Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam

Day 1: Vrieswijk Sets Highest Score of the Day Despite Carrying Injury As Only Top 4 Sailors Remain

A full fleet of 48 men registered for the opening male freestyle contest of the year this morning, while 11 women and 14 youth’s also signed up for the 2018 Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam - sponsored by René Egli. With the trade winds in full flow, the men’s Freestyle single elimination began at 1:15pm with most sailors on 4.4m or smaller as the afternoon progressed, but conditions certainly proved tricky at times with the chop testing the world’s bests skills, however, it was the usual suspects who came out on top.



At the close of play, only the top 4 sailors remain left standing in the single elimination on a day when there were very few upsets as the top seeds generally prevailed. In actual fact 4 of out last year’s top 6 make up the last 4 - Jose ‘Gollito’ Estredo (Fanatic / Duotone) - 1st - Amado Vrieswijk (JP / Severne) - 2nd - Yentel Caers (JP / Point-7) - 4th - and Adrien Bosson (Fanatic / Duotone / Maui Ultra Fins) - 6th, while 6 out of last year’s top 8 made it into the top 8 - the aforementioned 4 sailors plus Jacopo Testa (RRD / RRD Sails / AL360) - 3rd - and Antoine Albert (Goya Windsurfing) - 7th. All made the quarterfinals or better.

8-time world champion - Jose ‘Gollito’ Estredo - safely navigated his way into the semifinals after making easy work of Aron Etmon (Starboard / S2Maui) in his opening heat of the day, before surviving a minor scare against Youp Schmit (I-99 / Avanti) when the Venezuelan appeared to break some equipment after landing an air chachoo, but luckily Tonky Frans (RRD / RRD Sails) was on hand to sail him a different setup. Gollito then ended the hopes of Antoine Albert as the 29-year-old asserted late on in what had been a well-contested heat.

Amado Vrieswijk may have been heavily taped up at the start of the day after overstretching or tearing his stomach muscles on his first day of training here, but you would never have known that the Bonairean wasn’t at 100% based on his sailing - although at times you could clearly see he was in pain. Vrieswijk, who has finished as the vice-world champion for the last two seasons, laid down the highest scoring heat of the day against Steven Van Broeckhoven (JP / Gun Sails) in Heat 21b as he racked up 180.2 points, which must be an intimidating thought for his rivals, given that the 22-year-old isn’t 100% fit. 

Meanwhile, Adrien Bosson impressed throughout as the Frenchman defeated Nic Hibdige (Tabou / GA Sails) and Taty Frans (Starboard / GA Sails / Shamal Sunglasses) before posting the second highest scoring heat of the day - 176.5 points - against Jacopo Testa (RRD / RRD Sails / AL360) to book his place in the last 4.

Bosson will face Vrieswijk, while the final man in the top 4 is Yentel Caers, who will line up against Gollito Estredo in the battle for the final. Caers won the battle of the Belgian’s by defeating 2015 PWA Freestyle World Champion - Dieter van der Eyken (Severne / Severne Sails) - having already negotiated his was past Italy’s Francesco Cappuzzo (RRD / RRD Sails / AL360) and England’s Jamie Howard (JP) with a series of explosive displays. Although a direct comparison cannot be made between the scores of Caers and Gollito today, the Belgian did outscore the reigning world champion in every heat, so it could be an amazing semifinal.

Move of the Day

Antoine Albert sits in joint 5th alongside Jacopo Testa, Steven Van Broeckhoven and Dieter van der Eyken. The New Caledonian claimed an excellent victory against Antony Ruenes (Tabou / GA Sails) to move into the top 5 and also landed the best move of the day with an incredible, bolt upright, ankle dry air chachoo.

Elsewhere, Davy Scheffers (Tabou / GA Sails) performed well in his first heat, but then arrived a minute late to Heat 18b against Amado Vrieswijk and he never stood a chance from then on - only landing 3 moves in total, while Adrian Beholz (Patrik / Sailloft Hamburg) also suffered a similar meltdown against Dieter van der Eyken - landing only 2 moves in the entire heat and both will now have to wait for the double elimination.

Corto Dumond made an impressive debut as the 16-year-old caused one of the only upsets of the day against Loick Spicker (RRD / RRD Sails).

With the wind becoming gustier and the stunt ramps decreasing with the outgoing tide the decision was made to hold the men’s semifinals and finals until tomorrow. The sailors will meet again at 10am tomorrow morning with the action commencing from 10:30am (GMT+1) onwards.

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