The Gran Canaria PWA Grand Slam wound up here today with dramatic a conclusion.
With winds blowing between 25 and 30 knots this morning it was decided to run
a further single elimination of both men’s and women’s freestlyle. In the men’s
single, sixteen year old Ricardo Campello (JP, Neil Pryde) of Venezuela sailed
brilliantly throughout the day and was the surprise winner. In a close final
against Vidar Jensen (North) of Norway, Campello landed an array of spocks,
loops and difficult tricks in clinching victory. This must be one of the greatest
achievements by such a young sailor in PWA history. Vidar jokingly commented
after the final that he was old enough to be Ricardo’s father.
Campello had advanced through heats today over Francisco Goya (F2, Arrows),
Michael Viscovich (Proof, Simmer) Kavli Seadi (Nasih boards, Naish Sails) Julien
Taboulet (AHD, Neil Pryde) and Antoine Albeau (AHD, Neil Pryde) on his road
to the final. Jensen meanwhile had beaten Dioni Guadagnino (JP, Neil Pryde)
Orjan Jensen (Proof, North), Nik Baker (Mistral, North) and Kevin Pritchard
The women’s final was won by Karin Jaggi (F2, Arrows) of Switzerland in a thrilling
head to head against Daida Moreno (Mistral, North) of Spain. Daida had come
through to the final after defeating her sister Iballa (Mistral, North) in the
semi final. In the other semi Jaggi had advanced over Colette Gaudagnino (JP,
The effect these results have on the mathematics of the overall freestyle positions
here in Gran Canaria mean that in the men’s division Antoine Albeau remained
in first, Nik Baker second with Vidar Jensen moving up to third. The two sailors
to really suffer today were Peter Volwater (F2, Arrows) who dropped down to
11th and Michael Viscovich who fell from 4th down to 12th. Competition can be
very cruel sometimes!
In the women’s overall freestyle Iballa Moreno (Mistral, North) finished in
top slot with Colette Guadagnino (JP, Neil Pryde) finishing in second, followed
by Daida Moreno (Mistral, North) in third.
This years wave competition will almost certainly go down in history as the
windiest and most radical in PWA history. We have completed two whole double
elimination’s in both men’s and women’s divisions. Winds have reached ridiculous
levels, at times gusting in excess of 60 knots. Some of the jumping we have
seen here during the past week has been absolutely incredible. With sailors
maxed out on their smallest sails hitting logo to mast high ramps at full speed
the net results produced some enormous jumps. Bjorn Dunkerbeck, (Proof, Neil,
Pryde), Vidar Jensen (North) Jonas Cebellos (Proof, Gaastra) Peter Volwater
(F2, Arrows) and Kevin Pritchard (Bic, Gaastra) were standouts who racked up
the most air miles this week.
In the men’s wave competition Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Proof, Neil Pryde) proved himself
to be the superior sailor here at his home break. Dunkerbeck’s jumping throughout
the contest was almost faultless. The big man was consistently higher and cleaner
in the air than most of his opposition. His monster one handed back loops were
particularly impressive. Dunkerbeck also excelled in the waves and he regularly
nailed moves such as the backside 360 alongside his aggressive front side turns.
Current Overall World Champion Kevin Pritchard (Bic, Gaastra), Norwegian Wild
Flyer Vidar Jensen (North) and Nik Baker (Mistral, North) all put up spirited
challenges in the fight for the wave title. All three sailors faced Dunkerbeck
in the various finals of the two double elimination’s but in the end the ‘Terminator’
proved too strong for his opposition and finished the contest with an unbeaten
The women’s competition was convincingly won by Daida Moreno (Mistral, North)
with Karen Jaggi (F2, Arrows) and Iballa Moreno (Mistral, North) both sharing
second place. Daida Moreno stood out from the fleet as the sailor most able
to cope with the arduous conditions. Her performance included high push loops,
cleanly landed back loops and an aggressive display of frontside and backside
The competition will be wrapped up tonight with the closing ceremony which
is being held at the Gloria Palace Hotel. Traditionally this is a big night
where sailors make the most of the opportunity to let off some steam. Holidays
Bar is often the next port of call once the awards ceremony is over. After that
sailors will most likely party on into the night at the infamous ‘Pit’ in Maspalomas!
The PWA World Tour now moves over to the neighbouring Island of Fuerteventura
for a Grand Prix Freestyle event which commences on the 27th of July. Antoine
Albeau will be fighting hard to repeat his success here in Gran Canaria but
the with likes of Nik Baker, Josh Stone and Matt Pritchard breathing down his
neck the battle for the Overall Freestyle title is still wide open.
"I am very happy and excited and I can’t believe this has happened! I sailed
my best heat in the semi final and wasn’t sure if I had won against Vidar. I
was not nervous at all!"
"I made it to the final through some pretty close heats. I finished in
third overall so I am really stoked, that means I finished in the top three
in both disciplines. The conditions were a little bit up and down in the final.
I was happy to be there though. It is super cool that we have guys like Ricardo
doing so well. I am really happy for him that he beat me. He is such a talent
and it is good to see these new young guys up there!"
"I was pleased to make the final. I was wishing for wind this morning but
it really didn’t look so good. It was really gusty today. It actually finished
quite strong, I was on a 3.6m in the final. It was definitely tough conditions
that’s for sure. I am glad it’s all over now time for some rest!"
"I really wasn’t expecting to have another round of freestyle today. I
am really happy I made the final. I beat my sister in the semi final but she
won overall anyway so she won’t be too upset!"