Three times world champion, Jose ‘Gollito’ Estredo shows Sylt’s spectators why he’s already the world’s number one freestyler this year as the PWA’s finest continue to ‘get tricky’ off Brandenburger Strand!
When the sailors and the judges arrived at the beach this morning, neither expected to get a full single elimination finished in freestyle. The wind was cross-offshore and very gusty which would have suited the discipline of racing. However, moving in a brave new direction head judge, Duncan Coombs decided to run the heats with an otherwise unheard of twelve-minute duration.
With such a long time to perform six moves on each tack, of which only three would count, the world’s best had plenty of time to wobble around between the gusts, and then explode into action when the wind increased. A few sailors opposed this new format, but it’s actually very similar to how we run riding only wave contests where the sailors can be off the plane for very long periods of time between catching waves.
1st Jose ‘Gollito’ Estredo (Fanatic, North)
2nd Taty Frans (Starboard, MauiSails, Mystic)
3rd Steven Van Broeckhoven (F2, Gaastra)
4th Kiri Thode (Starboard, Gaastra)
The three times world champion (four if you include this year’s which he’s already secured), Jose ‘Gollito’ Estredo (Fanatic, North) out-tricked all of his opponents with a faultless display of dynamic moves today to win the single elimination with emphatic style. From the very first second he hit the water, it was obvious that he’d make it all the way to the final, and when he exploded into action he left many of his rivals absolutely helpless. Anthony Ruenes (Tabou, Vandal) was the first to put up a fight, but his efforts of going big all too often ended with a splash. Next up, Canadian, Philip Soltysiak (Starboard, Dakine) tried to take down the champ, but the Venezuelan played a tactical game, tricking it up in the gusts out the back, leaving his opponent wallowing around in the lulls. The following heat was undoubtedly one of the hottest of the day, but Estredo stuck to his guns and used his experience to win once again. And, a final showdown with Taty Frans (Starboard, MauiSails) saw Estredo claim it on a 4-1 decision, pulling off cleaner and higher moves in the toughest of conditions.
When you whittle the world’s best down to the final four, you expect extreme action. And, that’s exactly what the hoards of spectators lining the shore got. With a star-studded semi final on both sides it was absolutely spectacular. One half of the draw to receive somewhat more attention than the other though was between the current world champion, Estredo and the light wind legend, Steven Van Broeckhoven (F2, Gaastra). The moves were off the scale, and it resembled more of a final than simply a semi. Nerves had the better of the both of them at the beginning, but eventually Broeckhoven was seen busting out huge konos, culos, and burners, whilst the world champ was replying with much of the same. However, it was all too late for Broeckhoven who had unfortunately already used up some of his six attempts with failed shakas earlier on.
Moves Of The Day
The new king of ‘pop’, Steven Van Broeckhoven played up to his name today with some of the biggest konos of the contest so far. Perhaps he’s made of rubber, or maybe his board is packed full of springs. Whatever it is, it works. The Belgian boy wonder has the ability to launch himself high into the air in the lightest of zephyrs, and off chop that wouldn’t even register on the mastfoot high scale! If Broeckhoven continues to impress the judges in the same way he has this year, it won’t be too long before he’s carrying a crown.
The 2010 Podersdorf champion and 2009 Sylt freestyle champion, Taty Frans brought it home for the boys from Bonaire today. Not only did he finish the single elimination in second (which will see him in second overall for the year if the results remain as they are), but he was also one of the only sailors to land fully planing double moves. Plenty of people throw in an extra 360, but Taty nailed a fully planing double spock to really impress the judges in the extremely light winds.
Campello Caught Out
Former freestyle world champion, Ricardo Campello (JP, NeilPryde, MFC) burst into action on his new freestyle board this morning, but it would seem that he’s a year too early. After causing a huge upset to the tour by taking the scalp off the current world number two, Kiri Thode with an excellent display which included a regular chachoo (arguably the most difficult move to perform), it became apparent that his board was a 2011 prototype. In Campello’s days of tricking it up, this wouldn’t have posed a problem, however today the rules clearly state that riders must be on production gear. Perhaps the 2011 JP freestyle is so good that everyone will be trying to sneak it into competitions from now on!
Eye On The Horizon
With more moderate cross-offshore winds forecast over the following few days, it looks like the racers will get their turn to impress the crowds on Sylt’s iconic golden sands.
Keep in the groove
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