Its rock ‘n’ roll here at the PWA Grand Slam in Pozo Gran Canaria! After an
action packed day of radical wave competition Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Proof, Neil
Pryde) and Daida Moreno (Mistral, North) have both taken victory the first round
of men’s and women’s respective single elimination’s.
Dunkerbeck was back in full ‘Terminator mode’ today and dominated the men’s
final despite a brave challenge form Britain’s Nik Baker (North, Mistral). In
the losers final, Dutch ‘hell man’, Peter Volwater (F2, Arrows) took third position
ahead of Levi Siver (F2, North) of the USA, after busting out an insane double
forward which clinched him the heat. The women’s final was an all Moreno affair,
this time Daida Moreno took revenge on her sister Iballa (Mistral, North) who
had won their head to head battle in the freestyle yesterday. Third place in
the women’s went to Antonia Frey (RRD) with ex-world champion Karin Jaggi (F2,
Arrows) taking fourth.
As predicated the wind was blowing a solid 35-40 knots this morning which along
with 2-4 foot waves provided the perfect conditions for sailors to boost massive
jumps. In a day which was largely devoted to rocket airs spectators were treated
to a frenzy of wild doubles, massive table top forwards, ballistic one handed
back loops and gigantic push loops.
Bjorn Dunkerbeck led the field from the word go this morning, launching himself
into a multitude of orbit airs most of which were landed with his usual powerful
precision. Some of the sailors were joking on the beach that if Dunkerbeck were
to go any higher, then the local airport control up the coast might have to
be warned! The ‘Terminator’ was smoking! Dunkerbeck was not only king in the
air today but also showed up the rest of the fleet how to wave ride in Pozo.
He shredded the waves with reckless abandon highlighted when he landed a perfect
wave 360 in the final against Nik Baker. On his road to the final Dunkerbeck
quashed challenges from Baptiste Gossien (JP, Neil Pryde) Robert Sand (F2, Arrows)
Scott McKercher (Naish) Marcos Perez and Peter Voltwater (F2, Arrows).
Nik Baker was not too upset to have to settle for second place today. He came
through many tough heats taking down the likes of Tony Garcia (RRD), Scott Carvill
(Naish boards, Naish sails) Pierrick Wattez (Bic, Neil Pryde) Matt Pritchard
(AHD,Gaastra) and finally Levi siver (F2, North) before reaching the final.
To say there are no easy heats in the PWA anymore, especially here in Pozo is
a statement which proved itself this morning. In the first round this morning,
yesterday’s Freestyle winner Antoine Albeau (AHD, Neil Pryde) was taken out
by sixteen-year-old British sailor Robby Swift (JP, Neil Pryde). Swift who has
only just finished his exams at school eventually went down tothe experienced
Spaniard Stephanne Etienne (Bic) in the second round.
Francisco Goya (F2, Arrows) sailed brilliantly today and seemed to be advancing
steadily towards the final, that was until he came up against Peter Volwater
in the quarterfinals. Volwater put pay to the Argentineans hopes of glory with
an awesome display of ballistic jumping. After his exit, Goya was forced to
sit and watch his MPG team-mate Levi Siver advance into the semi final after
his defeat of Norwegian wild flyer, Vidar Jensen (Drops, North) in the quarters.
Siver was ripping and it took the dynamic consistency of Britain’s Nik Baker
who eventually put paid to his hopes of reaching his first Grand Slam Final.
In the women’s competition the Moreno sisters proved to the rest of the fleet
that they really are in a league of their own here in their home playground!
Both sisters were pulling of jumps that were higher than many of the male competitors
efforts here today. They have got balls too! Pardon the expression but these
girls have been brought up with the likes of Bjorn Dunkerbeck and Vidar Jensen
as teachers and have no respect for the word fear!
With results already in men’s and women’s freestyle and wave, tomorrow will
be the chance for the losers to redeem themselves in the respective double eliminations.
Pozo has produced the goods already this year but there is still a long way
to go before the eventually winners are decided. The forecast is for nuclear
winds…possibly building to sixty knots! The battle has only just begun!
BJORN DUNKERBECK (PROOF, NEIL PRYDE)
"It was fun out there. It was not ‘super’ windy but plenty enough for
the competition. It was actually pretty easy to sail. I was on a 4.2m and a
then a 4.5m in the final. I managed to catch a couple of good waves in the final.
The final went pretty good, I did not make everything 100% but I connected pretty
well. It was good enough to beat Nik and stay in first position after the single.
There is still a way to go but it is good to start off on the right foot. I
am definitely very happy with that and I hope to stay there!"
NIK BAKER (MISTRAL NORTH)
"I had great fun out there today. I had a successful day yesterday
in the freestyle and finished in second and today I was second in waves to Bjorn,
which can’t be bad. I had some good heats and beat some good sailors, everybody
was ripping out there. I used 4.1m, 3.8m and then 3.4m as the wind got stronger.
It was pretty bloody windy! Bjorn was on fire in the final, I might as well
come into the beach and watched him to be honest! I was just trying not to make
myself look stupid! (Laughs)"
DAIDA MORENO (MISTRAL, NORTH)
" I am pretty happy with the result. We were in the final in Vargas together
as well. I landed a pretty high back loop and did a couple of nice push loops.
I am really happy about the result. It was difficult conditions, I was on a
3.8m and pretty maxed out. There were a few big sets coming through but you
had to be lucky to get them. This is still only the single elimination but it
is good to have a result under my belt!"
IBALLA MORENO (MISTRAL, NORTH)
"I had a lot of fun in the final but I got a little bit nervous with
my jumping! I tried a double loop but it wasn’t very good and also a push loop
at the end of the heat. I needed that good jump but I did not land it very well.
I think the final was very good though. I like to show the people that we can
sail good, that is the most important thing!"