The 2007 Costa Teguise Grand Slam - Day 3
More swell and strong winds made the race crew’s job difficult in setting a course again today.
Logo high sets rolled through the competition area making the marker buoys disappear in between the peaks and white-water.
Along with the irregular results there were contrasting tactics and approaches paying-off
Race 1 was one of the best of the day on the pushing tide and shallow sections of the reef
Cyril Moussilmani missed-out by going over early in the first heat to earn a big fat PMS. Pieter Bijl (Fanatic / NeilPryde) also tripped-out of his first round heat in the tricky conditions. ‘It’s so tough out there man’ said the NeilPryde head tester. ‘Yeah OK with the surf it’s really fun, but I found the course a little tight and I screwed-up my first race which wasn’t ideal’
The final was won by Micah Buzianis (JP / NeilPryde), the current tour runner-up ‘That was probably the best start and race I’ve ever had. I was at full-tilt on a swell and got to the mark first and I didn’t even know who or how close anyone behind me was!’
Finian Maynard (F2 / NeilPryde) described Buzianis’ impressive win it from further behind ‘Micah just made a dream start. He was totally flat-stick, in front of a massive swell, bang on zero, and just absolutely motored down that reach and there was no way even Bjorn, who had a pretty awesome start himself, could catch him. I was caught up in the pack and struggled to get even up to 4th at one point. All in all you just have to say Micah’s racing pretty damn well this year’
The second race threw-up further controversy by spitting-out more top favorites. First Antoine Albeau (Starboard /NeilPryde) was over-eager and crossed prematurely, plus Maynard and Buzianis missed the cut in the second semi-final.
This time however Bijl was on the warpath. ‘I had a great boat-end start and came into the first mark in around 5th or 6th and accelerated away. At the second mark Steve Allen (Tabou / Gaastra) left me a little gap so I took my opportunity and snuck through, and then did the same again with Cyril on the last mark, I got alongside him and got a great gust on the last reach and took him out basically. That boat-end getaway was vital for me. The downwind end is shorter for sure, but it’s busy and you’re in dirty air, and it’s risky with that many people on top of you. I banked on getting clean air and onto a ground swell so I could sail the course downhill all the way if you like’
Micah Buzianis had another shocker in the third race. He fell in his semi-final but couldn’t fight back enough in time to make in into the top 5 who’d advance
This time it was Dunkerbeck’s time to perform after a hard afternoon’s hustling. ‘Well I had no problem with speed or tactics all day but this race was the only one where I managed to get away without anyone taking me out or really testing this new ‘no-rules’ environment at the marks. I was on a 6.8 and a 69 T1 Board – I was pretty stacked and could’ve easily been on a 6.3. Anyway, the race was just straightforward and I certainly proved that my pace is superior and sped all the way home without any trouble. I enjoyed the surf as it’s been a couple of years since we had nice surf-slalom conditions and we couldn’t have asked for anything better really. I needed that race and it made my day’
The call for the 4th race was for a half-fleet, 20-man heat format. No surprises in the two qualifying heats set-up a magnificent final for the spectators on the beachside grandstand.
Britain’s Dan Ellis (Fanatic / Naish) stunned everyone on land and water with his ruthless victory
Dan was cheered in by his mates on the beach, many of them rivals who were stoked to see him take home a bullet.
‘I’ve had a stressful time this event as my grandmother died a couple of days ago. I found it really hard to concentrate this morning and had some shocking result. So, I told myself I had to make the most of my chances as at this level they’re rare, and I wanted to do well for her and in her honour. All day I reckon you’ve had to start at the pin-end – and in every race I’ve had a good start and reached the first mark near the top –plus the pin-end leaves a much shorter route to the mark. All my mistakes have been later down the course today and when that happens it’s bye-bye. This race I decided to make it count, and I nailed it from start to finish. I had to take a few deep breaths to keep in control, and I went wide around a set wave hoping that the others got caught in the white-water. I stayed calm and put distance between myself and Finian and made it count’
The forecast calls for more of the same conditions and the plan is to run a few more races tomorrow to reach the second discard, and then finish the 2nd double elimination of the freestyle. It will be interesting to see which tactics pay off as the story unfolds and the event intensifies.
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