POZO GRAN CANARIA PWA GRAND SLAM DAY 3
Thursday July 11, 2002
Current world number one PWA freestyler, Antoine Albeau (AHD, Neil Pryde)
is back on top after winning the second round of the men¹s freestyle here
at the PWA Gran Canaria 2002 Grand Slam. In winds blowing a solid 30 knots
the big man from France took down Matt Pritchard (AHD, Gaastra) of America
in a closely contested final. The women¹s second elimination saw Daida
Moreno (Mistral, North) take her second victory, this time against
Venezuelan sailor Colette Guadagnino (JP, Neil Pryde).
The day started badly for yesterday¹s winner Remko De Weerd (Gaastra,
who missed the first half of his opening heat. The Dingle format (combo of
single and double elimination) which is being used here in Gran Canaria
meant he was given a second chance but as a result was re-seeded to meet
up with Nik Baker (Mistral, North) in third round. This time around Baker
took his revenge and advanced after stringing together a scintillating
heat leaving De Weerd out of the running.
Albeau meanwhile, advanced through two tough heats against Dioni
Guadagnino (JP, Neil Pryde) and Peter Volwater (F2, Arrows) before facing
Baker in the quarterfinals. Albeau¹s strength in the blistering 30-knot
winds accounted for a major part of his success today and he hung onto his
moves whilst many others couldn¹t handle the conditions. After disposing
of Baker in a riveting confrontation, Albeau then went on to take down
young Jonas Ceballos (Gaastra, Fanatic) of Spain in the semis.
On the other side of the draw Matt Pritchard fought his way to the final
after winning heats against Baptiste Gossien (JP, Neil Pryde), John Skye
(F2, Arrows), Tonki Frans (Gaastra, AHD) and Konan Lang (Naish sails).
Pritchard was in the zone today and nailing nearly every trick in the book.
The final gave the crowds a spectacular display of old and new freestyle
moves with both sailors pulling out all the stops to impress the five-man
judges panel. Albeau managed to nail a flawless Swayzie and a multitude of
tricks, which narrowly gave him the edge over the vigilant challenge of
Pritchard. The losers final was won by Conan Lang of Brazil whose
repertoire included a switch stance spock giving him the edge over local
sailor Jonas Ceballos.
³I am happy, this morning I did not feel that I was sailing that well.
was on 4.5 most of the day and the wind was pretty constant. I think it
was a good final and we gave the crowds some good action so I am pretty
happy about that!²
There was more disappointment for Josh Stone (JP, Neil Pryde) today who
was defeated in the fourth round by Nik Baker. After two rounds he is
currently back in fifteenth place and will have to make a miraculous
recovery to make it back to a podium placing.
Daida Moreno landed an incredible clew first spock 540 this afternoon on
her way to the women¹s final. Her level of sailing seems to be improving
as the competition progresses and who knows what moves she will be nailing
by the end of the week! Today¹s final was a close battle with Colette
Gaudagnino but Moreno¹s jumping was more varied and more radical. In the
women¹s losers final Karin Jaggi (F2, Arrows) took third slot over Anne
Marie Reichman (Naish boards, Naish sails) of Holland.
³The wind was slightly lighter than yesterday so I was on my 3.7 rather
than my 3.3. It was a tough final today and I was relieved when I heard
the result. I am trying to win for my sister who is in hospital. She is
happy for me so far!²
The likes of Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Proof, Neil Pryde) Francisco Goya (F2,
Fanatic) and Kevin Pritchard (Gaastra, Bic) are all on standby for wave
performance. Local reports are giving 60 knots of wind by the weekend so
it looks like its time to batten down the hatches. At the moment the
branding flags are still readable but if last year is anything to go by,
by the end of the weekend there could be reduced to tatters!