PWA World Tour 2005 end of year roundup
The year 2005 has been as another full blown action packed season for the PWA World Tour. Apart from hosting the hottest windsurfing events around the world, the PWA has taken some important steps for the future of the sport, securing major events for years to come and further expanding the tour calendar for next year.
Freestyle has really hit another dimension this year. At every contest the freestyle elite punched out never seen before moves that are virtually impossible to understand without recording them and playing them back in slow motion over and over again. From the dead flat tropical waters of Bonaire to the gale force bump and jump arena of Pozo, the competition was tighter than ever and reigning world champion Ricardo Campello (V-111, JP/ Neil Pryde) would have to give his all to pull it off again for another year.
The freestyle tour kicked off in May on the turquoise waters of Bonaire. Although lack of wind caused by an unusually early hurricane prevented the fleet from completing the contest, the world got a glimpse of what the PWA men and women had been working on over the winter break; sheer freestyle insanity, with new moves lesser gods could not even imagine, let alone pull off. Next stop, Pozo Izquierdo, Gran Canaria, where the flat waters of the Caribbean had to make way for the choppy waves of the tour’s windiest location. The 4.0 and below conditions were right up Campello’s alley, but he wasn’t the only one thriving on the nuclear winds. Kauli Seadi (BRA-253, Quatro/ Naish) threw everyone off by winning the first single elimination. Having come to Pozo primarily to win the wave contest, the multi-talented Brazilian proved he’s quite the master in freestyle as well. Ricardo Campello took command from then on, winning all following eliminations and in doing so the contest, but the two times freestyle world champ had to fight hard to stay on top, fending off Kauli Seadi, Anthony Ruenes (F-85, Tabou/ Gaastra) and Victor Fernandez (E-42, Fanatic).
In the women’s freestyle competition Daida Moreno (E-64, Mistral/ North Sails) was playing a home game at Pozo and it showed as she wiped out the competition in every elimination. Karin Jaggi (Z-14, F2) and Iballa Moreno (E-63, Mistral/ North Sails) were to only ones able to keep up, but both girls couldn’t beat Daida at her own game in the finals. And so it was Daida Moreno who took the lead in the freestyle tournament, followed by Karin Jaggi and Iballa Moreno (E-63, Mistral/ North Sails) as the tour moved on to the neighboring island of Lanzarote for the year’s freestyle finals.
The moderate winds of Lanzarote provided a welcome break from Pozo’s howling 45 knot storms, with still more than sufficient conditions for the final freestyle contest of the 2005 season. The major players in Lanzarote turned out to be much more diverse than in Pozo as Taty Frans (NB-9, Starboard/ MauiSails) opened the score by winning the first single and double elimination. In both finals Frans was up against a dazzlingly sailing Douglas Diaz (V-34, Fanatic/ North). In the single elimination of the second round the Venezuelans called the shots as Douglas Diaz beat Jose Estredo (V-1, Fanatic/ North Sails) in the final. As the contest progressed, developments got more and more crucial for the overall title contenders. First to blow his shots at the overall title was Anthony Ruenes, who was taken out by Marcilio Browne (BRA-105, Naish/ Naish). After that it was exit Kauli Seadi, as the Brazilian’s passage to victory was blocked by Taty Frans. That same Taty Frans proceeded to knock out another major favorite for the title, the one and only Ricardo Campello. The question was if the two times freestyle world champion had come far enough to secure the overall title for the third time in a row. In the double elimination final of round two, the two Venezuelan wildboys were up against each other again and once again Diaz beat Estredo in a sensational final, bringing him the Lanzarote freestyle title. With that result, Ricardo Campello (V-111, JP/ Neil Pryde) got his third consecutive freestyle world title for his twentieth birthday.
In the women’s freestyle competition one girl sent shockwaves through the rankings; fourteen year old Sarah-Quita Offringa (ARU-91, Starboard) astounded competitors and spectators alike with major league freestyle moves such as clewfirst punetas and esliders. In the double elimination of the first round, not even Iballa Moreno could stop the rastagirl from Aruba, as Offringa progressed up in to the semifinal, where she was knocked out by Karin Jaggi. Offringa walked away with an amazing third place in her first ever PWA event and it will definitely not be her last. Daida Moreno (E-64, Mistral/ North Sails) won the event and the 2005 overall freestyle title before Karin Jaggi (Z-14, F2) who got second in the event and in the overall rankings and Silvia Alba (E-67, Tabou/ Gaastra). Alba finished joined third with Offringa in Lanzarote and in doing so, securing her third place in the overall freestyle rankings.
