Fuerteventura PWA World Cup
More drama ensued on the penultimate day of the 2019 Fuerteventura PWA World Cup - sponsored by René Egli - with the Men’s Freestyle world title race potentially taking a swing in direction, while there were numerous close battles and epic tussles with Fuerte delivering the best winds in a few days.
Freestyle - Double Eliminations
Yesterday we mentioned that Olya Raskina (JP / NeilPryde) may be one to watch in the Double Elimination and the Russian proved why today as she won four consecutive heats to progress from the first round of the double into 5th place for the event. Olya firstly defeated Alex Escherich (JP / NeilPryde), Clare Elliot, Lina Eržen (Flikka / Duotone) and lastly Johanna Rümenapp (I-99 / Gun Sails / Maui Ultra Fins) with Raskina’s consistency in Fuerte’s tricky waters proving pivotal.
Raskina’s come back was then brought to an end by Arrianne Aukes (Fanatic / Duotone / Maui Ultra Fins) with Aukes successfully defending her fourth place from the single elimination after landing a regular kono and shakas on both tacks. Aukes will now face Oda Brødholt (Starboard / Severne) in the first heat up tomorrow with a place on the podium up for stakes.
The biggest news of the day involves world title hopeful, Amado Vrieswijk (JP / Severne), who came into the event leading the world title race having staged a stunning come back to win in Bonaire. However, after an earlier than anticipated exit in the single elimination here, the Bonairean would be required to produce another mammoth come back to keep his world title fate in his own hands.
Vrieswijk had got the better of Jose ‘Gollito’ Estredo (Fanatic / Duotone) on his home waters of Bonaire, but the 9-time Freestyle World Champion is a different proposition in Fuerte and they would be pitched against each other again in Heat 29b - with the loser having to settle for joint 9th here. Something you’d have thought unthinkable before the start of the event.
Before their latest showdown heat, Vrieswijk said that he’d been sailing well and landing everything that he tried, but almost everything that could go wrong for the 23-year-old, did go wrong in this crucial heat with Vrieswijk crashing more moves in this heat than in the previous few seasons combined. Gollito also was not as his best from the beginning, but slowly found some rhythm to earn a bitter sweet victory, which saw him progress, but at the same time put a dent in his good friends title challenge. Vrieswijk did still produce a moment of magic with a shifty into shaka, but by that point the damage had already been self-inflicted.
Having defeated Vrieswijk, Gollito then posted the second highest scoring heat of the day against - Antony Ruenes (Tabou / GA Sails) - 170.6 points - having already posted the highest heat of the day in Heat 25b - 174.7 points - but then lost out by just 0.1 of a point to Yentel Caers (I-99 / Point-7) in an incredibly close battle for 5th and 6th. Gollito had looked like he had hit top gear after looking slightly out of sorts in the single elimination and was incensed by the loss given that his technically more difficult flaka-into-ponch scored 1.3 points less than Caers’ Ponch360. That led to the reigning event champion being eliminated from the competition.
Caers was then involved in a battle of the Belgian’s as he faced former Freestyle World Champion - Dieter van der Eyken (Severne / Severne Sails) in a bid to move into the top 4 and Caers delivered another powerful display again to advance, which keeps the 24-year-old firmly in the title race - particularly if he can continue his come back tomorrow.
However, next up for Caers will be Youp Schmit (I-99 / Avanti), who seems very pumped up and having had a clean bill of health is sailing with a new level of power and consistency than in recent years and Vrieswijk’s early exit may give him even more motivation for Finals Day.
Dieter van der Eyken can be delighted with his play though this week - particularly after rounding off his contest with his highest heat score of the week against Caers - 159.6 points. Freestyle may not be the former world champions main focus these days, but he showed once again that in technically thought conditions that he is still one of the best around over the last 4 days.
Elsewhere, Sam Esteve (JP / NeilPryde) and Antony Ruenes (Tabou / GA Sails) finish in joint 7th respectively, which should be good enough for Ruenes to rise into the top 5 in the overall rankings.
The top 10 is completed by Giovanni Passani (Tabou / GA Sails), Adrien Bosson (Fanatic / Duotone / Maui Ultra Fins), who was frustrated that his air kabikuchi against Yentel Caers in Heat 28b was adjudged to be outside the competition and therefore did not count. If it had then it is likely that he would’ve won as Bosson was then missing a move on port tack. Balz Müller (MB-Boards / Severne) completed a solid come back to also claim joint 9th alongside Vrieswijk, Passani and Bosson.
Vrieswijk’s title hopes are far from over, but the Bonairean would now probably rather see Yentel Caers defeat Schmit tomorrow and then see current event leader - Steven Van Broeckhoven (Starboard / Gun Sails) - defend his single elimination crown. That would then create a scintillating scenario heading into the season finale in Sylt with Vrieswijk and Van Broeckhoven on 9.7 points, Schmit on 5 points and Caers on 6 points - all 4 sailors would then have all the play for, but before then there is Finals Day with all still to play for Caers, Schmit, Jacopo Testa (RRD / RRD Sails / AL360) and Van Broeckhoven.
The skippers’ meeting for finals day of the 2019 Fuerteventura PWA World Cup has been called for 10:30am (GMT+1) tomorrow morning with the action on Super Saturday commencing from 11am - if conditions allow. With a similar forecast to today and clear skies predicted tomorrow should see an epic conclusion to the Freestyle.
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Current Ranking 2019 Fuerteventura PWA World Cup - Women’s Double Elimination
*Top 4 places may still change
1st Sarah-Quita Offringa (ARU - Starboard / NeilPryde / Maui Ultra Fins)
2nd Maaike Huvermann (NED - Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins)
3rd Oda Brødholt (NOR - Starboard / Severne)
4th Arrianne Aukes (NED - Fanatic / Duotone / Maui Ultra Fins)
5th Olya Raskina (RUS - JP / NeilPryde)
Current Ranking 2019 Fuerteventura PWA World Cup - Men’s Double Elimination
*Top 4 places may still change
1st Steven Van Broeckhoven (BEL - Starboard / Gun Sails)
2nd Jacopo Testa (ITA - RRD / RRD Sails / AL360)
3rd Youp Schmit (NB - I-99 / Avanti)
4th Yentel Caers (BEL - I-99 / Point-7)
5th Dieter van der Eyken (BEL - Severne / Severne Sails)
6th Jose ‘Gollito’ Estredo (VEN - Fanatic / Duotone)
7th Sam Esteve (FRA - JP / NeilPryde)
7th Antony Ruenes (FRA - Tabou / GA Sails)
9th Giovanni Passani (ITA - Tabou / GA Sails / AL360)
9th Adrien Bosson (FRA - Fanatic / Duotone / Maui Ultra Fins)
9th Balz Müller (SUI - MB-Boards / Severne)
9th Amado Vrieswijk (NB - JP / Severne)