Mercedes-Benz Sylt PWA Super Grand Slam
The opening day of the Mercedes-Benz Sylt PWA Super Grand Slam is usually reserved as a registration day, but with a promising looking forecast Sylt sprung into life on Day 1 with the Men’s and Women’s Wave fleets taking centre stage and the afternoon of competition certainly wasn’t one to be missed with two of the biggest upsets of the season on the cards.
Only the top 4 women remain left standing in Women’s Single Elimination after the first couple of rounds were completed during the afternoon. Current world No.4 - Lina Erpenstein (Severne / Severne Sails) - safely advanced at the expense of Maaike Huvermann (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins) in Heat 13a, but it wasn’t until later on that she really asserted.
Meanwhile, new vice-world champion - Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / NeilPryde / Maui Ultra Fins) - produced the standout performance of the day as the Aruban set the highest scoring heat - 18.88 points - with her wave riding, in particular, impressing as she made the most of the marginal conditions on offer by linking powerful front and backside combinations! Offringa will now face Erpenstein in the semifinals.
Iballa Moreno (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins), who is officially the 2018 Women’s PWA Wave World Champion already, produced an assured display to end the hopes of Marine Hunter (KA Sail), and Iballa will now face Steffi Wahl (Sailloft Hamburg) in the next round after the German defeated Justyna Sniady (Simmer / Simmer Sails / AL360).
At the start of the day, 5 sailors were in contention for the title - Victor Fernandez (Fanatic / Duotone / Shamal Sunglasses), Philip Köster (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins), Ricardo Campello (Brunotti Boards / Point-7), Marcilio Browne (Goya Windsurfing) and Jaeger Stone (Starboard / Severne / SWOX / Shamal Sunglasses), and while that is still true, two of those aforementioned sailors have seen their title aspirations diminish, while the odds of Victor Fernandez winning have shortened significantly after Köster and Browne both suffered shock first round exits to two sailors that came through the Qualification Round.
Firstly, Antony Ruenes (Tabou / GA Sails) produced one of the performances of the day to take down Marcilio Browne in Heat 2b as he landed a radical air spock, but it was his wave riding that proved decisive as the Frenchman showed better timing and a more vertical approach to cause the first major upset of the day.
Then, just a couple of heats later reigning world champion - Philip Köster (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins) - suffered the same fate at the hands of Julien Quentel (Patrik / Avanti), to stun the home crowd with Quentel also gaining the upper hand with his impressive wave riding.
Köster and Browne are still in contention for the title, but things just became a whole lot harder as they would now have to mount a mammoth comeback through the double elimination. So while they are down, they are not yet out.
Having seen a couple of his main rivals falter Victor Fernandez made no such error as the Spaniard, who is seeking a 3rd wave world title, not only progressed through his first round heat against Ross Williams (Tabou / GA Sails / Shamal Sunglasses), but also did so with a statement of intent as he posted the highest scoring heat of the day - 16.75 points. Fernandez also has fate completely in his own hands and the draw has worked out favourably for the 34-year-old as a potential route to the final does not involve facing any of his title rivals, which is huge given that a top 2 finish guarantees him the title - *assuming that Köster does not finish ahead of him.
Instead, Fernandez’s rivals will effectively have to take each other down as they try to forge their way into the final, while having to rely on one of their fellow pros doing them a favour. Jaeger Stone and Ricardo Campello are Fernandez's title rivals left in the Single Elimination and they would be set for a semifinal showdown if they were both to advance through their second round and quarterfinal ties. Stone overcame a tricky first round draw in starboard tack conditions against Morgan Noireaux (JP / S2Maui), while Campello also comfortably advanced as he dispatched of Pablo Ramirez (Patrik / Sailloft Hamburg)
Fernandez will still face a tough test in round two though as he will face Thomas Traversa (Tabou / GA Sails), who was one of the other sailors to really catch the eye as he claimed an impressive victory over Graham Ezzy (Tabou / Ezzy). TT endured a disappointing competition in the Canaries, but he looked a rejuvenated character today as he revelled in the starboard tack conditions, while looking much more like the Traversa who won the wave world title in 2014. Ezzy, meanwhile, was probably left cursing his luck to be drawn against Traversa as he would have progressed through many of the other first round ties.
Elsewhere, Denmark’s Kenneth Danielsen (Flikka / Simmer Sails), Gollito Estredo (Fanatic / Duotone), Leon Jamaer (JP / NeilPryde), Josep Pons (Simmer / Simmer Sails), Moritz Mauch (Severne / Severne Sails), Adam Lewis (Fanatic / Duotone / SWOX), Robby Swift (JP / NeilPryde / SWOX), Alex Mussolini (RRD / RRD Sails), Marc Paré (Simmer / Simmer Sails) and Camille Juban (Quatro / Simmer Sails) are all safely into the round of 16.
Moderate westerly winds are currently forecast for tomorrow morning, before being expected to strengthen from fresh to strong during the afternoon, which could see multiple disciplines taking to the water. Skippers’ meeting times for which can be found below:
Skippers’ Meeting Times Day 2 (GMT+2):
- Slalom & Foil - 9:30am - first possible 10:30am
- Freestyle & Wave - 11am - first possible start 11:30am
To stay up to date with all the latest developments from Germany — including the live stream, elimination ladders, entry list, images and live ticker simply click HERE and scroll to the bottom of the page.
Project Blue Life - Dedicated to Effective Climate Protection
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Thanks to Svein Rasmussen and Dr. Arne Fjortoft as our foundation partners of Blue Life, we have developed a system that turns events of all kind into tools for climate protection. This actively involves the competitors as well as spectators and digital users and viewers.
The world premier of this system will start this Friday in Sylt at the Mercedes-Benz PWA Windsurf World Cup.
For more details about the Blue Life project visit @ http://windsurfworldcup.com/en/blue-life/