FORSA Bonaire PWA World Cup
The final day of the 2019 FORSA Bonaire PWA World Cup was billed as Super Saturday and in the end it didn’t disappoint with a mix of emotion and drama making for a fitting finale in front of a packed out crowd, who created a football match-esque atmosphere which spurred the world’s best freestylers to push even harder in the pursuit of victory.
Finals day was split into two halves and in the morning the women’s fleet was whittled down to just the top 3 ladies standing, which saw Arrianne Aukes (Fanatic / Duotone / Maui Ultra Fins) successfully defend her 4th place, but she may feel there was a missed opportunity as she pushed Oda Johanne (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins) all the way in the battle for 3rd and 4th, but couldn’t quite land the higher scoring move she needed on starboard tack to earn her first podium since 2014.
Upon the restart Johanne faced a rematch with Maaike Huvermann (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins) and for a long time the heat was evenly balanced, however, Huvermann then upped her game by landing a double spock on both tacks and a culo to setup a rematch with Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / NeilPryde / Maui Ultra Fins) - leaving the Norwegian to complete the podium in 3rd place.
Into the final and Huvermann, just as she did in the single elimination, threw everything she had at Offringa, but for a long time, it was the Aruban leading the fight and looking like she would claim the victory there and then. However, Huvermann managed to stay in contention throughout and in the dying seconds the 21-year-old performed a buzzer beater as she landed a superb regular chachoo to take the event into a Super Final.
Offringa was as gracious in defeat, her first time that she had lost a heat in 11 years on the world tour, as she is in victory, but unsurprisingly she was emotional upon hearing the result. Meanwhile, with a rapturous crowd and becoming the first person to take a heat off Offringa, Huvermann dropped to the ground almost in disbelief as emotions rose to the boil.
After a short break , Offringa and Huvermann would once again go head-to-head in a winner takes it all finale, which turned into another enthralling battle. However, it was Offringa who was able to raise her game to another level as she dug deep to win the opening event of the year. Huvermann, after reaching the dizzy heights of the final couldn’t quite replicate the same performance again and after a couple of failed double spock attempts it took some words of wisdom from the beach by Dieter van der Eyken (Severne / Severne Sails) to lift Huvermann to fight further. And that’s exactly what she did - landing double spocks on both tacks again almost immediately afterwards. Offringa though wasn’t to beat as she set the second highest scoring heat of the contest to rightfully be crowned the Queen of Bonaire. Both girls deservedly received a warm reception upon returning to the beach after putting on a wonderful display.
Sarah-Quita Offringa makes a winning start to the year: “Cheers first of all to everyone, and thanks to everyone on the beach, we can hear you cheering on the water and that really motivates us! This was the first time in 11 years that I’ve lost a heat, and I’ve been thinking about that this week - about how I would react… I didn’t want to be a sore loser and actually, I felt a sense of excitement after the heat with Maaike! Congrats to Maaike - she sailed an amazing heat! Thanks to everyone from the PWA for an amazing week!”
Amado Vrieswijk (JP / Severne) was the star of the double elimination and the local boy continued his comeback in the morning by defeating Antony Ruenes (Tabou / GA Sails), Giovanni Passani (Tabou / GA Sails / AL360) and Yentel Caers (I-99 / Point-7) to move into the top 3. By this point, Vrieswijk had already won 7 heats in a row.
After a middle of the day interlude, Vrieswijk would then resume against Julian Mas (JP / Gun Sails), who was already guaranteed his first ever podium. The atmosphere during this heat was exceptional with the local crowd cheering for their local boy, while the French possie responded for their man. Unfortunately for Mas, he never quite scaled the heights that he had shown in the single elimination leaving Vrieswijk to march on and set up a final against fellow Bonairean - Youp Schmit (I-99 / Avanti).
In the final Vrieswijk would prove too strong for Schmit with the 23-year-old once again posting a monstrous score over 180 points and it was soon clear that a Super Final for the Men’s fleet was also on the cards.
The Super Final began in dramatic fashion… prior to the heat starting, Schmit needed medical attention for a swollen foot and just a few minutes later the 24-year-old appeared to be sailing back to the beach. At this point, the crowd and the judges weren’t sure if Schmit would be forced to retire through injury. It then became apparent that Schmit had lost his fin after attempting a flaka-shaka in the shallows. Once Schmit neared the beach he threw his board away in disbelief at the timing and understandably looked dejected. However the local crowd were quick to rally behind another of their local men, almost like the 12th man, and Schmit reacted immediately by landing a double culo. The two Bonairean’s then traded world class manoeuvres, which saw the lead swing back and forth with the duel poised on a knife-edge. Ultimately though it was Vrieswijk, who would manage to complete a mammoth comeback with Vrieswijk winning 10 consecutive heats to be crowned the King of Bonaire, but even more importantly taking a massive step towards a maiden world title having earlier defeated 9-time world champion - Gollito Estredo (Fanatic / Duotone) - in the 3rd round of the double elimination.
Schmit also deserves great credit for the way in which he dug deep when it really counted and should be hugely proud on his first podium finish on the world tour, which also sees him end the event as one of the title contenders for 2019.
Amado Vrieswijk does it the hard way: “It’s been a long, long, long week, a long week, but an amazing though. The wind was light the final, but the level has been so high throughout and Youp pushed me all the way! I’m just really, really happy!”
Shortly after the conclusion of the finals, a prize giving was held in front of packed out beach and this event will go down as one of the best ever Freestyle events. We’ll be back on Monday with a full summary of a spectacular event to see how the season weighs up from here.
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Result 2019 FORSA Bonaire PWA World Cup - Women’s Freestyle
1st Sarah-Quita Offringa (ARU - Starboard / NeilPryde / Maui Ultra Fins)
2nd Maaike Huvermann (NED - Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins)
3rd Oda Johanne (NOR - Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins)
4th Arrianne Aukes (NED - Fanatic / Duotone / Maui Ultra Fins)
5th Jazzy Zwerus (NED - JP / NeilPryde)
Result 2019 FORSA Bonaire PWA World Cup - Men’s Freestyle
1st Amado Vrieswijk (NB - JP / Severne)
2nd Youp Schmit (NB - I-99 / Avanti)
3rd Julian Mas (FRA - JP / Gun Sails)
4th Yentel Caers (BEL I-99 / Point-7
5th Giovanni Passani (ITA - Tabou / GA Sails)
6th Antony Ruenes (TFRA - abou / GA Sails)
7th Adrien Bosson (FRA - Fanatic / Duotone / Maui Ultra Fins)
7th Davy Scheffers (NED - Tabou / GA Sails)
9th Sam Esteve (FRA - JP / NeilPryde)
9th Steven Van Broeckhoven (BEL - Starboard / Gun Sails)
9th Taty Frans (NB - Point-7)
9th Julian Wiemar (GER - Starboard / Severne)