Jose ‘Gollito’ Estredo (Fanatic/North Sails) will walk away with the overall Lanzarote title, despite an unflinching performance by Kiri Thode (Starboard/Gaastra) who won today’s elimination.
Meanwhile, the dazzling Sarah Quita Offringa (Starboard/NeilPryde) continues to dominate the women’s crown after a late surge by Junko Nagoshi (Tabou/Simmer Style/Dakine).
The men’s final went down to the wire in Lanzarote today, as Kiri Thode proved himself as the most dangerous challenger in Estredo’s freestyle kingdom. Thode was epic in his displays as he sailed two flawless heats against the defending Champion, finally clinching a victory and securing second place overall in the ultimate heat of the day.
Injury plagued the early rounds of the men’s double, with Levi Lenz (Naish/Naish), Tomasz Wieczorek (Starboard/North Sails) and Mattia Pedrani (Starboard/Simmer Style/Dakine) all cruising through the early stages against fallen comrades, casualties of yesterday’s treacherous conditions. The easing winds gave the lighter-wind specialists a chance to grapple their way back, a chance that Andraz Zan (RRD/Loft), Philip Soltysiak (Starboard/Dakine) and Steven Van Broeckhoven (F2/MauiSails) pounced upon with immediate effect.
Van Broeckhoven, in particular, was outstanding today, tactfully carving his way through the rounds with clinical displays of brilliance. Disposing of Taty Frans (Starboard/MauiSails) and Phillip Soltysiak, the new freestyle sensation looked incredible, nailing a repertoire of the most complex moves ever seen. Ultimately, Estredo was the thorn in the Belgian’s side, in a heat that saw Van Broeckhoven depart earlier than he deserved.
Gollito’s early decision to miss the single elimination will no doubt cause debate through the windsurfing world, as the battle for second place was severely affected. As it was, he climbed through the ranks of the double, dashing the dreams of the most robust competitors. Even the mighty Marcillo Browne (Fanatic/North Sails), Andre Paskowski (Fanatic/North Sails) and Antxon Otaegui (JP/NeilPryde/MFC) could not do enough to stall Jose’s momentum as he fought through to face Thode in consecutive finals.
Estredo took the first battle in a brutal display, mounting the pressure on Thode who appeared stunned by the result. The green flag dictated the start of the heat, and with it a display that was simply out of this world. Completing a triple, one-handed funnel, and a double, one-handed flaka, Thode was simply too good.
Winning with a 4-1 decision, Thode has demonstrated to the world that the titan Estredo can be beaten; but to do so will take the performance of a lifetime.
The women’s competition witnessed some stunning performances once again, as the conditions allowed the fleet to show off their dazzling skills. The lighter winds pushed the discipline to a new level, giving the contestants the opportunity to put their tricks to the test.
Olga Raskina (JP/NeilPryde/MFC) sailed with style in both rounds, passing both Iballa Ruano Moreno (North Sails) and Xenia Kessler (MauiSails). A stand-out performance by Yolanda de Brendt (Fanatic/North Sails) today saw her sail impeccably through consecutive heats, nailing flakas, punetas and spocks with ease.
Focus, however, must fall on Junko Nagoshi’s performance this week, after holding her nerve once again to claim second place overall. Nagoshi has been consistent, dynamic and imposing throughout every round, and against any opponent; thoroughly deserving her current admiration. Against Daida Ruano Moreno (North Sails) in the semi final, Nagoshi showed monumental resolve to win the heat with a puneta 540 in the dying seconds.
The women’s final offered Nagoshi one last opportunity to supersede her dominant adversary. Alas, Sarah-Quita Offringa’s performance was so exciting, that even a brilliant effort by Junko could not take away the perfect ending from Offringa’s flawless event.
Lanzarote’s Costa Teguise has now set the standard for this year’s PWA World Freestyle Tour to an intense and dynamic all-time high. The grueling conditions have pushed the fleet to their limits, and shown what it takes to stand a chance of success at the very pinnacle of this sport. As it stands, the Champions still hold fast; but it is clear that this year, they will face their toughest challenge yet.