The 2004 Gran Canaria PWA Super Grand Slam Day 7
At the morning low tide hopes were high for the continuation of the wave double elimination that was started yesterday. The waves were still rolling into the beach and by 10.30 we were into the action.
Everybody was keen to come back and challenge for the title. The double elimination is a chance for the sailors who dropped out early in the single to come back and challenge the top ranking sailors. Kauli Seadi (AHD/Naish) was on a mission to make up for his first round exit in the single and advanced through 5 heats using his clean jumping and speed on the wave to make up some serious ground in the rankings winning through a stunning 5 heats before going down to past Pozo Wave champion Kevin Pritchard (Starboard/Gaastra). Elsewhere in the elimination Peter Volwater (Arrows) was going all out using his big forwards and slick back loops to take control and win through 4 heats. The most important win for Volwater was his one against 2003 World Wave Champion Josh Angulo who just couldn't find the waves he needed to unleash his powerful wave riding style. Volwater eventually went down to Ben Proffitt (JP/Neil Pryde) who pulled of a perfect Taka (a sliding 360 on the wave) to secure him a place in the 6th round of the double. Ben has been having the event of his life here in Pozo and has yet to loose his perma-grin, which if the wind changes could very well stay there!
After 2 hours of competition the waves had dropped off and competition director Klaus Michel raised the postponement flag signaling an end of competition until the conditions improved. A blow for the challengers who are eager to take the title from McKercher's (Starboard) grasp.
In the ladies fleet there were some close battles, which saw Anne-Marie Reichmann (Naish/Naish), Silvia Orozco (JP/Neil Pryde), Claudia Vogt and Steffi Wahl (Mistral/North) advance through to challenge the front-runners. Steffi was looking particularly good using her wave riding skills honed over many winters in South Africa to pick out the most rip-able sets and ride them with some speed and style. Anne-Marie who is more used to smacking big lips at Margaret River in Western Australia also pulled some nice rides and jumps out of her bag of tricks to advance.
As it stands we have a heat of Pritchard v Fernandez (Fanatic) and Baker (Mistral/North) v Proffitt to go before the top 4 from the single elimination get to defend their positions. The forecast is good for wind but the swell forecasts are mixed so who knows what will happen. We do of course have the option of finishing off the third freestyle double elimination so for sure there will be competition tomorrow. Upsets and drama are still very much on the cards here in Pozo and don't forget that the 19th sees the start of the racing in the South of the Island when the big guns of the racing circuit will get to unleash their monster sails.
So at the end of day 7 Scott McKercher is still on course for his first ever PWA Wave event win. He'll have to hold off on the celebratory beers for one more night though as Pozo has a habit of delivering awesome conditions when you least expect it.