Gran Canaria Wind & Waves Festival
The time has finally come for the 2019 Gran Canaria Wind & Waves Festival, which is back bigger and better than ever from tomorrow until 20th July. This year’s edition has been extended to 9 days, while equal prize money will once again be on offer for the men and women. The Moreno Twins will also be trying to make this year’s event single-use plastic free. The stage is now set for arguably the most exciting event of the year with the world’s best sailors ready to boost into more gravity-defying stunts as they continue to push the boundaries of the sport!
Pozo Izquierdo is internationally famed in the windsurfing world due to its unrelenting wind and steep waves. The combination of these two factors creates the perfect playground for the world’s most extreme sailors to defy gravity and perform the biggest stunts on the planet. The local effects mean that even the slightest breeze can soon be accelerated to nuclear strength, with the wind peaking at around 50-60 knots and based on the current forecast that should see the guys and girls reaching for their smallest equipment.
For the first time in over two decades the legendary Moreno Twins will not start the season as the No.1 & No.2 seeds after Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / NeilPryde / Maui Ultra Fins) managed to force her way into the overall top 2 in 2018, which could potentially result in reigning world champion Iballa (Severne / Severne Sails / Maui Ultra Fins) and Daida (Severne / Severne Sails / Maui Ultra Fins) meeting in the semifinals rather than the final, while Offringa could face a slightly easier route to into the final than in recent years as she could dodge the twins until the final. However, with the double elimination format, there is still every possibility that the insurmountable knowledge and experience, that both Daida and Iballa have at Pozo, will still lead to a showdown of the two titans of women’s wave sailing, with an all Moreno final.
While Daida may have finished 3rd overall in 2018 she will start the Gran Canaria Wind & Waves Festival as the favourite for the event. Daida has been incredibly dominant in Pozo Izquierdo throughout her career and last year was no different with the multiple-time world champion producing what could be regarded as her most impressive display ever, as she showed off an incredible array of jumping and wave riding to earn a decisive victory and she will be a hard woman to stop again.
However, Offringa has stated clearly that she has her sights set on the Women’s PWA Wave World Championship and over the last few years has made steady progress. She will undoubtedly be hoping to challenge for the event title. The 14-time world champion has been in Gran Canaria since May prepping for the start of the season and having finished second here for the last two years the Aruban will be looking to try and go one place better this time around, while her victory in the season finale last year illustrated her ever increasing threat on the wave tour. A positive start to the season here would take Offringa a step closer to completing a career Grand Slam of World Championship titles having already won multiple Freestyle and Slalom crowns.
Reigning world champion - Iballa Moreno - finished 3rd here last year, while carrying a slight knee injury, and will be determined to re-establish herself in the top two on home waters. Iballa can also take great confidence that she is the only sailor to have denied her sister the top spot here in recent years having won the GCWWF in 2012.
Unfortunately, last year’s world No.4 Lina Erpenstein (Severne / Severne Sails / Maui Ultra Fins) and No.6 Steffi Wahl (Sailloft Hamburg) will both be missing from the lineup with Erpenstein withdrawing to focus on her studies, while Wahl suffered a foot injury last month while sailing in Denmark.
That will open up the draw slightly for Justyna Sniady (Simmer / Simmer Sails / AL360), who finished 5th here last year and she looks to have taken her sailing to another level again over the winter, so the Pole may well be hoping for a shot at the podium as well. Elsewhere, the likes of Maaike Huvermann (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins), Caterina Stenta (RRD / RRD Sails / Maui Ultra Fins & Oda Brødholt (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins) should be battling for a place in the top 5.
The Power of the Pushloop Forward
Last year’s event podium consisted of eventual champion - Philip Köster (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins) - runner up - Marcilio Browne (Goya Windsurfing) and 3rd place - Ricardo Campello (Brunotti Boards) and all 3 men had one thing in common… they all landed at least one pushloop forward each to make the podium and the pushloop forward could once again prove to be a decisive move in this year’s contest.
Köster will be looking to complete a hat-trick of event victories having won here in 2016 and ‘17, which would provide him the perfect platform to build upon as he aims to get his hands on a 5th world crown, while Campello, who came so close to a maiden world title in 2018 will be desperate to make a bright start. As will Browne, who won his last wave title in 2013 and all of their videos leading up to Pozo show that all three of them are charging and it should be one hell of a show!
