The PWA Lanzarote Freestyle and Super X Grand Slam Day 5
Dawn brought comparatively calmer conditions to the beaches of Costa
Teguise today, as the 2004 Lanzarote PWA Grand Slam moved into the Super X
phase of the contest. After the massive waves and nuclear winds of the
previous 4 days of Freestyle, the smoother seas came as welcome relief for
the Super X sailors, waiting in anticipation on the beach. But with logo
to mast high sets still occasionally rolling through the course area,
anything was possible.
The first heat blasted across the starting line at 11.00. Early promise
came in the form of Matt Pritchard (Gaastra), winning the first heat
clearly, with other highly ranked sailors such as Nik Baker (Mistral,
North) Cyril Moussilmani (Fanatic) and Robby Swift (JP, Neil Pryde) also
making it through their first round heats. Current PWA Super X World Tour
leader, Antoine Albeau (AHD, Neil Pryde) did enough to qualify with Kauli
Seadi (AHD, Naish) also making it through winning his first heat.
The semi finals of round 1 included a diverse mix of top racing and
hardcore freestyle talent, with both Pritchard’s advancing to the final
alongside the likes of Douglas Diaz (Fanatic, North) and Diony Guadagnino
(Neil Pryde). The one shock was the failure of Albeau to make it into the
top eight after finishing a disappointing 6th in his semi final.
As the final of the first round shot out of the starting blocks, Seadi,
Swift and Pritchard led the pack to the first mark. Having blasted out
through the logo high waves, each performing a mandatory forward loop on
the way, it was Swift who now took a clear lead. With victory in his
sights, the young Englishman screamed through his now trademark,
one-handed planing spock, to leave just the 2 obstacles to clear. Two
faultless jumps later, Swift was home and dry taking the first round ahead
of Seadi and Matt Pritchard.
With the swell backing off, it was decided to add more obstacles to the
course and an extra jump was put in place on the first reach to test the
competitors control yet further. The early heats saw no great surprises
with all the usual suspects pushing through to the semis. Notable by their
presence in the semi finals of round 2 were Ricardo Campello (JP, Neil
Pryde) and local Canarian Marcos Perez.
Matt Pritchard failed to make the final after going over early on the
start in the first semi final, leaving the way a little more open for
Seadi and Diaz who took the first 2 final slots ahead of Peter Volwater
(Arrows) and Victor Fernandez (Fanatic). The second semi saw Campello – on
fine form following his disastrous opening round – crossing the line clear
ahead of a hard charging Kevin Pritchard who qualified for the final
alongside Albeau and a very solid looking Swift.
The elder Pritchard, Matt, was determined to make up for his earlier error
and streaked to victory in the losers final clear ahead of Cyril
Moussilmani and a much improved Vidar Jensen (North).
The final however was a battle of the big four. Pritchard (Kevin), Albeau,
Swift and Campello fought hard edging ahead of each other in a constant
battle for the lead. Eventually it was Campello’s incredible control that
crept ahead of the outright speed of Pritchard to finish first ahead of
the American Super X newcomer. Swift scraped ahead of Volwater and Albeau
in the closing meters of the course to take third and maintain his
position in the overall event ranking.
After a short break for lunch, it was straight into round 3. Same course,
same sailors but considerably more fluky winds set the stage for the last
race of the day.
Once again it was Swift and Campello that seemed to dominate. The lighter
conditions were making life much harder for all concerned and it certainly
seemed to be the bigger sailors who were suffering with Kevin Pritchard
and Antoine Albeau bombing out in the first round. Matt Pritchard was
determined to keep the family name alive and was hot on Campello’s heels
all the way to the final. Swift also landed safely in the top eight, never
dropping below second in any of the qualifying heats.
As a gift from the gods, the wind increased slightly to leave all the
eight finalists fully powered up as they hit the course. Swift and
Campello were as controlled as ever but it was Pritchard who utterly
dominated the third final winning by a considerable Margin. Volwater kept
his nerve and used all of his experience to stay ahead of the young
pretenders in second with Campello finishing a third behind Swift who
managed a sufficient fourth.
The first 3 rounds have provided a flying start to the first PWA Super X
in Lanzarote but, with a further 3 days competition remaining Robby Swift
will have to fight hard to hold his ground.