JULY 20th: THE WOMEN TAKE CENTRE STAGE;FOLLOWED BY MEN'S FREESTYLE:
In radical conditions Daida Moreno won the second double elimination of women's
wave performance here today at the Gran Canaria, PWA, Grand Slam. Despite a
determined challenge from her sister Iballa (Mistral, North) in the final, Daida
managed to cope better in the wild conditions and won by a 5-0 decision from
With winds blowing in excess of 40 knots it was yet another day of competing
in survival conditions here in Pozo. Race Director for waves Karim Goujon made
the decision to finish the women's wave performance this morning and competition
commenced at 10.30am. Faced with screaming winds and 4-6 feet waves the women
still managed to pull off plenty of radical moves in their bids to advance back
through the double elimination.
Iballa Moreno made the most of her home advantage and came through three tough
heats against Antonia Frey (RRD) of Greece, Collete Guadagnino (JP, Neil Pryde)
and then Karin Jaggi (F2, Arrows) on her way to the final. In a repeat of the
final of the women's first single elimination Daida Moreno managed to outclass
her sister once again although it is fair to say that Iballa must have been
exhausted after her three previous heats.
Daida Moreno is a member of Team MPG (Maximum Performance Group) coached by
fitness expert Scott Sanchez. Her strength, level of endurance and ability to
deal with the extreme conditions here in Pozo have all played a vital role towards
sealing victory here in Gran Canaria. Daida's sailing has been extremely impressive
throughout the competition so far, she has been nailing huge back loops, monster
forwards and clean push loops.
MENS DOUBLE ELIMINATION FREESTYLE
As if that wasn't enough action for one day we then started up again with the
double elimination of the men's freestyle. Competing in extreme winds now gusting
in excess of 50 knots the men somehow managed to pull off difficult tricks such
as worm burners, aerial duck gibes and clew first spocks along with the usual
array of 'rocket air' aerial manoeuvres.
The cast of the final was a repeat of the single elimination conflict between
Antoine Albeau (AHD, Neil Pryde) of France and Britain's Nik Baker (Mistral,
North). Both sailors opened up their five-minute repertoires with jumps. Antoine
nailed a perfect back loop whilst Nik opted for a clean forward. With three
foot waves rolling into the bay both sailors had to resist the urge to bust
out more jumps and concentrate on their freestyle moves. Albeau delivered a
scorching routine, which included spocks, aerial duck gybes and a variety of
one handed and one-legged jumps. Baker replied with similar moves but completed
a couple of his best tricks outside of the allotted competition area. The judges
penalised him for not staying within the course area and the tricks were consequently
removed from his score sheets. As a result, the heat went to Albeau, with Baker
not particularly happy with the decision!
In the earlier heats Michael Viscovich (Proof, Simmer) did some major damage.
The Danish sailor defeated Tony Garcia (RRD), Robby Swift (JP, Neil Pryde),
Kavli Seadi (Naish Boards, Naish Sails), Kevin Pritchard (Bic, Gaastra), Ricie
Foster (Fanatic, Naish), Vidar Jensen (Drops, North) and Julien Taboulet (AHD,
Neil Pryde). Tired and aching after demolishing half the fleet Viscovich eventually
went down to Peter Volwater (F2, Arrows) just two heats away from the final.
Volwater had done some pretty major damage himself. The Dutch star had taken
down Matt Pritchard (AHD, Gaastra) and Josh Stone (JP, Neil Pryde) before his
encounter with Viscovich. Volwater then had to battle it out with Nik Baker
to decide who would face Albeau in the final. Despite busting out some huge
airs, Nik Baker went through after performing a more varied repertoire, which
included more difficult tricks.
We now have only two days remaining here in Pozo. The flags have disintegrated
even further and now read 'GR CA' Chances are there will be nothing left of
them by the time the PWA world tour leaves town. Bjorn Dunkerbeck and Daida
Moreno have won their respective wave titles but the freestyle is still wide
open and it is likely that we will be able to complete a further double elimination
over the weekend. The atmosphere is tense, there is big money to play for and
many scores to settle as this contest draws top a thrilling climax!
DAIDA MORENO (MISTRAL, NORTH)
"I am really happy but I didn't expect to win 5 judges to 0 against
my sister in the final. I guess I was pretty lucky. I only had three jumps in
the final and I guess I was lucky all the judges saw them. I had trouble finding
any good ramps. I had a forward at the last minute so I think that saved it
for me. I am very happy to win!"
IBALLA MORENO (MISTRAL, NAISH)
"I am happy. I know I could have done better but in these conditions my
sister is sailing really good. It was fun to sail with her in the final. I had
a hard heat against Colette and was tired by the time I reached the final. The
high tide made it difficult to ride the waves. I am stoked!"
COLLETTE GUADAGNINO (JP, NEIL PRYDE)
"It's pretty gnarly out there but it's fun! There are waves and the wind
is pretty strong. The waves are big but not really powerful. Still, it is really
tough out there. This is the best conditions we have ever had in Pozo by far.
We have had everything times two so we can't complain about that! I am stoked!"
ANTONIA FREY (RRD)
"It is very radical. We have big waves and strong winds, it is incredible.
I have a 3.1m sail and I wish I had smaller. I never saw Pozo like this before.
This is a new experience, something new It wakes me up!"
"I am on a 3.2m overpowered! Its fun, when there are big gusts it is not
that much fun but it is OK. It is a competition, we do are best. The wind is
so strong sometimes it is difficult to do a gybe!"
ANNE REICHMAN (NAISH BOADS, NAISH SAILS)
"Its pretty different out there. It is quite windy, very gusty, I was
on a 2.8m and sometimes there are big waves to wash you onto the beach. Its
still fun out there, it's the elements and right now it's a bit rough. It is
fun to do and not such a bad job to have to be out there!"
ANTOINE ALBEAU (AHD, NEIL PRYDE)
"I am very pleased that I won the single and the double elimination against
Nik. It was very different from the first day because there were waves and stronger
winds. I had to focus on my tricks and not the wave moves, which was hard to
do. I am very happy!"
NIK BAKER (MISTRAL, NORTH)
"It was a hard day. Conditions have been so tricky, we were not really
sure if it was suitable freestyle conditions or not because it was really wave
sailing conditions out there. I was trying to do just freestyle stuff and not
concentrate on jumping. I thought I had won, I had a lot of good tricks and
everybody on the beach told me I had won. After the heat I found out that I
was just outside the competition area when I nailed a couple of my tricks. Antoine
obviously is a very good sailor and I wouldn't take anything away from him.
I am a bit disappointed to say the least!"