Viana PWA World Cup
With the local thermal effect in full flow before midday, the Viana PWA World Cup started with a bang as the best female freestylers in the world announced themselves on to the 2018 PWA World Tour in explosive fashion. The wind increased in strength throughout the day and peaked at about 35 knots, which created electric conditions in which to begin the first Women’s Freestyle event of the season and they produced a great display with a combination of sliding variations and the latest power moves all being thrown down.
At the end of the first day, there is a familiar name at the top of the podium with Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / NeilPryde / Maui Ultra Fins) exuding her usual panache to take down the first double elimination ahead of Maaike Huvermann (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins) and Oda Johanne (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins).
Sarah-Quita Offringa faced two different opponents in the two finals completed today, but each time Offringa produced the goods to deny both Oda Johanne and Maaike Huvermann, who threatened to cause her problems as both girls showed that they have stepped up their level again over the winter.
Each time the pressure looked as though it was rising against Offringa, the Aruban found another gear to keep her rivals at bay. Huvermann, in particular, put Offringa under severe pressure at the start of the Double Elimination Final as she exploded through a regular kono and shaka before landing a skopu right in the face of Offringa, which could've easily unsettled the 26-year-old.
However, after a slightly shaky start, Offringa quickly found her feet and responded in true champion fashion as she almost instantly replied with a skopu of her own. The 10-time PWA Freestyle World Champion then started to slowly build momentum and by the end of the heat was absolutely on fire - landing moves seemingly at will as she went on to post the highest scoring heat of the day - 134.7 points - at the most crucial time. A trait of a top athlete.
Huvermann, who is the vice-world champion, also raised her level as the day progressed after making a slightly shaky start herself. The 20-year-old experienced a less than ideal build up as she thought one of her boards had been stolen earlier in the day - but thankfully that turned out to be a case of miscommunication - and after her first heat, which was disappointing, she grew in stature and you could see her confidence grow. Huvermann ends day 1 in second place, but it looks like she’ll have a real fight to maintain that place with Oda Johanne sailing exceptionally well also.
Johanne finishes the opening double elimination in 3rd place, but will probably be slightly disappointed with that result such was her level of sailing. The Norwegian defeated Huvermann in the single elimination and then threatened to produce a stunning late comeback in Heat 50 against the Dutch girl as she landed a sick one-handed burner and a shuvit spock in the final minute. However, unfortunately for Johanne she lost out to Huvermann by just 0.15 of a point - a defeat that will hurt even more as she was her scoresheet was incomplete on starboard tack - missing one move.
Arrianne Aukes (Fanatic / NorthSails / Maui Ultra Fins) ends the opening day in 4th place as the big top 4 held strong. However, Aukes endured a topsy-turvy day… in her first heat she was pushed all the way by Mio Anayama (Starboard / S2Maui) but then improved significantly against Offringa in the next and that was kind of the story of her day. When she was good she was really good, but when things didn’t start off well in a heat she quickly faded. Aukes still has the chance to challenge for the top 3 but will need to improve her consistency in order to do so.
Meanwhile, Lena Erdil (Starboard / Point-7 / AL360 / Chopper Fins), who is much better known for her exploits on the race course managed to fight her way back to 5th place after defeating Sarah Jackson (RRD / Maui Ultra Fins and Johanna Rümenapp (I-99 / GunSails / Maui Ultra Fins) - the German was making her debut on the world tour and showed plenty of potential. You can expect to see her and Anayama fight back in the next elimination as both women landed some stylish manoeuvres.
After providing a flamboyant start to proceedings the Women’s Freestyle fleet will have a lay day tomorrow, which means the Men’s and Women’s Slalom fleets will enter the fray for the first time and with the forecast on offer there should be plenty of exhilarating racing to come. The slalom fleets will meet tomorrow morning at 10am for the skippers meeting with a first possible start at 10:30am (GMT+1).
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Result Double Elimination - 2018 Viana PWA World Cup - Women’s Freestyle
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 Lena Erdil (Starboard / Point-7 / AL360 / Chopper Fins)