Gran Canaria Wind & Waves Festival
The opening day of the 2018 Gran Canaria Wind & Waves Festival saw a full fleet of men - 48 - register for the next 7 days of competition, while 24 women also signed up as well as a record number of Youths. After registration, the competition began at 1:30pm in 35-45 knots of wind, which sent the sailors running for their smallest equipment.
In the opening women’s heat Caterina Stenta (RRD / RRD Sails / Maui Ultra Fins) faced 14-year-old Mar de Race (Loftsails), but the Italian avoided any upsets with a competent display, while Maaike Huvermann (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins) overcame Birgit Rieger (Flikka) with an excellent jumping performance, which saw the 20-year-old land a textbook forward before also stomping a backloop. Huvermann’s jumping was excellent, but she will need to perform better in the waves particularly as she goes up against Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / NeilPryde / Maui Ultra Fins) in round two.
Youth world champion - Nicole Bandini (Fanatic / Duotone) - scraped through her opening heat against 15-year-old Line Bang Wittrup (Patrik / Sailloft Hamburg) and the Italian will now look to improve when she goes up against Marine Hunter (KA Sails) in the next round. Meanwhile, like Huvemann, Oda Johanne’s (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins) jumping saw her cause a bit of an upset against Sarah Hilder (Simmer / Simmer Sails) as the freestyle girls enjoyed some success on the opening day.
In the following heat Nayra Alonso (Fanatic / Severne) was the clear standout as she quickly produced the highest scoring heat up to that point with a forward loop and a tabletop, but it was her wave riding that really caught the eye as she linked together two frontside turns and a backside air to earn 7 points in Heat 6a, while in Heat 5a Lena Erdil (Starboard / Point-7 / AL360 / Chopper Fins) progresses at the expense of Svetlana Kolpikova Bala.
The final heat of the day was worth waiting for as Steffi Wahl (Sailloft Hamburg) earned the highest score of the day - 27.88 points - after producing her usual stylish wave riding, while also landing a backloop and a forward to end the hopes of Alexa Escherich (JP / NeilPryde).
Youth’s Impress on Main Stage
The conditions were extremely challenging today as winds from around 35-45 knots saw most sailors reaching for either their 3.0s or 3.4s, while hunting out the waves required some patience and then excellent timing and reading to make the most out of the scoring opportunities.
While they may be two of the youngest sailors competing 15-year-old - Marino Gil (Goya Windsurfing) and 18-year-old Loick Lesauvage (Goya Windsurfing / Shamal Sunglasses) - produced the highest scoring heats of the first round, 24 points and 24.75 points, respectively to steal the show with impressive wave riding and jumping in the extreme conditions. Gil ended the hopes of Alex Grand-Guillot (Fanatic / Duotone) in Heat 2b, while Lesauvage defeated Arthur Arutkin (Fanatic / Duotone) in Heat 8b. Arutkin was unlucky at the start of the heat after seeing his board and sail separate mid-air after bailing on a double forward attempt, which cost him valuable time and couldn’t quite recover and will now have to wait for the double elimination.
In the opening heat of the day 19-year-old - Julian Salmonn (Gun Sails) - dispatched of Ben Proffitt (Simmer / Simmer Sails) with a solid display on the a-side, while Antoine Albert (Goya Windsurfing) just edged out Jose Romero Santana (Mistral / Challenger Sails) by just half a point to progress.
Antoine Martin (NeilPryde) made a safe start to his campaign in Heat 2a with a relatively comfortable victory over Spain’s Miguel Chapuis (JP / NeilPryde).
Locals vs Italian Freestylers
Heat 3 saw Dario Ojeda (Flikka / Flight Sails) go up against Francesco Cappuzzo (RRD / RRD Sails / AL360), while fellow local boy Pablo Ramirez (Patrik / Sailloft Hamburg) faced Jacopo Testa (RRD / RRD Sails / AL360) in the battle of the locals versus the Italian freestylers, but there were varying levels of success for the locals with only Ojeda progressing as Testa took down Ramirez - with his second wave, in particular, inflicting most of the damage as the Italian landed a radical goiter to earn 6.5 points.
Fellow local Josep Pons (Simmer / Simmer Sails) survived a minor scare against 17-year-old Takara Ishii (RRD / RRD Sails), who led for a large part of Heat 4a, but Pons eventually overturned the deficit as he stomped a double forward and a backloop to progress, while on the b-side Morgan Noireaux (JP / S2Maui) produced the highest scoring wave total of the day - 14 points - to dispatch of Sweden’s Markus Rydberg (Simmer / Simmer Sails).
Heat 5a saw the lead consistently change hands between Kenneth Danielsen (Flikka / Simmer Sails) and Mads Bjørnå (Fanatic / Duotone), but in the end, it was Bjørnå who prevailed from the battle of the Danes after landing a late backloop and connecting together his best wave with his penultimate effort. Meanwhile, Jose ‘Gollito’ Estredo (Fanatic / Duotone) overcame teammate Noah Vocker (Fanatic / Duotone / Maui Ultra Fins) to set up a tie against Thomas Traversa (Tabou / GA Sails) in the second round.
Heat 6a saw a tight start between Dieter van der Eyken (Severne / Severne Sails) and Amado Vrieswijk (JP / Severne), who was making his first appearance in the waves, but in the end the Belgian’s additional experience paid off as he landed an excellent frontside 3 to clearly progress on waves, while Vrieswijk edged the jumping. On the other half of the draw, Eric Sanllehy (Goya Windsurfing) saw off the challenge of Jake Schettewi (JP / Hot Sails Maui).
In the penultimate heat of the first round Graham Ezzy (Tabou / GA Sails) proved too much for Gustav Haggstrom (Simmer / Simmer Sails), while Florian Jung (Starboard / Gun Sails) survived a bit of a scare against Guillermo Alba Lasheras (Goya Windsurfing) to advance, however the German will need to up his game if he wants to go any further as he faces Jaeger Stone (Starboard / Severne / SWOX / Shamal Sunglasses) in the next round.
In the other half of Heat 8 Jules Denel (JP / NeilPryde) sailed confidently throughout to process against Takuma Sugi (Tabou / GA Sails).
Tomorrow looks set to be even windier than today based on the forecast and the swell is expected to increase, which should hopefully lead to a day of insane action from the world’s most radical sailors. The skippers’ meeting has been called for 10am with the action commencing from 10:30am (GMT+1) onwards. Don’t miss any of the action by tuning into www.pwaworldtour.com.
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