The forecast was calling for plenty of wind from sunrise to sunset, so head judge Duncan Coombs made the call to meet for a 07:00 skipper’s briefing. Unfortunately for the wave sailors, the swell had failed to build, giving the freestylers a chance to wow the crowds. Both the competitors and spectators were not disappointed as both a single and double elimination of freestyle were completed.
With the difficult freestyle conditions that the sailors were up against, the higher ranked competitors played it fairly safe in the first round to ensure they made the cut and advanced through. There was still plenty of action on the water, with huge shaka’s and stylish eslider’s from the World’s best, pleasing the huge number of spectators on the beach. Unfortunately Canadian sailor Philip Soltysiak (Starboard, Dakine) pushed a little bit too hard and dislocated his shoulder during his first round heat against Thomas Traversa (Tabou, Gaastra). The crew had to help him off the water and take him to hospital to have it put back in place.
Highlight’s form the second round included the battle between 2008 Freestyle World Champion Jose ‘Gollito’ Estredo (Fanatic, North) and light wind freestyle master Steven Van Broeckhoven (F2, MauiSails). Both of these guys were fully going for it and landing numerous combination moves and big power moves. It could have well been the World Championship final, but it was only the second round. Estredo dug deep and nailed a few more stylish moves to take the win and move into the quarterfinals. The Russian sailor Yegor Popretinskiy (JP, NeilPryde, MFC) had an easy second round due to the fact that Antxon Otaegui (JP, NeilPryde, MFC) was still suffering from an ankle injury which he picked up earlier in the year. Otaegui tried to make it out for his heat but was in too much pain to compete.
The quarterfinals were very tight in both halves of the draw with difficult decisions being made by the judges. Taty Frans (Starboard, MauiSails) sailed an extremely impressive heat to take down the current World Champion Estredo. And his brother Tonky Frans (F2, Gaastra) sailed an equally impressive heat to take the scalp of 2007 Freestyle World Champion, Marcilio Browne (Fanatic, North, MFC). On the other side of the draw, Kiri Thode’s (Starboard, Gaastra) technical superiority helped him get ahead of Four Dimension’s director, Andre Paskowski (Fanatic, North). And Nicolas Akgazciyan (Starboard, Gun) took down the young Russian, Popretinskiy.
The Frans brothers’ success meant that they met in the semi-final. Taty managed to style his way through the heat with a huge shaka diablo and an awesome culo. His brother Tonky put every effort in to match him with a nice backloop and a shaka, but it wasn’t quite enough.
Thode stopped his French rival Akgazciyan dead in his tracks with a super smooth funnel and an amazing culo, amongst other high scoring moves. Thus putting himself in the final of the single elimination alongside Taty Frans.
In the losers final Akgazciyan was outclassed by Tonky Frans, who landed almost twice as many moves, including a huge shaka and a silky smooth burrner, making it a 1,2,3 for the boys from Bonaire.
In the final, both sailors were busting out their best moves in the extremely difficult conditions. At times they were crossing over matching each other move for move. Frans nailed a super clean ponch, so Thode replied with the same. It was only when Thode started to throw in trademark moves like the culo and air funnel cana brava that he nudged ahead. In the end, the judge’s decision was final, and Kiri Thode took the freestyle single elimination at the 2009 Colgate World Cup Sylt. An elated Thode commented “I’m super happy to be in the lead at the moment, but it’s not over yet!”
The wind continued to blow allowing a full double elimination to run. Traversa was punishing his victims from the off, and marching his way through until he met Estredo, who quickly stopped him. On the other side of the draw, Van Broeckhoven was flying through his heats, seeing off top freestylers such as Quincy Offringa (Starboard, Severne), and Paskowski, but during his final heat, he failed to complete a final move on starboard tack, and in a split decision from the judges, Popretinskiy advanced instead.
Estredo quickly took down Popretinskiy, and then met Akgazciyan. This was one of the closest heats of the contest and Akgazciyan sailed an absolute blinder, but couldn’t quite match the 2008 World Champion, Estredo.
Estredo had sailed numerous heats by the time he met Tonky Frans, and this was clear to see. A fresh faced and super excited Tonky hit the water with a smile on his face, and Estredo didn’t manage to steal it from him! They both landed their full quota of moves, but Tonky stole the show and stopped Estredo from advancing any further.
It was a family affair in the next heat, with the Frans brothers sailing flat out against each other. Taty Frans showed his brother who was boss though and spun his way into the final against Kiri Thode.
Taty Frans continued to consistently throw down both stylish and technical moves in the final against Thode. The conditions looked extremely difficult, yet both of them managed to pull off the most complex new-school freestyle moves, including burners, e-sliders, and massive shakas. The judges found it hard to make a decision, but finally gave it to Taty Frans which meant that because Thode had won the single elimination, Frans would have to beat him again to win the double.
So the final was set, a Thode versus Frans showdown for the double elimination crown. At first Frans failed to land the stylish moves he was nailing so easily in the previous heat, but luckily for him Thode had fallen a few times too. In the last few minutes the sailors went into overdrive and were landing three tricks per run, creating an amazing spectacle for those gathered on the beach. It was a close call for the judges to make, but in the end, Taty Frans had done enough to secure the double elimination victory.
1st: Taty Frans (F2, MauiSails)
2nd: Kiri Thode (Starboard, Gaastra)
3rd: Tonky Frans (Starboard, Gaastra)
4th: Jose 'Gollito' Estredo (Fanatic, North)
5th: Nicolas Akgazciyan (Starboard)
The action in Sylt was at full throttle for much of the day, making up for the past two days of waiting for wind. The forecast looks good for racing tomorrow so be sure to tune in, or in the meantime, for more information on all the entrants, and to keep up to date with every piece of the action, click on www.pwaworldtour.com
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