The PWA Lanzarote Freestyle and Super X Grand Slam Day 6
Swift falls at the final hurdle, but just clings on at the top as Pritchard pulls up just behind him.
In a stark contrast to the recent conditions, glassy seas and light winds gave a very tranquil feel to Costa Teguise as competitors prepared themselves for the day ahead. By the 10 o’clock skippers meeting a gentle breeze had begun to fill in and the beach was rapidly covered with equipment, ready to take on the elements.
Whitecaps started to fill the bay within a few hours as the wind began to increase near to the required levels for competition. Although not sufficient to race, it was enough to tempt several sailors out on to the water and Orjan Jensen (North) did a fine job trying to make the conditions look good.
A slight increase in the wind strength provided enough motivation for the start of race 4 at 14.15 and it was all go once more. The lighter conditions should have favored the lighter sailors, but it was the powerhouses able to handle big sails through the maneuvers that set the pace. Kevin Pritchard (Starboard, Gaastra) , Robby Swift (JP, Neil Pryde), Nik Baker (Mistral, North) and of course Antoine Albeau (AHD, Neil Pryde) all won their first round heats in the marginal conditions.
In the semi finals, Kevin followed brother Matt’s example from the second race yesterday by going over early and securing his place in the losers final. Otherwise it was the who’s who of Super X – Baker, Swift, Matt Pritchard, Cyril Moussilmani (Fanatic) and once again, Albeau.
Swift was very lucky to scrape into the final after getting stuck in the shadow of his rivals at the first mark and struggling to get moving. Subsequently however, he sailed a solid heat and just fought back to finish fourth and qualify.
The final itself was packed with drama. Orjan Jensen was flying in the lighter airs and finished fifth behind Pritchard and Albeau. Baker fought hard to stay in second and Swift had third place in the bag until just before the finish, when he caught his fin on the last jump and crashed out finishing a less than ideal 6th. Fourth round glory however went to Cyril Moussilmani, now better equipped and showing much of the speed and consistency that gave him Victory earlier in the year at Costa Brava.
Round 5 was scheduled to begin at 16.05, but the wind finally died leaving the seas glassy once more and competition finished for another day.
As things stand, England’s Robby Swift leads the event purely on a tie break, ahead of Matt Pritchard from the USA. Moussilmani’s triumph today has moved him up to third in the event. With four rounds completed, competition is still wide open so Swift will not be resting on his laurels yet and with the race for the first Super X world title hotting up, he can definitely expect strong challenges from the likes of Pritchard, Cyril Moussilmani Nik Baker and current ranking leader Antoine Albeau (AHD, Neil Pryde).