The light early morning breeze gave the wave and freestyle sailors another chance to relax, and mentally prepare for the competition ahead. For the slalom sailors however, it was a different story. A four gybe downwind course was set early in the morning, and the racers were rigged and ready to do battle by 10:00.
Unfortunately, with the light and unpredictable winds, the slalom sailors were held on standby for much of the day. The occasional gust tempted a few of the competitors out including Ross Williams (Tabou, Gaastra), Finian Maynard (RRD, NeilPryde), Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard, Severne) and Robby Swift (JP, NeilPryde). But it was extremely patchy and even with their 9.3’s up they occasionally dropped off the plane. During the afternoon, the sun shone on Sylt’s golden sands but the wind didn’t play ball.
Race director Juan Antonio Aragon made every effort to get the racing underway today, but the wind was far too gusty to hold any heats.
Whilst the sailors were on standby, we took the opportunity to speak to one of the newest and youngest competitors on the tour. Mikey Clancy (Starboard, Severne) has shown great promise over in his homeland of Ireland recently, and this year joined the PWA Wave Tour in Pozo. And competing against the World’s best obviously didn’t put him off because he’s come back for more in Sylt.
PWA: How did you find your first professional level event in Gran Canaria? Was it nerve wracking sailing against your idols?
MC: “My first heat was against a really big name, Peter Volwater (F2, MauiSails), and so it was pretty tough. I’d seen these guys in the videos all my life and then suddenly I had to compete against one of them in my first heat! Even just looking at my name on the contest list next to guys like Kauli Seadi (JP, NeilPryde), and Josh Angulo (Angulo, MauiSails), was pretty scary! Normally I’m not too nervous a person, but when it suddenly came to my heat and I had to choose my equipment and think about the moves I was going to do – I was a bit overwhelmed by it all. However, when it came to my second heat and I’d spoken to a few of the other guys, I was a much more relaxed.”
PWA: What’s it like being one of the youngest on the tour?
MC: “Well, at 19 years old I’m in reasonably good company with the likes of Marcilio Browne (Fanatic, North) and Kai Lenny (Naish, Naish) being of a similar age. There’s also Thomas Traversa (Tabou, Gaastra) and Alex Mussolini (Tabou, Vandal) who both ride with amazing style and aren’t that old. There’s quite a few younger people coming through, so it makes it a little easier for me, although most of these guys have been on the tour for a while now. It’s great to see them on the water and get tips from them so that I can improve my own riding. In Ireland I normally sail on my own so being able to sail with everyone is amazing.”
PWA: At the moment are you just enjoying being here with the best windsurfers in the world and soaking in the atmosphere?
MC: “Yeah I’m loving being at these events, the atmosphere here in Sylt is phenomenal. The tents stretch down the beach for about 1km, there are masses of spectators – even I feel like a star when people gather round to watch me rig my gear!”
PWA: Where do you hope to finish in this event?
MC: “Hopefully I’d like to improve upon my result which I obtained in Pozo. I came 25th there, but it’s going to be pretty tough to beat that here. I’m not used to the onshore conditions, and there are other guys here that weren’t in Pozo like Nik Baker (Fanatic, North) and Jason Polakow (JP, NeilPryde). It’s not a big deal because this is just my first time in Sylt and my first year on the tour – I’ve got plenty of years left in me! This winter I’m going to try and improve my own sailing standard and my fitness, so I’m more prepared for the tour next year.”
PWA: Who do you think will win here in Sylt and who do you think will take home the Wave World Title?
MC: “I’m not really sure, there are so many big names, and it depends if the wind swings round to starboard tack. If that happens there could be a few guys that you wouldn’t normally have thought able, at the front of the fleet. Overall I think it will probably be Angulo or Seadi, but you can’t ever rule out Ricardo Campello (JP, NeilPryde), or Traversa, or Robby Swift (JP, NeilPryde), they’re all within reach.
Thanks to Mikey for taking time out to speak with us. We look forward to seeing more of him on the tour next year. It really is great to see these new faces around giving it their best shot against the older and more experienced sailors. Perhaps we’ll see some of them rise to the top before the week is out.
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