Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam
Fuerteventura more than lived up to its reputation again as the 2017 Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam - sponsored by René Egli - saw 10 days of 25-45 knot winds to provide an amazing natural arena for the freestyle and racing. Over the course of the event we saw more than our fair share of explosive action and close quarter sailing, and unfortunately, there were a few injuries along the way, but overall the highs certainly outweighed the lows.
Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / NeilPryde / Maui Ultra Fins) overcame a mental as much as a physical battle to secure an incredible 10th PWA Freestyle World Title - 13th overall. In the final of the second double elimination, against Maaike Huvermann (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins), Offringa didn’t quite produce her usual flawless display, but in the end, she just did enough and looked absolutely delighted and relieved at the same time when the result was made official.
Maaike Huvermann finishes the season as the vice-world champion again with the 19-year-old sailing her best heats yet on the world tour as she looks to continue to raise her game and dethrone Offringa. She will have to wait another year to have that opportunity again, but she is definitely edging closer.
Oda Johanne (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra) had some hot and cold heats, but when she was on she looked to be in fine form and that deservedly sees the Norwegian secure her place on the overall podium for the 4th consecutive year.
Meanwhile, Arrianne Aukes (Fanatic / NorthSails / Maui Ultra Fins) completes the top 4 with another excellent showing, which saw the 30-year-old finish 3rd in the second single elimination, but she couldn’t defend her place against Johanne in the double.
Jose ‘Gollito’ Estredo (Fanatic / NorthSails) returned to the top of the podium in Fuerte after producing an inspired display to defeat Amado Vrieswijk (JP / Severne) and with just one more stop to go, Gollito has taken a massive step towards world title No.8. The Venezuelan produced his usual blend of power and style, while also landing new moves to keep Vrieswijk at bay.
Vrieswijk won here last year but fell just short on this occasion. In the single elimination, it could’ve easily been the Bonairean who had come out on top, but his bongka was adjudged to be out of the competition area, which meant he was missing a move on port tack. The current vice-world champion is still firmly in the mix to challenge for the world title.
Yentel Caers (JP / NeilPryde) won the battle for 3rd and 4th against Italy’s Jacopo Testa (RRD / RRD Sails / AL360), but that victory came at a cost with the Belgian injuring his leg after landing a shifty, which forced his withdrawal from the competition. Caers will now hope to be back in time for Sylt at the end of September as he looks to defend his place on the prestigious podium.
Jacopo Testa appears to be starting to fill his potential and the Italian walks away from Fuerte with his best result on the PWA Freestyle World Tour, while Steven van Broeckhoven fought his way back in the double elimination to begin the year with an excellent 5th place, which betters all of his results from last year.
Adrien Bosson (Fanatic / NorthSails / Maui Ultra Fins) was able to defeat fellow countryman Antony Ruenes (Tabou / GA Sails) to progress into the top 6 but saw his hopes ended by van Broeckhoven in the next heat.
Former world champion - Dieter van der Eyken (Starboard / Severne) - shares joint 7th with Ruenes, while the top 10 was completed by Taty Frans (Starboard / GA Sails / Mystic), Sam Esteve (JP / NeilPryde), Tonky Frans (RRD / RRD Sails) and Kiri Thode, who was making his first appearance since competing in Fuerte last year.
Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde) continued his dominance in Fuerteventura as he secured the event victory in style by winning the final elimination of the week, which means he has now won here in 10 out of the last 12 years. Albeau looks to be back to his absolute best and 100% happy with his setup and world title No.24 is within sight as AA heads up the rankings with a record of two victories and a 3rd out of the 3 events where results have been obtained.
Matteo Iachino (Starboard / Point-7 / Shamal) endured a terrible first elimination here which saw the reigning world champion eliminated in his opening heat, but he then bounced back by not finishing outside the top 4 in all but one of the further 7 eliminations completed, which earned him 2nd place here, which sees him rise to 2nd in the overall rankings.
Ross Williams (Tabou / GA Sails / Mystic / Shamal Sunglasses) held an excellent record coming into Fuerte having made the podium here for the last two years and he showed why again with an extremely consistent performance, which also saw the Brit win back-to-back bullets in races 5 and 6, which put him firmly in contention for the event title, but a semifinal exit in the next race made that an unlikely outcome, but he’ll still be very happy with his performance here as he completes the podium. The result here means Williams remains 4th in the overall rankings.
Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / NorthSails / Chopper Fins) finished just outside the top 3 in 4th, which means Mortefon currently sits 3rd in the overall rankings, but the Frenchman was lucky to escape a nasty crash in Elimination 8 with no serious injuries after a horror collision with Taty Frans.
Julien Quentel (Patrik / Avanti) bounced back from a disappointing showing in Costa Brava to finish 5th in Fuerteventura. The 31-year-old made a strong start to the event, but then went off the boil for a couple of races, so in the end, he did well to finish the event strongly and reassert himself in the top 5 both here and in the overall rankings.
Cedric Bordes (Tabou / GA Sails) enjoyed his best event of the season so far by quite someway and the Frenchman earns his first top 10 finish of 2017 - 6th - after qualifying for all but 3 winners’ finals. Meanwhile, fellow countrymen Cyril Moussilmani (99NoveNove / Severne) and Pascal Toselli (99NoveNove / Loft Sails / Chopper Fins) finished 7th and 8th respectively, while Antoine Questel (Starboard / S2Maui) completes the top 10 to rise to 6th overall in the world.
Like Bordes, Ben van der Steen (Patrik / Gun Sails) also enjoyed his best result of the season - 9th - while elsewhere Enrico Marotti recorded his best result to date on the world tour as he finished in 15th place - with the Croat finishing 4th in the opening elimination.
Road to Recovery
Of course two of the most talked about incidents of the week involve - Ethan Westera (Tabou / GA Sails) and Taty Frans - who were both unfortunately injured in racing incidents and both required hospital treatment. Thankfully, it seems that both will make a full recovery, while Pierre Mortefon somehow emerged unscathed from the crash with Frans - although the Frenchman is going for further checks just to make sure. High wind slalom produces the most exciting racing on the tour, but unfortunately, the dangers of racing at such speeds became apparent and it gives you a real appreciation of the real and apparent dangers at times. Everyone from the PWA would like to wish Ethan and Taty all the best with their recoveries.
So, that’s it for another fantastic year in Fuerteventura. The PWA would like to express their thanks to the organisers and sponsors and of course the people of Fuerteventura - without whom it wouldn’t be possible to run such a fantastic event and we look forward to return in 2018 for more world class windsurfing.
You can review all the news from Fuerteventura — including the live stream, elimination ladders, entry list, images and live ticker simply by clicking HERE and scroll to the bottom of the page.
Where’s Next on the PWA World Tour?
In just 5 days time the final stage of the Canaries leg of the tour will begin as the PWA Wave World Tour heads to Tenerife for the second stop of the men’s and women’s wave circuit. Make sure you tune into www.pwaworldtour.com between the 6th-12th August to watch all of the amazing action as it happens via the PWA live stream.
Result 2017 Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam - Women's Freestyle
1st Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / NeilPryde / Maui Ultra Fins
2nd Maaike Huvermann (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins)
3rd Oda Johanne Windsurfing(Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins)
4th Arrianne Aukes (Fanatic / NorthSails / Maui Ultra Fins)
5th Olya Raskina (JP / NeilPryde)
Result 2017 Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam - Men's Freestyle
1st Jose 'Gollito Estredo (Fanatic / NorthSails)
2nd Amado Vrieswijk (JP / Severe)
3rd Yentel Caers (JP / Point-7)
4th Jacopo Testa (RRD / RRD Sails / AL360)
5th Steven Van Broeckhoven (JP / NeilPryde / Shamal Sunglasses)
6th Adrien Bosson (Fanatic / NorthSails / Maui Ultra Fins)
7th Antony Ruenes (Tabou / GA Sails)
7th Dieter Van der Eyken (Starboard / Severne)
9th Taty Frans (Starboard / GA Sails / Mystic)
9th Sam Esteve (JP / NeilPryde)
9th Tonky Frans (RRD / RRD Sails)
9th Kiri Thode
Result 2017 Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam - Men's Slalom
1st Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde)
2nd Matteo Iachino (Starboard / Point-7 / Shamal Sunglasses)
3rd Ross Williams (Tabou / GA Sails / Mystic / Shamal Sunglasses)
4th Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / NorthSails / Chopper Fins)
5th Julien Quentel (Patrik / Avanti)
6th Cedric Bordes (Tabou / GA Sails)
7th Cyril Moussilmani (99NoveNove / Severne)
8th Pascal Toselli (99NoveNove / Loft Sails / Chopper Fins)
9th Ben van der Steen (Patrik / Gun Sails)
10th Antoine Questel (Starboard / S2Maui)