The next stop on the PWA world tour is well underway, with both the slalom sailors and freestylers in action. Danielle Lucas takes the reporting reigns, bringing you all the latest from Fuerteventura.
The last day of the Fuerteventura Freestyle World Cup saw many changes in positions throughout the ladies and mens competition as the riders fought in strong winds to improve their results. Finally the wind came through putting most of the ladies on 3.7's and the men on 4.2-4.5 metre sails and saw an increase in waves and chop in the competition area, making the heats very exciting to watch as the riders could really pull out their biggest best tricks.
The ladies had a second single elimination, following which they were surprised to be told they would also have a double elimination immediately afterwards. Arrianne Aukes sailed amazing heats, taking 3rd place as she passed Yoli De Brendt in the single elimination. The double then saw Maxime Van Gent and Iva Chiochetti progress past myself and Sveta Martynova, to give them a chance to improve on their positions after the first elimination. In the later heats Arrianne held on to her position as she again beat Yoli to keep 3rd place and confirm her first time on the podium! She landed smooth funnels and flaka's and spocks throughout the heats, sailing her best heats of the week to guarantee her position. Sarah-Quita remained in the top spot, yet again putting in an incredible performance with Laure Treboux in second.
The mens heats saw unbelievable windsurfing as the size and speed of tricks just increased by the second with the wind being strong enough to really show their true abilities. Steven van Broekhoven came back, sailing seven heats consecutively to bring himself into 2nd place, after a surprisingly early exit from the single elimination. His final against Gollito saw him pulling a huge shuv-it air spock but he could not beat Gollito who took the waves coming in as a perfect opportunity to sail out and perform incredible Air Chacho's and other perfect moves right in front of the judges.
The next PWA Freestyle event will be held in Sylt in Germany, where the men will again battle out to decide the 2012 rankings. After this there is an event in Vietnam where there should be Mens and Ladies Freestyle to complete the 2012 tour. Hopefully we will be there to report but until then…GetWindsurfing!
Photos can be seen here from Danielle.
A great weekend has been had out here in Fuerteventura. Saturday was a long day with the wind filling in for a short time, allowing only three heats to be completed before they cancelled and a re-sail was necessary for the last one. The heats saw myself and Svetlana Martynova progress through the first round of the double after being on standby all morning waiting for wind to go. Following the first men's heat of the double we then battled it out against each other in the next heat , but this was to be resailed. The men's saw Max Rowe sail an amazing heat landing many high scoring moves to guarantee him a place in the next round.
The rest of the day was on standby again, as we waited for the wind to come back, sadly it didn't come through and sailors were released around 6pm.
Sunday morning again saw me on standby for the first heat of the day. Eventually, the judges decided to begin around 3.30pm with longer heats as the wind was still very gusty. I struggled in the light, gusty conditions but Svetlana sailed an amazing heat landing a smooth funnel, shuv-it and e-slider, taking her place in the next round.
The mens round saw Phil Richards up against a friend of his, Maarten Van Ochten from Holland. It was a very close heat and very difficult for all the riders in the difficult wind conditions, but Maarten pushed through to the next round.
The following rounds saw the ladies battle it out for the top five positions, Arrianne Aukes sailed well to keep hold of her fourth position from the single elimination, but couldn't make it to third as she was knocked out by Venezualan Yoli de Brendt.
The Ladies final saw Laure and Sarah Quita battle it out again, after Laure sailed a brilliant heat against Yoli, but Laure couldn't do enough to match Sarah's powerful moves as she landed a Kono and a massive Toad (clew-first Ponch), amongst her other moves making Sarah-Quita the winner.
The men’s double is pushing on, as the judges make the most of the wind which finally seems to have filled in nicely for the competition. Tomorrow will see the final rounds as well as the possibility of a second round of eliminations for the ladies as it may be the only event of the year for the worlds best female freestylers as there is not yet confirmation on further events in 2012 for the Ladies. The forecast is good for tomorrow so everyone is looking forward to a great day of heats as we will also see the mens finals which is set to be breath-taking as the top riders in the world show us the worlds best freestyle.
Another amazing day of freestyle took place today at the PWA World Cup in Fuerteventura.