For the first time since 2006 reigning world champion - Victor Fernandez (Fanatic / Duotone / Shamal Windsurfing) - finished outside the top 2 in Pozo last year - 4th - but as the only other man to have won the event, aside from Köster, since 2006 the Spaniard cannot be ruled out. Rumour has it that Fernandez has added a tabletop double forward to his repertoire, but it remains to be seen if he has added the pushloop forward to his artillery, and whether he is able to regain on a place on the podium in Pozo without that move.
Jaeger Stone (Starboard / Severne / SWOX) last finished on the podium here in 2016, but he has every chance of achieving that feat again over the next 9 days. The Australian finished 4th overall in 2018 and will be buoyed having won the Red Bull Storm Chase over the winter. Stone also possesses all the moves required to break into the top 3.
Adam Lewis (Fanatic / Duotone / SWOX) has finished 7th in Pozo for the last two years and should be there or there about again, as should Alex Mussolini (RRD / RRD Sails), who finished 5th here last season, but without the pushloop forward or stalled double it may be difficult for them go beyond the top 5 and both are more likely to be a bigger threat in Tenerife!
Elsewhere, the likes of Gollito Estredo (Fanatic / Duotone), Robby Swift (JP / NeilPryde / SWOX), Dany Bruch (Bruch Boards / GA Sails / AL360) and Thomas Traversa (Tabou / GA Sails) could all feature, while Alessio Stillrich (Fanatic / Duotone) will make his much anticipated return - having missed the whole of last season through injury.
Things didn’t quite go Antoine Martin’s (JP / NeilPryde) way last season, but the hugely talented and radical 25-year-old has been building confidence on the IWT and could easily do well here if he starts to build a bit of momentum. As could the likes of the highly rated Spaniard - Marc Paré (Simmer / Simmer Sails), who just missed out on a place in the overall top 10 last year, while local boys Josep Pons (I-99 / Point-7), Omar Sanchez (Starfish / KA Sail) and and Aleix Sanllehy (Tabou / GA Sails) are other sailors to keep an eye out for if back to full fitness!
There are almost too many names to mention given the depth of talent in the 48-man field, but a few select others would include the aspiring young talents of 16-year-old Marino Gil (Goya Windsurfing), 19-year old Loïck Lesauvage (Goya Windsurfing), 19-year-old Noah Vocker (Fanatic / Duotone) and 22-year-old Arthur Arutkin (Fanatic / Duotone), while their more experienced peers such as Moritz Mauch (Severne / Severne), Leon Jamaer (JP / NeilPryde), Jules Denel (JP / NeilPryde) and Dieter van der Eyken (Severne / Severne) could all feature.
As well as the full Men’s and Women’s World Cup, the Gran Canaria Wind & Waves Festival will also stage the next stop on the PWA Youth Wave World Tour and you’ll be able to see the sports next generation of stars battling it out also over the next 9 days.
The current forecast looks as though the event will start with lighter winds (by Pozo’s standards) and smaller waves, but by the start of next week it looks like there could be some classic Pozo conditions on the cards! Don’t miss any of the action from this year’s Gran Canaria Wind & Waves Festival by tuning into www.pwaworldtour.com between 12th-20th July.
You can stay up to date with all the latest developments from Gran Canaria— including the live stream, elimination ladders, entry list, images and live ticker simply by clicking HERE and scrolling to the bottom of the page.
Schedule For Day 1: (All Times GMT+1)
- Registration 10-11am
- Skippers’ Meeting - 1pm
- First Possible Start - 1:30pm
Recap of 2018 Women’s Wave Top 5
1st Iballa Ruano Moreno (ESP - Severne / Severne Sails / Maui Ultra Fins)
2nd Sarah-Quita Offringa (ARU - Starboard / NeilPryde / Maui Ultra Fins)
3rd Daida Ruano Moreno (ESP - Severne / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins)
4th Lina Erpenstein (GER - Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins)
5th Justyna Sniady (POL - Simmer / Simmer Sails / AL360)
Recap 2018 Men’s Wave Top 10
1st Victor Fernandez (ESP - Fanatic / Duotone / Shamal Sunglasses)
2nd Ricardo Campello (VEN/BRA - Brunotti Boards)
3rd Philip Köster (GER - Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins)
4th Jaeger Stone(AUS - Starboard / Severne / Shamal Sunglasses / SWOX)
5th Marcilio Browne (BRA - Goya Windsurfing)
6th Adam Lewis (UK - Fanatic / Duotone / SWOX)
7th Alex Mussolini (ESP - RRD / RRD Sails)
8th Thomas Traversa (FRA - Tabou / GA Sails)
9th Robby Swift (UK - JP / NeilPryde / SWOX)
10th Daniel Bruch (GER - Bruch Boards / GA Sails / AL360)