Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam
The fifth day of the Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam — orangeades and sponsored by René Egli — saw light winds to conclude the final day of the freestyle. During the afternoon the breeze did increase and the women’s second double elimination was started, but unfortunately conditions deteriorated again soon afterwards meaning that there was no change to the results, which means Amado Vrieswijk (JP / Severne) claims a deserved maiden win on the world tour, while Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / NeilPryde / Maui Ultra Fins) maintains her incredible unbeaten run to collect freestyle world title No.9.
Sarah-Quita Offringa proved again over the last 5 days why she is the undisputed Queen of Freestyle as she produced another imperious display to extend her unbeaten run to 9 years. The 25 year old won every heat she sailed this week with a combination of the latest power moves and also sliding combos. Offringa had this to day after capturing a 9th freestyle world crown — 11 overall: “I feel like I had a good event and it was fun to sail in a different range of conditions — varying in wind strength and waves or waves, which gave everyone a chance to show their level. The thing that I personally enjoyed the most is that everyone was trying to push the level with Maaike and Oda going for the power moves, while Arrianne and Maxime are also pushing. Overall its nice to see the level go up.”
Maaike Huvermann (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins) grew in confidence throughout the event and she ends 2016 as the vice-world champion, which is her best result so far. Huvermann was able to show her true talent after a disappointing single elimination and by the end of the week she was even beginning to give Offringa a run for her money.
Oda Johanne (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins) sailed well once again and the Norwegian secured her place on the podium for the 3rd consecutive year. Johanne earned 2nd place in the opening single elimination, but slips back one place to 3rd with Huvermann gaining the upper-hand in their next two battles.
Meanwhile, Arrianne Aukes (Fanatic / NorthSails / Maui Ultra Fins) rises to 4th in the overall rankings this year, while Maxime van Gent (JP / NeilPryde / Maui Ultra Fins) and Olya Raskina (JP / NeilPryde) complete the top 6.
Alexa Escherich (JP / NeilPryde) made her debut this week and she walks away as the 2016 PWA Youth World Champion.
Amado Vrieswijk clinches a maiden event victory after fighting back through the double elimination and defeating Yentel Caers (JP / NeilPryde) twice to overturn the result. Vrieswijk now assumes control of the title race as he leap frogs Jose ‘Gollito’ Estredo (Fanatic / NorthSails / MFC) into 1st place in the current overall world rankings. Vrieswijk added: “I’m super stoked to win my first world cup event. We had some amazing conditions. Thanks to everyone for being here and congratulations to Yentel and Gollito as well. I look forward to coming back next year.”
Yentel Caers has been threatening to produce a big performance recently and this week everything clicked into place as the Belgian stomped his mark on the world tour by winning the single elimination — guaranteeing himself his best ever result — 2nd here. Caers has now broken through and established himself as a world title contender for 2016 and years to come.
6-time freestyle world champion — Jose ‘Gollito’ Estredo (Fanatic / NorthSails / MFC) — sits in 2nd place overall after the event. Gollito sailed well throughout the event, but uncharacteristically made a few errors in his heat against Vrieswijk in the double elimination. Gollito is usually clinical in the competition arena but crashed a couple of times, before running out of moves on port tack, which proved critical with his shifty in Heat 50 not counting. However, Gollito, still occupies 2nd place in the overall rankings and will enter the final event of the year in Sylt with an excellent shot at a 7th world title.
After an epic freestyle battle attention now turns towards the slalom, which starts tomorrow and runs for the next five days. From the looks of the forecast the fastest sailors in the world will be trying to hold onto their smallest equipment, while attempting to safely navigate themselves to the end of the course. The skippers’ meeting for tomorrow will be held at 12:30pm with a first possible start of 1pm (GMT+1).
Make sure you tune into www.pwaworldtour.com to follow the racing live. To see all the latest from the event — including the live stream, elimination ladders, entry list, images and live ticker simply click HERE and scroll to the bottom of the page. Here’s a recap from the preview of some of the top contenders to look out for over the next five days.
Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / NorthSails) came agonisingly close to a maiden world title last year, finishing level on points with Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde), and the Frenchman has picked up exactly where he left off and currently leads the race for this year’s title after following up a 4th place finish in Korea with his first victory of the year in Costa Brava. The 26 year old seems equally adept in light or strong winds and he looks sure to be challenging for the top again as he looks to maintain his lead at the top of the rankings.
