as one of the windiest places in Europe — if not the world — as the pros were finally unleashed having spent the opening four days on hold. Throughout the day the wind steadily increased until all the sailors were left reaching for their smallest gear in order to survive as winds exceeding 50 knots battered Pozo Izquierdo — leading to a day of brilliant action as the world’s best sailors seemingly defied gravity.
Having advanced through the second round Alice Arutkin (Fanatic / NorthSails faced Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / NeilPryde / Maui Ultra Fins) in Heat 13a, while Lina Erpenstein (Patrik / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins) was rewarded with a stern test against reigning world champion — Iballa Moreno (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins) — for defeating Caterina Stenta (RRD / RRD / Maui Ultra Fins) in the first round.
Offringa, who finished 3rd overall last year, made her intentions clear from the start and the lady from Aruba claimed an emphatic victory as she landed a brilliant pushloop to earn 9.38 points and 6.25 point tabletop to ensure her place in the semifinal. Arutkin was able to earn a higher individual wave score, but was unable to find an answer to Offringa’s aerial prowess.
Meanwhile, Iballa Moreno, ended Erpenstein’s hopes in the single elimination with a polished display. The reigning world champion saw off her German rival by stomping a radical pushloop and stalled forward, while showing her usual fluidity and style on the wave and Iballa will now face Offringa in the semifinals.
In the second quarterfinal Amanda Beenen (99NoveNove / Point-7) and Steffi Wahl (Patrik / Sailloft Hamburg) enjoyed an incredibly close heat, but in the end it was Beenen who advanced into the semifinal. Wahl made the better of the waves on offer while fully powered on 3.0m, but Beenen gained the upper-hand with her jumping ability carrying her through. Beenen stomped a tabletop forward and a stalled forward to secure victory.
Daida Moreno has only been beaten once here in her life and she showed why in Heat 14b against Justyna Sniady (Simmer / Simmer) as she racked up the highest score of the day with 26 points. Daida is clearly on a mission to reclaim her world title and she sent out a serious warning to her rivals as she rotated through a massive, perfectly landed backloop and a stalled forward, while pulling off stylish backside airs and attempting goiters on the wave to progress.
The men’s single elimination began with a bang as local boy Josep Pons Casanova (Simmer / Simmer) took down Klaas Voget (Fanatic / NorthSails / MFC) in the opening heat as his superb array of jumping inflicted the damage. Meanwhile, Dieter van der Eyken (Starboard / Severne) pushed Dany Bruch (Starboard / Flight Sails / AL360) all the way on the b-side with the Belgian missing out by just half a point, but Bruch’s stunning one-handed, one-footed backloop proved to be the difference. The German then went on to defeat Pons Casanova in Heat 9 to secure his place in the quarterfinals.
In the b-side of Heat 10 Alessio Stillrich (Fanatic / NorthSails produced a couple of the standout moments of the day, but suffered a narrow defeat to Jaeger Stone (Starboard / Severne). The local boy became the first person to land a Klei in competition — a move invented by Alex Mussolini (RRD / RRD) — before launching into the biggest jump of day which saw him soar way above horizon as he boosted into a huge backloop, but unfortunately he couldn’t quite hold on to the landing. Had the 21 year old been able to land it then he would probably have defeated Stone, who's wave riding once again stood out today. The Australian needed a last minute wave to defeat Julien Taboulet (Goya Windsurfing) in the first round, but is now safely into the quarters.
Heat 10 featured Victor Fernandez (Fanatic / NorthSails / MFC) and Marcilio Browne (Goya Windsurfing / MFC), both of whom are expected to be fighting it out at the business end of the competition. Fernandez safely navigated his way past Florian Jung (RRD / Gun Sails / Maui Ultra Fins) as he stomped a huge stalled forward and a fully planing goiter to advance, while Browne had to be at the top of his game to defeat Jules Denel (JP / NeilPryde), who sailed superbly in both of his heats today. The Frenchman actually matched Browne in the air but couldn’t quite find the wave he needed, so there will now be a mouthwatering quarterfinal between Browne and Fernandez.
Heat 11a saw an all French affair as the 2014 PWA Wave World Champion — Thomas Traversa (Tabou / GA Sails) — took on Antoine Martin (JP / NeilPryde / MFC) in what proved to be another exceptionally close heat with less than half a point separating the two sailors. Traversa raced into an early lead by landing a 9 point double forward, but Martin soon hit back as he landed the only pushloop forward of the day to earn 9.77 points. However, it is TT who marches on after making the better of the waves on offer. Meanwhile, Alex Mussolini (RRD / RRD), dispatched of Leon Jamaer (JP / NeilPryde) — who was unlucky enough to suffer a broken mast, costing him valuable time — but the Spaniard was a worthy as he showed off more of his trademark frontside 3s and silky smooth takas.
The final men’s heat of the day saw reigning world champion Philip Köster (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins) in action again and the German made another explosive start to the heat — just as he did in Heat 8 — by launching into an ankle dry double forward to earn 9.87 points, before quickly adding an excellent wave to his scoresheet — consisting of a perfectly executed frontside 360 and a smooth taka — to immediately put Adam Lewis (Fanatic / NorthSails / SWOX) under pressure. Lewis deserves a lot of credit for the way he forced his way back into the heat as he landed a double forward of his own and a huge one-footed backloop to bring himself back into contention. The Brit was also able to land a radical frontside 360 of his own, but it wasn’t enough to overhaul Köster, who will now face another British opponent in the form of Robby Swift (JP / NeilPryde / Mystic / SWOX), who added that today was the windiest he has ever sailed Pozo, after he ended the hopes of Camille Juban (Quatro / Simmer / MFC).
After a scintillating day of competition the sailors were released at 7pm and they will meet again tomorrow morning for a 9:30am skippers’ meeting with the action commencing from 10am (GMT+1) — if conditions allow. The forecast looks equally as windy tomorrow and the waves are expected to be slightly bigger than today, which should provide a cracking finale to the single eliminations before the start of the doubles. Make sure you tune into www.pwaworldtour.com to follow the amazing action as it happens via the PWA live stream and live ticker.
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