Fuerteventura PWA World Cup
The second day of Freestyle at the 2019 Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam proved tricky once again with the unusual weather pattern continuing with cloudy skies once again hampering the wind. After a slow morning, the skies did finally try and clear, but with a few rogue clouds remaining, the wind stayed on the light side once again, while choppy waters made things tricky. At the end of the second day of Freestyle only the top 4 men and women remain standing, but there were several less than amused faces on the men’s side of the draw.
The women entered the Freestyle arena for the first time this week and the top seeds survived unscathed in their opening battles with all the current top 4 women in the world ranking all progressing into the semifinals.
Oda Brødholt (Starboard / Severne) and Maaike Huvermann (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins) both came into the event carrying slight injuries with Brødholt tweaking her should and Huvermann her hand, but both girls safely progressed as they defeated Lina Eržen (Flikka / Duotone) and Clare Elliot (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins) respectively. The current World No.2 and No.3 will now meet in the semifinals as their rivalry continues.
Meanwhile, Arrianne Aukes (Fanatic / Duotone / Maui Ultra Fins) overcame a tough first round draw against Olya Raskina (JP / NeilPryde), who was making her first reappearance after being absent last year, to book a place in the quarterfinals and the Dutch girl produced an efficient display to defeat Johanna Rümenapp (I-99 / Gun Sails / Maui Ultra Fins) and book her place in the semifinals.
Aukes will now face a difficult task though as she will take on 11-time Freestyle World Champion and current world tour leader - Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / NeilPryde / Maui Ultra Fins) - in the semifinals. The Aruban wasted little time in her heat against Jazzy Zwerus (JP / NeilPryde) to quickly rack up the highest score of the day - 114.9 points- after landing culos on both tacks, a burner, a future and the pick on the bunch - a perfect spock culo. If Offringa maintains that level of sailing then she may prove almost impossible to stop once again.
While the top seeds in the Women’s Single Elimination may have survived the day unscathed, the same cannot be said for the Men’s draw with none of the current top 7 sailors in the world ranking progressing into the top 4 on a day full of close calls, upsets and disgruntled sailors.
The first name into the semifinals was Jacopo Testa (RRD / RRD Sails / AL360) after the Italian produced one of the biggest upsets of the day by defeating current World No.1 - Amado Vrieswijk (JP / Severne) - in what proved to be a very tight heat. Testa landed a sick planing double culo, bongka, spock-into-kono and a kabikuchi to earn a narrow earn a 5.5 point victory. Vrieswijk landed a double culo and kabikuchi of his own, while also earning his highest single score for an air funnel into burner, but was incensed that his pasko could score lower than a regular burner by Testa. However, that by itself would not change the result and you can take nothing away from Testa who sailed a solid heat. Vrieswijk will now have to do things the hard way, just as he did in Bonaire, by fighting his way back through the double elimination.
The next name into the top 4 was the 2015 event and world champion - Dieter van der Eyken (Severne / Severne Sails) - after the Belgian took down Antony Ruenes (Tabou / GA Sails) with an assured display. Ruenes was upset that his air funnel into burner didn’t count, but it was adjudged to be completed one second after the buzzer, but even if it would have counted the Frenchman still would’ve needed it to score at least 22.7 points to win the heat.
Steven van Broeckhoven (Starboard / Gun Sails) then faced Yentel Caers (I-99 / Point-7) in the battle of Belgium in Heat 14a and come the end of the heat there was almost nothing to separate the two sailors. Van Broeckhoven was deemed to have edged the duel on port tack by 1.5 points, while Caers scored 0.8 of a point more on starboard tack with both sailors scoring 20 out of 20 for variation. That meant Van Broeckhoven had won the tie by 0.7 of a point and the former world champion was delighted upon hearing the result.
Since the end of the day, it has since come to light, under a review, that a move was missed between Sam Esteve (JP / NeilPryde) and Youp Schmit (I-99 / Avanti) and the two sailors will now have to resail their heat tomorrow. Earlier in the day, Schmit had caused a huge upset by defeating top seed - Gollito Estredo (Fanatic / Duotone) - who looked frustrated at times during his heat.
Elsewhere, Davy Scheffers (Tabou / GA Sails) was not impressed to have missed out on a spot in the top 8 against Jacopo Testa with the Dutchman clearly feeling that he had won the heat. Scheffers felt several of his moves were underscored and/or adjudged to be the wrong move.
Meanwhile, Adrien Bosson (Fanatic / Duotone / Maui Ultra Fins), missed out on a place in the top 8 by the narrowest of margins to Antony Ruenes, but the vice-world champion remained extremely composed upon hearing the result and will now look to battle his way back through the double elimination.
The forecast for tomorrow predicts lighter winds than the last two days, but given the inaccuracy of the forecast for both Monday and Tuesday, we will just have to wait and see what happens with the conditions. The sailors will meet again tomorrow morning at 10:30am (GMT+1) for the skippers’ meeting with a first possible start at 11am.
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