The ladies heats began after Andy's, seeing some great moves from the worlds best female freestylers, including some nice shaka's from the top contenders. I sailed against Arrianne Aukes from Holland, and unfortunately we both failed to show our best moves struggling in gusty conditions and also for myself fighting a lot of nerves. It was very close but Arrianne went through landing a great flaka on the outside to win the heat.
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.
Whilst the slalom competition comes to a close the freestyle guys and girls have been out practicing, ready for the start of their competition on Thursday morning (wind dependent!)
Sean reports from an exceptionally windy day of racing yesterday, which included Finian taking the win and Bjorn sailing the wrong heat!
If you were to describe today’s action in one word, that word would be “FINALLY". Finally, we got the kind of conditions that Fuerteventura is famous for and finally, Finian Maynard found his form again after a particularly slow start to the season.
You can always tell when it’s going to be a windy day in Fuerte. If you take a look at the beach at 7.30am and it’s already nuking, then you know you’re going to be on your small kit later that day! It takes a while to warm up though, and for our first heats this morning most of us were on 7.0/7.8 and medium boards. No matter how windy it gets on the course, there are still a large amount of wind holes out the back of the course in the lead up to the startline. I discovered this the hard way today as I had some stacked heats where everyone was pushing hard towards the line at the start and a few times the wind went light as because I was so close to the line I had to back off a little and then couldn’t quite plane off the startline…. Despite the fact that as soon as I CROSSED the line it was a solid 25-30 knots!!
That was basically the story of my day today. Knocked out in each heat having the same problem each time – not fully planing off the startline! By the end of the day I was on 5.6m in my final heat but again had that same problem coming off the line really slow and late … guess it wasn’t my day!!
For the other sailors, Round two was a costly one as well with big names like Peter Volwater, Jimmy Diaz, Ross Williams and Antoine Questel all knocked out in their heats or quarter finals. Through to the finals Finian Maynard had a killer start in the winner’s final before Antoine Albeau gybed inside him to take the lead and eventually the race, with Ben Van Der Steen crashing at that first mark to miss out on back-to-back victories, Bjorn Dunkerbeck also crashed and was unable to finish the race.
Round three started in a similar fashion with the wind increasing to over 30 knots. Albeau, fresh from the final win just minutes before managed to snap his fin on the way out to his heat however Antoine Questel saw this and got a spare board out to him in time for Albeau to make his heat and qualify. Taty Frans, who had a great event here last year didn’t have so much luck in this round after leading his heat by 100m in to the finish, hit a nasty piece of chop and had one of the gnarliest wipeouts I’ve seen in a long time – finishing LAST as a result!
Down to the winner’s final, Finian Maynard decided it would be his time this race and bolted out of the startline to lead start-to-finish – never really challenged by Cyril Moussilmani in 2nd or Ben Van Der Steen in 3rd. Bjorn had to settle for 4th as Ben ran him down on the final leg after a slow gybe.
The wind continued to nuke in to the afternoon and we kicked off Round four around 4pm. I took my 5.6m for the final heat with most of the guys on their smallest kit as the winds hit 35 knots and above in the gusts and the chop became more hardcore than I’d ever seen it here! Unfortunately I had another slow start and Jimmy Diaz (also on 5.6m!) held me off to the finish to knock me out of the quarter finals.
Bjorn made a mistake he will never forget after launching in to the start of Heat 7 (my heat) before realising he should have been in Heat 6 and was disqualified from the round! Steve Allen, Ross Williams, Andrea Cucchi, Pierre Montefon and Micah Buzianis also joined the list of sailors who would not be making the finals as they were all knocked out in their quarter finals.
Finian decided he would teach the boys once again HOW TO START and blasted to the first mark in the winner’s final on his 6.1m and led from start-to-finish. Behind him, Julien Quentel battled with Josh Angulo for a photo finish across the line which was later awarded to Josh, with Ben Van Der Steen behind them in 4th.
Three full rounds completed today, and lots of tired sailors on the walk across the beach back to the hotel! The forecast looks as promising tomorrow as it did today so I think we will get plenty more action in tomorrow – hopefully one of these NUKING days with 50 knots so I can enjoy my little board a bit more! Stay tuned for more action tomorrow.
