The 2004 Gran Canaria PWA Super Grand Slam Day 5
The day started with a small swell and 20 knots of wind so competition director Klaus Michel made the call for the start of the wave discipline. With big gaps in the sets the heats were set at ten minutes long to give the sailors maximum chance of catching a good wave. Within the first ten minutes Kauli Seadi (AHD/Naish Sails) was eliminated by Leo Ray (Naish/Naish Sails) from France, who found bigger and better waves to ride. Next to fall was Robby Swift (JP/Neil Pryde) who went down to fellow Brit Ben Proffitt (JP/Neil Pryde). The next heat saw no big surprises as the jumping machine, Peter Volwater (Arrows) and local guru Dario Ojeda (Neil Pryde) advanced. That was as far as we got though as the waves dropped off with the arrival of high tide.
By Midday the decision was made to go into the third single elimination of Freestyle. Campello (JP/Neil Pryde) was under pressure to do well, one slip up would see his world title hopes slip from his grasp. He had to do well and he knew it. From the word go he was firing full power and was not letting anything or anybody get in his way. He cast aside challenges from Ben Proffitt, Remko De Weerd (Fanatic/Gaastra) and Jonas Ceballos (Fanatic/Gaastra) to make it through to the semi final to come up against Cheo Diaz (Fanatic/North Sails) who had been sailing well all day. On the other side of the draw Robby Swift was on a mission to make up for his shocking wave result and blasted through heats against Orjan Jensen (North Sails), Thomas Traversa (North Sails) and finally Kauli Seadi to make it to the final. One of the brightest lights today was young French hotshot Anthony Ruenes (Naish/Naish Sails) who was using his insane shakas to slice his way through heats against Kiri Thode (Starboard/Gaastra), Kevin Mevissen (JP/Neil Pryde). He finally fell to an on form Diony Guadagnino (Neil Pryde) in the quarterfinals.
The semi final saw Diaz v Campello and Guadagnino v Swift. Campello was on autopilot and spocked and grubbied his way to the final. Swift was equally impressive using his powerful style to bust through a repertoire of big shakas and clean ponchs to beat Guadagnino to the final.
The loser's final was a close one with both sailors going all out for 3rd place. In the end it was Diaz's varied repertoire that saw him pull away from Guadagnino with 18 moves to 11 Diaz was the victor claiming 3rd leaving Guadagnino to settle for 4th.
The ladies fleet saw a new name in the semi final with Silvia Orozco (JP/Neil Pryde) beating local stylist Nayra Alonso (Fanatic) in the quarterfinal stages. The semi final saw Iballa Moreno (Mistral/North Sails) v Karin Jaggi (F2/Arrows) and Daida Moreno (Mistral/North Sails) v Silvia Orozco. Jaggi was looking in control and advanced over Iballa and Daida put pay to Orozco's charge. The loser's final saw Iballa sail with more consistency to beat Silvia to 3rd place. The final was an interesting duel as for the first half of the 6 minute heat Jaggi looked to be ahead, landing some nice moves right in front of the judges. In fact if it wasn't for Moreno's clean back loop and Grubby in the closing seconds Jaggi might have taken victory. As it was it was Moreno's final two jumps that edged her ahead to take another freestyle win.
The men's final saw the power and muscle of Swift up against the sliding style of Campello. Straight from the green flag Campello looked in control. Swift busted out all kinds of crazy tricks but it was Campello with his smooth style that impressed the judges the most. Each of the 5 judges gave Campello a perfect unbeatable 10/10 score. Campello won and in doing so he has almost certainly secured his freestyle world title for 2004. Things can still change depending on how the next few days pan out. It isn't over until the fat lady sings or in this case it isn't over until the 18th August!
The forecast for tomorrow is looking like we might be in for some waves, so it could be a full on aerial display as the world's best wave stars take to the water. Racing starts on Thursday so there is still lots going on here in sunny and windy Gran Canaria.