Gran Canaria Wind & Waves Festival
Finals Day at the 2019 Gran Canaria Wind & Waves Festival certainly didn’t disappoint with several titanic battles taking place as winds over 40 knots and improving waves, for a time, provided a fitting end to another epic contest in Pozo Izquierdo with the world’s best wave sailors pushing the boundaries of the sport once again.
The opening women’s heat of the day saw reigning world champion - Iballa Moreno (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins) - pitted against Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / NeilPryde / Maui Ultra Fins) in a battle for the podium. The heat was a close run thing with Iballa accumulating the higher jump scores, and things remain evenly balanced on the wave front until Offringa produced a moment of magic to rotate through a radical taka to earn 8.5 points - which proved to be the difference as Offringa progressed.
Having sailed so well against Iballa, many thought that Offringa would then use that performance as a stepping stone to gather momentum and fight her way up the podium. However, the Aruban produced an uncharacteristically below par display at a critical time and was ultimately eliminated by Justyna Sniady (Simmer / Simmer Sails / AL360), who sailed another solid heat landing an excellent tabletop forward and a backloop, while also earning the highest single wave score of the heat. Offringa started strongly with a big stalled forward and high tweaked pushloop, but then crashed numerous big backloop attempts. The real problem for Offringa was on the wave as the 15-time world champion only recorded two wave ride attempts during the entire 15-minute heat, which cost her dearly.
Waiting for Sniady in the final would be Daida Moreno (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins), who came absolutely flying out of the starting blocks to rack up over 25 points in the first 4 minutes after landing a completely dry big stalled forward, a trademark one-handed backloop all the way, while unleashing several flowing, slashy cutbacks. Sniady started slowly and while she did recover towards the end of the heat with a good table forward there was no chance for the Pole to reel in Daida, who added a table forward to her scoresheet to seal the victory, while she also pulled the trigger on a double forward, which she wasn’t far away from landing! Daida’s latest victory in Pozo means she has now recorded victory here 18 times in the last 19 years!
Between them - Philip Köster (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins) and Victor Fernandez (Fanatic / Duotone / Shamal Sunglasses) - have had a stranglehold on the event having won it every year between them since 2006. However, that all changed today with Ricardo Campello (Brunotti Boards) fending off a late charge by Köster to win the opening wave event of the year!
Köster had started his comeback through the double elimination against Victor Fernandez (Fanatic / Duotone / Shamal Sunglasses) and he began with a real statement of intent as he posted the highest score of the whole contest - 45.39 points - meaning he only dropped 4.61 points out of a possible 50.
Köster would then face a rematch against - Marcilio Browne (Goya Windsurfing) - and the two of them produced another epic heat, just as in the single with both men leaving nothing on the line. Both sailors landed huge double forwards and tabletop double forwards, while remaining very evenly matched on their wave scores. Critically, however, Köster was able to land an almost perfect pushloop forward to earn 9.7 points, while Browne had crashed his 3 opening efforts, but the tied remained in the balance heading into the final minute with Browne requiring a 7.85 point jump or better to win. Unfortunately for Browne his last minute pushloop forward fell just short at 7 points and Köster marched on to setup a final against Campello, while Browne completes the podium in Pozo.
Köster then claimed a clearcut victory against Campello in the final after Campello made a slow start and failed to complete his scoresheet meaning there would be a Super Final to follow.
At this point the decision was made by the Head Judge to extend the heat duration by 5 minutes to 20 minutes in a winner takes all battle. Campello used the one heat break to recompose himself and the 34-year-old produced a much better performance in the Super Final landing a massive double forward - 8.5 points - a pushloop forward - 9.2 points - and a tweaked pushloop to place Köster under pressure.
The 4-time world champion duly responded with a huge stalled double forward to earn perfect 10s and also landed a big one-foot backloop to earn a further 6.12 points and with the German well ahead in the wave riding department it seemed Köster was well poised to attack. However, instead of focusing on jumps Köster focused on waves, much to his caddies despair who was desperately running up and down the beach trying to communicate that information to Köster. Seemingly unbeknown to the 25-year-old he only required a 4.51 point jump to win the heat, but it wasn’t until the dying seconds that he launched into a make or break tabletop double forward, which he couldn’t quite sail away from and with that Campello cracked the Köster/Fernandez strangehold. With the benefit of hindsight a big stalled forward or tweaked pushloop would’ve done the job.
Take nothing away from Campello though as he sailed brilliantly under pressure when it mattered the most, while he also showed off the radical side that makes him so fun to watch, throwing a trademark one-hand, one-foot forward loop while also trying a massive forward-into-air spock and he deservedly walks away with the event title here and makes the perfect start to the season in his bid for a first wave world title.
The plan for the last two days of the event is to run a Youth’s Super Session. On Friday the Boy’s U13s and U15s and the Girl’s U15s, U17s & U20s will compete, while on the Saturday the Boy’s U17s and U20s will take the centre stage one last time. The sign up for the Youth’s tomorrow will be held at 12pm (GMT+1) with a first possible start at 1pm.
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Result 2019 Gran Canaria Wind & Waves Festival - Women’s Double Elimination
1st Daida Moreno (ESP - Severne / Severne Sails / Maui Ultra Fins)
2nd Justyna Sniady (POL - Simmer / Simmer / AL360)
3rd Sarah-Quita Offringa (ARU - Starboard / NeilPryde / Maui Ultra Fins)
4th Iballa Moreno (ESP - Severne / Severne Sails / Maui Ultra Fins)
5th Alexia Kiefer Quintana (GER - Fanatic / Duotone)
6th Maaike Huvermann (NED - Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins)
7th Caterina Stenta (ITA / RRD Sails / Maui Ultra Fins)
7th Oda Brødholt (NOR - Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins)
Result 2019 Gran Canaria Wind & Waves Festival - Men’s Double Elimination
1st Ricardo Campello (BRA/VEN - Brunotti Boards)
2nd Philip Köster (GER - Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins)
3rd Marcilio Browne (BRA - Goya Windsurfing)
4th Victor Fernandez (ESP - Fanatic / Duotone / Shamal Sunglasses)
5th Jaeger Stone (AUS - Starboard / Severne / SWOX )
6th Marc Paré (ESP - Simmer / Simmer Sails)
7th Jose ‘Gollito’ Estredo (VEN - Fanatic / Duotone)
7th Alex Mussolini (ESP - RRD / RRD Sails)
9th Thomas Traversa (FRA - Tabou / GA Sails)
9th Julian Salmonn (GER - Bruch Boards / Gun Sails)
9th Leon Jamaer (GER - JP / NeilPryde)
9th Antoine Martin (FRA - JP / NeilPryde)