Read more reports from Sean on the following pages.
Day thee kicked off and FINALLY some wind arrived! By 11am we were out on the water in some freakishly gusty 10-25 knot winds. I rigged 7.0 and my medium board (107L) with most of the bigger guys on 7.8 and medium boards and the heats began …
I had a relatively tough heat with Finian Maynard, Josh Angulo, Peter Bijl and Micah Buzianis but managed to beat Finian and Josh in to 3rd before the heat was abandoned after the finish. Fairly ridiculous decision in my opinion as Finian had no troubles getting around the course at +100kg on a 7.8, so to me that says there is a bit of wind! We had a break for 30 mins while the wind shifted and went up and down before NUKING during the re-run of our heat. I thankfully stayed on 7.0 but the guys on bigger sails got worked and Josh had a nasty crash leading in to the 2nd mark which allowed me to grab 4th place and a spot in the quarter finals. Josh wasn’t the only one to go down in a heat though with Taty Frans having a horrific crash in to the mark at the third gybe and never recovered.
In my quarter final, the wind began to really pickup over the midday sun and I changed down to 6.3 and my small board (80L) with most of the guys on 6.3/7.0 sails and the chop beginning to build. I had a terrible start at the boat but rounded the first mark in 6th before battling it out with Tom Mallina from Czech Republic before he spat it on the last gybe and I could hang on to a 6th; sadly not enough to qualify.
After our heat the wind just completely DIED and we were left on the beach for 4 hours with once again glassy waters in front of his. It’s so strange to have the wind come, then go, then come again here as I’m used to seeing it just nuke the entire day!
Finally, in the late afternoon the heats recommenced with the last quarter finals starting and then one of the semi-finals before once again the wind died! Another 30-min break and it was back again and stayed for the entire evening…
Around 6pm we were able to start Round 1’s winners/losers finals with the Dutch legend Benny Van Der Steen absolutely STEAMROLLING the first leg to lead start to finish in the winner’s final. Antoine Albeau managed to beat Peter Volwater in to 2nd and Bjorn was relegated to 5th after a fairly slow start and even slower speeds out of the gybes.
The loser’s final was the Arnon Dagan show after he started early in his semi-final despite having blistering straightline speed. The young Frenchman Pierre Montefon and Pascal Toselli brought up 2nd and 3rd in the losers final with Andrea Cucchi crashing hard at the first mark and sailing back to the beach for a DNF.
So, after nearly 3 days of waiting around on the beach, we have finally finished the FIRST round here in Fuerteventura!! The forecast looks kind of lame for the next 2 days but anything is possible here and I hope we get some good conditions to get a few more rounds in!
Also in Fuerte the freestyle guys have been preparing for the competition...
Day 2 on Fuerteventura was one of the longest, most horrific days I’ve experienced on this island in the years I’ve travelled here. Despite a forecast showing “some" promise, the wind never got about 6 knots during the entire day and glassy waters made a perfect day for taking the girls out on the SUP boards; and that was about it!
Still, with nothing to really report here I decided to take a look at what fins people are using on the small boards as there is a lot more variety when the fins get under 36cm and although we’ve seen a VERY large shift towards carbon-only fins in the bigger sizes this season, there is definitely still room for the trusty G10 fins of yesterday in the small boards this time around.
A quick run-down on the guys I’ve caught up with today and what fins they are using in their smallest boards (or what I’ve seen them stick in a small board in the few days we had training before the event started):
Antoine Albeau – Deboichet / Kashy / Tectonics
Josh Angulo – Kashy / Tectonics
Ludovic Jossin – Tectonics / C3 (Sting)
Ben Van Der Steen – Z-Fin / C3 (Sting)
Patrik Diethelm – MB Fins / F2 Custom (shaped by Kai Hopf)
Andrea Cucchi – Tectonics
Kurosh Kiani – Vector / Tectonics
Peter Bijl – Vector
Bjorn Dunkerbeck – Tectonics / CA Fins
Steve Allen – Tectonics / CA Fins
Micah Buzianis – Tectonics
Sean O’Brien – homemade custom carbon fins
Ross Williams – Z-Fins / Kashy
Arnon Dagan – Z-Fins
Alberto Menegatti – Z-Fins
Andrea Rosati – Z-Fins / Tectonics
In all the guys using Tectonics (which is quite a lot!), they are all on the ‘Talon’ model. To quote Patrik Diethelm on high-wind fins, “it’s more important to worry about CONTROL than which fin is going faster or slower. If you have the control, then you can go fast’. I barely see anyone using G10 fins in bigger sizes than 36cm these days but it looks like on the smaller fins there are tons of guys still using Tectonics / MB Fins and C3 fins all made from G10 – very interesting!