The crown discipline started off in March at its spiritual home of Hookipa Beach Park, Maui. It was up to Scott McKercher (KA-181, Starboard/ Severne) to defend his 2004 wave title against a herd of hungry wavesailors, all determined to rob the Australian of his crown. Maui was pestered by unusually bad weather this year, but the wind was unaffected by the rain and blasted Josh Angulo (US-11) straight to victory, snatching the title away from Kauli Seadi’s wanting hands. Seadi faced Angulo in both the single and double elimination final, but couldn’t find a way to take the American down on either occasion. Third place in Maui went to Matt Pritchard (US-10, Tabou/ Gaastra).The Brazilian’s time was yet to come.
The women fought a battle of their own in which world tour stars were up against local heroes. Even in the Maui sailors’ own backyard, it was the Moreno Twins that ruled both the single and double elimination final. Although Iballa gave Daida a serious run for her money, the reigning wave world champion opened the season with an important victory. Not so much in points maybe, but the more in prestige by winning at the world’s most famous windsurfing beach. Jennifer Henderson (US-7, Starboard) used her local knowledge to sail into third place.
Next stop for the men was Guincho, Portugal. A long-lost world cup location and at times an epic starboard tack break, the PWA proudly returned to the Atlantic seaboard of the Iberian Peninsula for some heavy duty waveriding. In a broad array of conditions, ranging from light side onshore winds and small waves to 3m waves and cross offshore down the line conditions, it was Matt Pritchard (US-10, Tabou/ Gaastra) who sailed most consistently of them all throughout the week. Pritchard had to work hard though to fight off the young generation out to get him. In the semifinal the American just made it through against an aggressively sailing Alex Mussolini (E-30, JP/ Neil Pryde) and the final was another close heat against no one less than Kauli Seadi (BRA-253, Quatro/ Naish). As conditions in the final were too sketchy for jumping, only waveriding counted for points. While both sailors were showing phenomenal waveriding skills with big aerials, keeping the score very close, Pritchard snuck in the biggest backloop of the contest. Although it didn’t officially count, it must have given him the edge in overall impression scores, bringing him a well-fought victory. Seadi had to settle for second best again, but did fortify his position in the rankings. With two more wavecontests to go, the title was still well in his reach.
First contest of the remaining two was Pozo, Gran Canaria. Dreaded by Hawaiian style starboard tack riders and favored by highwind porttack riders, Pozo Izquierdo promised to be an interesting arena for the next clash of the titans. Throughout the contest, the PWA stars were throwing the sickest double forwards as if there was no tomorrow, lean and clean. In the middle of all this radical fireworks, it finally all came together for Kauli Seadi as he proved his amazing all-round wave talent by winning his first ever wave contest in Gran Canaria’s superwindy and bumpy conditions, after coming in second at the classic down the line locations of Guincho and Hookipa. Seadi’s march to victory brought him past the likes of Victor Fernandez (E-42, Fanatic), Bjorn Dunkerbeck (E-11, North Sails) in the quarter final, Antoine Albeau (F-192, Neil Pryde) in the semi and finally Nik Baker (K-66, Mistral/ North Sails) in the final. While Seadi clinched it, Baker demonstrated he is still a force to be reckoned with after all his years on the tour.
While the winds continued to howl the next days, the waves didn’t come through as they can in Pozo, leaving both the men’s and women’s double elimination stranded in the semifinals. Seadi wasn’t complaining though, as he nailed his first wave victory before Nik Baker and Ricardo Campello, who had fought his way into the semifinal in the double elimination. The women’s rankings remained unchanged with Daida Moreno (E-64, Mistral/ North Sails) in first, Iballa Moreno (E-63, Mistral/ North Sails) in second and Karin Jaggi (Z-14, F2) in third place.
After a brief break for refueling and training, the last stop on the PWA wave calendar was Sylt, Germany where the battle for worldwide wave recognition would be fought out once and for all. While the forecast upon arrival indicated conditions of biblical proportions later during the event, in reality the wavesailors had to make due with mediocre conditions at some ungodly hours. Twice, the fleet was summoned to the beach at 0700. Once the early wakeup call paid off, the second time it was all for nothing. On the day the gamble did pay off, the contest got underway with a sideshore morning session and continued in a practically dead onshore afternoon session. There were some significant upsets as Robby Swift (K-89, JP/ Neil Pryde) kicked out Bjorn Dunkerbeck (E-11, North Sails) and Alex Mussolini (E-30, JP/ Neil Pryde) eliminated reigning wave world champion Scott McKercher (KA-181, Starboard/ Severne) in a superclose heat. Xavier Huart (F-33, Mistral/ North Sails) made sure Kauli Seadi (BRA-253, Quatro/ Naish) wouldn’t have an easy run to the top in a sizzling heat, as the Frenchman was right on top of the would be world champion, but couldn’t beat Seadi in the end. Others to reach the quarter final stage were Nik Baker (K-66, Mistral/ North Sails), Vidar Jensen (N-44, North Sails) and Victor Fernandez (E-42, Fanatic), Peter Volwater (H-24, F2) and Greg Allaway (KA-38, Mistral/ North Sails).
