The first day of the PWA Fuerteventura Freestyle World Cup began today, and after a long morning waiting for wind, by 3pm riders were on the water warming up and testing the conditions. The sailing area this year is very difficult, with very offshore winds, a much smaller beach than previous years meaning positioning for the spectators and judges has had to change, and this therefore all affecting the sailing area. The competitors had a hard time keeping in the area and finding the wind to do their best moves, especially in the earlier heats of the day. Having said this, all riders performed excellent freestyle showing many brilliant sliding, power and double moves to push their rivals hard and work up the ladder.
As soon as the wind had mostly filled in the judges began the Mens Single Elimination, with UK riders, Phil Richards, Adam Sims and Jamie Drummond in early heats, 4, 5 and 6. Max Rowe and Andy Chambers were drawn to compete against each other in heat 16, and so they were busy indoors commentating on the live stream until closer to their time. The ladies Single was planned in to begin after the quarter finals of the Mens, and so they had a few hours to watch the boys and prepare before they would sail.
Jamie, Phil and Adam all seemed to need just a bit more wind and didn’t manage to go through to the next round following their first heats, although still managed some big moves including a huge Shaka from Phil, massive air flaka from Jamie and some big forwards from Adam.
The wind held and heats continued, although eventually the judges announced they would finish the day after heat 16, where we saw Andy take on Max, in a very close, very good heat. Both Max and Bubble sailed well, with huge shakas and forwards from Bubble, air funnels and a big ponch from Max. Bubble took the win though showing great diversity with difficult switch and regular moves on both tacks.
Tomorrow will see the men’s quarter finals, followed by the ladies first heats, and then the semi finals and finals for the first single eliminations.
Standing out today was Gollito Estredo who didn’t seem to want to be on land, trying to sail in most gaps between heats, tuning his new North gear. He is sailing well and clearly is hungry to regain his title as World Champion after it was won by Belgium rider, Steven Van Broekhoven last year. All in all through it was an exciting afternoon of competition with a lot of heats being very close as riders struggled in the gusty conditions.
Video from the action by Josh Wilmot from Black Labs.
From the ladies, most were enjoying the slightly flatter conditions today than is normal in Fuerteventura, and sailing well taking chances to warm up throughout the day. We are all hoping for more wind tomorrow, the forecast is again not very strong, but should it be like today or better then we will see the single over and a good start to the double, a chance for those knocked out early to climb back up and improve their positions.
Check out more images from Danielle in her Facebook gallery here.
Further reports from the slalom at the event available on the previous pages.