Around 20 knots of wind and head high waves set the scene for a classic showdown, and a large partisan crowd showed up to see what windsurfing, and Brazil’s newest national hero had to offer.
The head judge opted for a long 30 minute heat with two jumps and two waves to count allowing the competitors the best chance of finding the choicest set waves, and ramps in the gusty side-offshore conditions.
The action was remarkable considering the conditions and both riders certainly used all their skills to make the most of the set up.
On the beach there were firecrackers and rockets from Seadi’s supporters, and cheers for his every move.
Nik Baker (Mistral / North) opened his account with a long ride, which he milked all the way to the beach to set the tone. But Kauli Seadi (Quatro / Naish) soon kicked into gear with dazzling riding of his own, including an amazing Goyta, as well as plucking a massive push loop table top, and a high one-handed, one-footed back loop out of thin air in the light and gusty breeze.
Baker replied with his own high back loop and a table top forward and continued to pressure the 2005 champ with his wave riding skills as the two competitors played a game of cat and mouse to snag the best surf in the shadow of the small island off Praia do Ibiraquera.
As the heat progressed the wind became sketchier and both riders came in to change onto larger sails, which helped their jumping performance, but didn’t make much difference to the wave scores.
Home advantage eventually paid for the Brazilian as he put his expert local knowledge to use to select waves that offered more open face and workable sections. Seadi’s ability to magic so many energetic turns out of nowhere made the difference to truly indicate his amazing talent.
There was no doubt in the crowd’s minds as to who’d won as a throng of supporters carried Seadi from the water’s edge to the podium before the decision was announced.
The judges seemed to agree and a unanimous 5-0 decision awarded him the victory.
Baker was philosophical about the defeat. ‘It was never going to be easy going against Kauli at his home spot. I’d have preferred to have gone for it yesterday personally as I need bigger waves than we had today to really get going, and my plan was always to attack him using that as my strength. I tried to beat him on the wave rides and I thought my jumping was pretty poor to be honest. I really needed surf where I could make like 5 or 6 turns per wave and only really found one or two that broke that way today. I was a little put off by the fireworks and that which at first freaked me a little when I was riding a wave thinking I was being shot at or something, but I soon re-focused and remembered why I was here. I think Kauli deserved the win and it’s great he’s done it here in Brazil too. I’m super-happy to have finished this high up here and move up the overall rankings’
Seadi seemed to know he’d won and was visibly relieved when the result was announced. ‘It really is an emotional thing for me to win here, for the sake of my sponsors, family and the organizers who helped showcase windsurfing here. I tried to sail my best and really show everyone, in a country mad for surfing, what windsurfing is about, and although I’ve already got one world title I really wanted to secure my first event win of the season here to strengthen my campaign on the 2007 title. If I can win that then more people will notice our amazing sport here in Brazil’
That title race is now hotting up after the first discard has come into play. Victor Fernandez (Fanatic / Simmer) has narrowed the margin between himself and Seadi, but the Spaniard can’t afford to drop any further and must beat Seadi at all the remaining events to win the title, as the vultures circle for the remaining podium places.
There’s a possibility there’ll be a super session later in the holding period if suitable conditions materialize.