Meanwhile in the women’s competition, in the afternoon session the elimination had progressed rapidly to the quarter finals featuring Annemarie Reichman (H-98, Naish/ Naish) vs Karin Jaggi (Z-14, F2), Uli Hoelzl (AUT-123, F2/ Neil Pryde) vs Iballa Moreno (E-63, Mistral/ North Sails), Junko Nagoshi (J-11) vs Nayra Alonso (E-4, Fanatic/ Severne) and Silvia Alba (E-67, Tabou/ Gaastra) vs Daida Moreno (E-64, Mistral/ North Sails).
The wavecontest was to continue two days later, in another daybreak session, but unfortunately the wind direction and unfavorable tide messed things up. After trying to run the wave contest several times throughout the morning, the decision was finally made to cancel as wave conditions were simply too unreliable. With no forecast for good wind conditions for the remainder of the event, this meant an untimely end to the Sylt wave contest. It also meant Kauli Seadi (BRA-253, Quatro/ Naish) won his first ever PWA overall wave title. Second place overall in the 2005 wave tour went to Nik Baker (K-66, Mistral/ North Sails), third to Robby Swift (K-89, JP/ Neil Pryde). In the women’s division it was another bullet for Daida Moreno (E-64, Mistral/ North Sails), nailing her sixth wave world title, before her sister Iballa Moreno (E-63, Mistral/ North Sails) and Karin Jaggi (Z-14, F2) in third place.
In 2005 the PWA introduced a brand new racing format, Slalom 42. The format has been especially designed to bring the action as close to the spectators as possible. Racers get to register two boards and four sails max. First event on the Slalom 42 tour this year was Sotavento, Fuerteventura where the world’s greatest racers gathered jockeying for position in the rankings. The battle for gold was between Bjorn Dunkerbeck (E-11, North Sails) and Micah Buzianis (USA-34, F2/ North Sails), both riders winning every other heat, keeping things very close right up till the final heat of the event. While Dunkerbeck crossed the line in first place, Buzianis fought his way passed Finian Maynard (IVB-11, F2/ Naish) and finished in second place, which proved to be enough to snatch the event title away from Dunkerbeck.
In the women’s racing things were equally tied. Speed and racing queen Karin Jaggi (Z-14, F2) had her hands full with Valerie Ghibaudo (FRA-444), both ladies bringing in most rounds of the pack. Jaggi scored five victorious finals, Ghibaudo three. Jaggi was not in the clear however until the very last final, which she impressively won and thereby showing once and for all who’s the master of the slalom course. As there would be no more racing for the women this year, Karin Jaggi (Z-14, F2) added another world title to her impressive track record.
The men had one more Slalom 42 event to go in Sylt, where Dunkerbeck was set to retaliate after missing out on top podium spot in Sotavento. For a while it looked like the Terminator was unstoppable again as he won the first four rounds of the contest on day one. Buzianis eat your heart out. But while the American initially thought his chances at the overall title were already ripped to pieces by Dunkerbeck, the tables turned in the following days when Buzianis began fighting back winning his own share of rounds. Dunkerbeck nailed another one, but also faltered wasting valuable points in several finals. Again it would all come down to the last final of the event, which proved to be the most exciting one as well. Dunkerbeck started off well, but Buzianis overtook him at the first mark and stayed ahead until the end. At the final buoy, Dunkerbeck tried to sneak past Buzianis on the inside, but failed hopelessly and was overtaken by Arnon Dagan (ISR-1, Fanatic/ Neil Pryde), the number three in the field. Buzianis won, Dagan got second and Dunkerbeck third. Number two in the Sylt slalom ranking Antoine Albeau (F-192, Neil Pryde) crossed the line in a disappointing eleventh place, allowing Buzianis to take over his second place. While Bjorn Dunkerbeck (E-11, North Sails) went home with the event title, an unprecedented situation occurred, as Micah Buzianis (USA-34, F2/ North Sails) had won the other Slalom 42 of the season. This meant both racing stars had to share the world title, but as both riders were very happy winning the crown, neither of them had any problems with this somewhat strange occurrence.
So, another year has passed producing new champions stemming from a new generation of windsurfers. Next year will undoubtedly be even more action packed than the previous season, with hopefully more events around the world and unquestionably more radical action in all disciplines. The 2006 tour kicks off in January at the London Boat Show. Meanwhile, be sure to stay tuned to www.pwaworldtour.com for all the latest news from the world of professional windsurfing.
© PWA/ van Weel