However, Mortefon, will face stern competition, first and foremost from Matteo Iachino (Starboard / Point-7), who led the title race for much of last year and made a flying start to the year in Korea where he came out on top. A small blip in Costa Brava saw the Italian have to settle for 7th, but he looks to have made a seamless transition onto his new equipment and should be challenging for the top again. Iachino is still breathing down the neck of Mortefon, but will be doing everything in his power to overhaul the current world tour leader.
Ross Williams (Tabou / GA Sails / Mystic / Shamal Sunglasses) has continued his fine form from 2015 and currently sits in 3rd place overall and will be looking to replicate his podium finish here last year as the Brit looks to keep himself in contention.
Pascal Toselli (99NoveNove / Challenger Sails) has bounced back from a slightly disappointing end to last season with to two top 10 finishes — including 5th in Costa Brava. Toselli looks to have the bit between his teeth and looks lighting quick and should be involved again.
Arnon Dagan (RRD / NeilPryde) entered the second event of the year in 15th place, but has risen to 5th in the current standings after an excellent 2nd place in Costa Brava and the Israeli will be looking to build upon that performance, while Steven Allen (Patrik / Severne) continues to perform unbelievably consistently. The Australian currently holds 6th overall after two top 10 results — 10th in Korea and 9th in Costa Brava, respectively.
Andrea Cucchi (Starboard / Point-7) has been racing on the PWA World Tour for the last 20 years, but the Italian experienced his best performance to date in Costa Brava as he won the final elimination of the week to deservedly earn a maiden podium. Cucchi is extremely quick and if he can avoid making any errors then he’ll be a real threat again — as will Julien Quentel (Patrik / Avanti Sails) who currently holds 8th place.
The season hasn’t gone to plan so far for reigning world champion — Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde) — and he currently finds himself in 9th place. However, the proud new father, holds an incredible 23 world titles to his name and you would expect him to bounce back with a vengeance. AA generally performs excellently under pressure and there’s now no room for error for the remainder of the season.
Elsewhere you can expect to see the likes of Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard / Severne), Antoine Questel (Starboard / GA Sails), Malte Reuscher (JP / NeilPryde), Taty Frans (Starboard / GA Sails / Mystic), Gonzalo Costa Hoevel (Starboard / Point-7), Tristan Algret (Starboard / Severne / Mystic) and Jordy Vonk (Fanatic / NorthSails) all challenging for the top 10 again — with the latter coming into the event off the back of his best ever result — 4th in Costa Brava.
You would also expect to see big performances from teammates Cedric Bordes (Tabou / GA Sails) and Ben van der Steen (Tabou / GA Sails / Mystic), who finished in 5th and 6th place last year, but currently find themselves outside of the top 16.
Overall Ranking 2016 PWA Women’s Freestyle World Tour:
1st Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / NeilPryde / Maui Ultra Fins)
2nd Maaike Huvermann (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins)
3rd Oda Johanne (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins)
4th Arrianne Aukes (Fanatic / NorthSails / Maui Ultra Fins)
5th Maxime van Gent (JP / NeilPryde / Maui Ultra Fins)
Overall Ranking 2016 Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam: Men’s Freestyle
1st Amado Vrieswijk (JP / Severne)
2nd Yentel Caers (JP / NeilPryde)
3rd Gollito Estredo (Fanatic / NorthSails / MFC)
4th Dieter Van der Eyken (Starboard / Severne)
5th Phil Soltysiak (Starboard / Sailworks)
6th Nico Akgazciyan (99NoveNove / Challenger Sails / Maui Ultra Fins)
7th Taty Frans (Starboard / GA Sails / Mystic)
7th Kiri Thode (Starboard / GA Sails)
9th Jacopo Testa (RRD / RRD / AL360)
9th Tonky Frans (Patrik / Sailloft Hamburg / AL360)
9th Steven Van Broeckhoven (JP / NeilPryde / Shamal Sunglasses)
9th Balz Müller (Patrik / Severne)
Current Ranking 2016 PWA Freestyle World Tour - Men’s
1st Amado Vrieswijk (JP / Severne)
2nd Gollito Estredo (Fanatic / NorthSails / MFC)
3rd Yentel Caers (JP / NeilPryde)
4th Taty Frans (Starboard / GA Sails / Mystic)
5th Dieter Van der Eyken (Starboard / Severne)
6th Kiri Thode (Starboard / GA Sails)
7th Phil Soltysiak (Starboard / Sailworks)
8th Balz Müller (Patrik / Severne)
9th Steven Van Broeckhoven (JP / NeilPryde / Shamal Sunglasses)
10th Adrien Bosson (Fanatic / NorthSails / Maui Ultra Fins)