2001 Fuerteventura Freestyle Grand Prix Day 1
"Man I wish this wind would lighten up a bit, we can’t take much more of this!!"
These are the words of Brian Talma (F2/Arrows) after sailing for the last three days warming up with a 3.6m!!
The wind has definitely followed the sailors from Gran Canaria to Fuerteventura, most sailors were expecting a relaxing few days before the contest but instead were blasted by 40 knot gusty cross-off shore wind. It took most of the guys a couple of days to get into the swing of things, but today conditions were ideal for freestyle and the crowds on the beach saw why these sailors are the best in the world. The standard has risen to another level since last year with any one of the 48 entrants capable of taking the highest step on the podium.
Last years winner Josh Stone(JP/Pryde) will really need to pull everything out of his bag of tricks to beat some of the new rippers.
Stand outs from todays free practice session were Greg Allaway (JP/Pryde) who was pulling of Wormburners and Clew first spocks with his eyes closed!
Antoine Albeau (AHD/Pryde) fresh from his Gran Canaria victory was looking the most consistent and fluid sailor on the water landing everything he tried, rumors of him having glue on his feet were dispelled when he fell of ONCE!!!! Best move for Antoine today was a PERFECT Diablo, amazing that a guy of Antoine's size has become one of the best freestylers.
In total contrast to Antoine young Ricardo Campello (JP/Pryde) showed why he is the hottest young sailor in the world today. In only one day Ricardo learnt how to do perfect Goitas, landing one back on the face of the punchy two-three foot waves.
The strong winds have also taken their fair share of casualties, traveling buddies Nik Baker (Mistral/North) and Eric Troostheide (Mistral/North) have both been giving the PWA physio plenty of quality time. Nik has seriously damaged his ankle and looks like having a 50/50 chance of actually competing. This would shatter Niks chances of taking the Overall Freestyle title for the year, as there is not enough events left to allow a discard. Nik is obviously very keen to sail through the pain barrier helped along with a few packets of Nurfen!!
So tomorrow we will see who has the nerve to pull out the big moves during the contest. Contests have proven time and time again, that it is not the guy who freesails the best but it’s the guy that can put together all the moves in eight minutes and not fall off; this is where Josh Stone excels, we shall wait and see…..