That’s about all to report from today. It’s unbelievable to picture this island with ZERO wind (not even “light winds!"). Let’s hope the forecast improves for the next few days … nearly all the freestyle guys have arrived on the island ready for their contest beginning on the 26th but even these 60kg heroes couldn’t get out on the water today … horrific!
Hopefully more to report tomorrow!
Check out the previous pages for more reports from Sean
Based on Lake Garda in Italy for the summer I made this trip to Fuerte with the Italian team and my girlfriend, flying from Bergamo (about two hour’s drive from Garda) with RyanAir, who happen to be one of the best low-cost airlines for taking gear as they allow you to pre-book bags for only 50 euros per bag with the only drawback being that the bags cannot be over 20kg each (ie, you can only basically bring 2 sails/masts per bag). From the years of flying out of Bergamo, us boys have managed to get the names and numbers of quite a few of the girls working the check-in desks at this airport, so we always have to play a sneaky game of keeping the extra sails in a pile off to the side of the airport as we check in, then our friends at the desks allow us to take the bags away and put them in the oversize check-in ourselves, in which time we go and shove all the extra sails in to the bags making them all waaaaay over 40kg each. So far so good …although I’m sure one day this dream-run will end!
At the other end, on Fuerte, it’s a solid one hour’s drive from the airport in the far north, to Sotavento in the south where the competition is being run. The drive is a blaze of sandy desert, tall, barren mountains and plenty of rock-goats (goats, who I think, only seem to be eating rocks as there is really no other plantation on this island!). Not so fun jammed in to a tiny car with all the windsurf gear strapped to the roof!
We arrived 3 days before the event and as usual, got a great chance to break-in our 5.0’s, 5.6’s and 6.3’s as the Fuerte wind-machine once again delivered with two days of 25-40 knots and one late afternoon session of over 50 knots which I didn’t even consider rigging up for!!
Day 1 of the event kicked off this morning and rolling out of bed at 7.30am and checking the beach from my sea-view hotel room at the Melia Gorriones Resort (this place would not pass for a ‘resort’ back in Australia; barely a 4-star hotel) and it looked like around 30 knots already. A quick breakfast omelette at the buffet and down to the beach by 9am where already a bunch of guys were out on the water and changing down to 6.3’s! We were scheduled to start at 11am and I’m in Heat 3 so I had a fairly relaxed morning just rigging my two smallest sails and chilling in the tent before the strangest thing happened…
Around 10.45am, just before the first scheduled start at 11am the wind began to drop off. When it drops at this place, it becomes freakishly gusty and often the wind will swing all over the place; so even though we still had 10-15 knots on the course which is suitable for racing, there would be big holes of 0 knots and wind shifts of 50-100 degrees making racing impossible. The wind dropped even further before shifting completely around to blow sideshore from the south; the opposite of the usual blisteringly windy direction! Not too useful for us.
After an hour or two of this, the wind dropped to NOTHING and glassy waters remained for the rest of the brutally hot afternoon until 6pm when we were finally sent home. To quote Finian Maynard, “in 16 years of racing here I’ve never seen the wind drop to nothing after nuking in the morning" – VERY STRANGE!! Even with a good forecast!
