Sunshine Follows Rain
The first Official competition day of The 2003 Classic Toro Andaluz, PWA
Freestyle Qualifier has brought burning blue skies and light winds to
contrast with the torrential rain and cold weather that has befallen the
beautiful Spanish town of Tarifa in recent days.
This new addition to the PWA calendar sees the return of Professional
Windsurfing to one of the most famous windsurfing destinations in Europe.
Traditionally Tarifa, on the southern tip of Spain and just a few miles
from the North coast of Morocco, has played host to speed and slalom
competitions, but Tarifa as with so many locations, has now been caught up
in the Freestyle roller coaster that has enchanted so many windsurfing
spots around the world in recent years. The idyllic conditions and strong
winds have made Tarifa a veritable playground for tricksters and
exhibitionists across the globe.
The Classic Toro Andaluz is one of the oldest windsurfing events in Europe
and its rise to PWA Qualifier status in 2003 will see that maturity and
experience recognized with the attendance of many of the worlds top
In attendance this year will be last years PWA/Red Bull King of the Lake,
Colin Sifferlen (Starboard). The Jensen brothers, Vidar (North) and Orjan
(North, Proof). Pozo hotshots Jonas Ceballos Sanchez (Gaastra, Fanatic)
and Victor Fernandez (Fanatic). Venezuelan Dynamite Douglas CheoDiaz
(North, Fanatic) and Alexis Zaballa (North, Mistral)
Tarifa will also be the first qualifier event this year to host a womens
division, perhaps largely due to the enormous amount of female talent to
be found in Spain. Dominating the fleet are likely to be the seemingly
unbeatable Moreno twins, Daida and Iballa (North, Mistral).
The Old town of Tarifa is a labyrinth of shops, bars and restaurants that
can provide anything that the thrill seekers and fun lovers of the
windsurfing world could ask for. Whether it be a cozy romantic dinner or
riotous all night partying, Tarifa has the venue, the people and an
atmosphere that is difficult to beat.
The beach was packed with competitors and fans enjoying the sunshine and
getting warmed up for one of the many event parties planned for the coming
week. The sails were rigged, the boards readied with fins and foot straps,
so if only the flags would begin to fly, then the aquatic battle could
And fly they did! At 17.00 the first heat took to the water with a good
side shore breeze having developed under a cloudless sky. After an initial
cancellation, the wind continued to build to allow competition to get
underway in earnest.
The early rounds saw the usual suspects pushing ahead with Sifferlen,
Sanchez and local freestyle guru Beat Steffan (North, Mistral) all moving
up into round 3. Notably joining them, with sterling performances in the
light conditions were rising UK star Andy Funnel (Arrows, F2), promising
Pozo regular Victor Fernandez and Czech sailor Ondrej Erban (Neil Pryde,
JP) who took out PWA regular Martin Van Geenhoven (North) to stay in the
game. Venezuela continued to show its potential for creating top Freestyle
talent, with both Diaz and Zaballa advancing to the 3rd round.
By the quarterfinals, the fleet had slimmed further; with Fernandez taking
out fellow Spaniard Christopher Ferraretto (AHD) and Funnel ending the
Czech charge by taking out Erban. The Jensen brothers held firm joined by
Diaz and Andre Paskowski (F2) from Germany. Also still in the fight were
Sifferlen and young French sailor Thomas Traversa who had seen off all
challenges so far with relative ease.
Fernandez showed the edge of experience to eliminate a struggling Funnel,
and Sifferlen was defeated by an incredibly fluid performance from
Traversa. Orjan Jensen held up the family name against Paskowski, whilst
brother Vidar bowed out to a seemingly unstoppable Diaz.
The 2 shining stars of the elimination, Traversa and Diaz, both triumphed
in their semi finals, to eventually come head to head in the winners final&.
Traversas amazingly liquid style shot him into the lead in the first
minute, but Diaz was just getting started. With an extraordinary
repertoire of new school moves he outclassed the young Frenchman to show
that his performance in Bonaire last year was no fluke. The centerpiece of
his victorious performance, was a switch stance, clew first, spock 540,
which left him head and shoulders above the competition.
Tomorrow will see the women take to the water for the first time and then,
after completion of the mens losers final, which was postponed this
evening, the men will roll straight into double elimination.