So Day 1 is over and we have zero racing. The fleet is relatively small this year with I think only 50 sailors; but all the guns are here and as usual there’s lots of debate on fins and what gear is going fast. Without a race taking place it’s hard to say what is and isn’t going fast, but I will comment a little on the fins to say that as soon as we get down to small boards, there is a LOT of G10 fins appearing around the fleet (Tectonics, C3, Select, MFC etc) whereas on our medium/large boards I barely think there is more than 3-4 riders using any construction other than carbon. I will try to do some more research tomorrow on who is using what fins but I can say that so far I’ve seen Antoine Albeau testing his oldschool Debs, Micah is still on his Tectonics, Bjorn is on his CA Fins (developed by Steve Allen), Angulo is on a bunch of Kashy’s, Ross/Arnon/Alberto are heading up the Z-Fins program and I am using a bunch of carbon fins I developed at home with my father over the winter ;-)
Stay tuned tomorrow for (hopefully) some action and a little bit more on the fins everyone is using!
Check out the next page for the previous reports from Sean...
Name: Sean O’Brien
Nickname: Hansel (on account of how many pairs of sunglasses I own!)
Sail Number: AUS-120
Years Windsurfing: 23!
Disciplines: Formula, Slalom
Home town: Brisbane, Australia
Current Residence: Nago-Torbole, Lake Garda, Italy
Sponsors: Starboard, Point-7, GetWindsurfFit.com, SuperFit Training, VMG Blades
On the PWA Tour since, and best result:
I did the Fuerteventura World Cup in 2006 with one board and 2 sails and came 21st having never done any slalom before at that level. I had a relatively lousy event last year here after one of my boards snapped in half but I did get a 6th in a winner’s final which felt pretty nice!
How well prepared are you for Fuerteventura?
After Costa Brava, where I wasn’t particular prepared; I feel great coming here to Fuerte. After my disastrous event in Fuerte last year, I decided to put a bit more effort in to my small gear choices this year. I ordered all the small board sizes from Starboard last December and being summer back home in Australia I had 5 months of great conditions to try all the boards and also spent some time developing a new line of fins custom designed for me, with the help of my father who did all the build-work. I now have a stack of small fins in all sizes and various stiffnesses to try here and am using the Starboard iSonic 80L, which I believe is one of the easiest boards to sail in NUKING conditions. My Point-7 small sails; 5.6 and 6.3 are working really nice and I’ve had a lot of good windy morning sessions on Lake Garda on the small kit getting dialled in. Even though we had over 45 knots training on Wednesday, I feel pretty comfortable on my equipment and am looking forward to tomorrow!
How do you think you could do?
Right now I’m 78kg. Lean and mean I guess you could say. Pretty much the WORST weight you could be for this event. The run to the first buoy is incredibly long at this event, so it favours the heavier guys, but I grew up windsurfing at a really gnarly beach in Brisbane so I back myself gybing in hardcore conditions with lots of chop and I’m also very, very good at starts. So if I remember back to my winner’s final last year where I was as slow as a dog, but had killer starts and would never fall off the gybes so I managed to get to the front without needing the speed; there are plenty of ways to skin a cat. So I’m not focussing on the overall but doing my best to make some more winner’s finals!
Names to watch out for:
Everyone is kidding themselves if they don’t look for Antoine Albeau in this event. He is the KING of highwind conditions; winning the heavy days Costa Brava last year in 65 knots and destroying the fleet in Fuerte last year. He’s on new boards this year but I doubt anyone will touch him if we get winds up to 50 knots. The only dark horse is Bjorn, as he’s pretty used to these conditions growing up in the Canaries and even if he can only manage a 2nd overall, we get a drop for the season pointscore after this event so he might manage to pip Antoine on the leaderboard for 2012.
Who could bring a surprise result?
Ben Van Der Steen has had a slow season after finishing 3rd on the podium last year. Ben is also a king in high winds so I definitely think he’ll be one to look out for. Peter Volwater is another who’s had a slow start; Peter has been hammering the speed course down a bit from the Rene Egli Centre (where we race) all week so no doubt he’ll be working on his top speed for that run to the first mark. Also never rule out the young guns like Pierre Montefon and Pascal Toselli who live in a very windy part of France so will be used to these conditions.
How are the conditions looking?
Hard to judge based on the forecast. We’ve had 25 knots forecast the last 3 days but late in the afternoon it’s been kicking to +40 and on Wednesday (although I didn’t see a wind reading) I’d be very surprised if we didn’t have a few 50 knot gusts as not one sailor was out on the water!! In this place, we generally get 2-3 days of NUKING, 1 day of 25 knots, and one day where we can barely get a race away! Let’s see !!