PWA FREESTYLE QUALIFIER, SPAIN, DAY 1

A highly prestigious fleet have gathered here in Costa Brava, Spain to

compete in the fourth PWA freestyle qualifier of the season. Largely due to

its superb reputation for hospitality and of course excellent conditions,

this event has become one of the favourite stopovers for the sailors on the

PWA freestyle tour. Amongst the impressive list of International entrants

are; American freestyle maestro, Josh Stone (JP, Neil Pryde), the Brazilian

Samba sensation Kauli Seadi (Naish Boards, Naish Sails) and Norwegian high

flyer Vidar Jensen (Drops, North).

Josh Stone (31), who is travelling with his wife Amy and son Harley,

finished second overall on the PWA freestyle tour last year and is

determined to put the record straight in 2002. Vocal as always, Stone has

already announced that he is confident in taking victory here in Spain. He

is treating this event as a serious build up towards the first major event

on the tour next month in Gran Canaria. As with many of the sailors at this

event Stone has been keeping an eye on the World Cup in Japan.

"I don¹t want to sound too cocky but I am feeling pretty good and

I am out

to win. Last year was my year off a little bit, I needed a bit of a break

but I am now super motivated after hearing vice champion 3,000 timesSI am

sick of it! I am going all out this year and am going to kick as much ass

as I can. I am stoked that there are so many young kids here and I really

think this event is going to be a battle, no matter what. Whoever wins is

going to have to fight hard. Winning is all about heart and right now my

heart is already to go!

Of course I am following the world cup. I heard the US won a game! USA man!

All I know is that I have a good feeling for America this year"

Hotly tipped to challenge Stone for the overall title this year is the

nineteen-year-old Brazilian sailor Kauli Seadi. Seadi, is fast gaining the

reputation as one of the most dangerous freestyle competitors on the tour,

stormed into the PWA rankings last season after taking victory at the

Fuerteventura Grand Prix. Kauli represents windsurfings new generation and

his radical, dynamic approach to sport is leading the way for many

newcomers into the sport.

"I have been in Maui training freestyle, there have not been so many waves

so I think I am pretty ready. There are a few new tricks around like the

flat water Taka and the

switch stance spock which I have been learning. I am keeping an eye on

Brazil in the World Cup, I am not a major football fan but of course when

Brazil are playing for sure I am going to watch!"

Vidar Jensen (30) will be another likely contender for the podium at this

event especially if the winds turn ballistic. The Norwegian sailor who is

based Gran Canaria is well know to favour nuclear conditions, the harder it

blows the higher Jensen goes!

"It is my fourth year here and from past experience you never know what

to

expect. It looks like we are in for some thermal winds but it can turn

around here very quickly. I don¹t care which way it blows, if we get some

stronger winds it suites me better but I am OK now with the lighter winds.

I have some better boards and have been practising on some freestyle days

in the Canaries this winter. Norway didn¹t make it into the world cup but

my brother and I are both keeping an eye on Sweden and Denmark instead. I

head Denmark beat France this morning so we are pretty happy about that!"

French competitors have been drowning in their sorrows after their national

football team were eliminated from the World Cup in Japan this morning.

Head judge Frank Roguet was particularly upset by Frances early departure

from the tournament but at least can now devote his full attention to the

job in hand. English sailors John Skye (F2 Arrows), Chris Audsley (Mistral)

and Andy Funnel (F2, Arrows) are hoping to catch their countries game

against Nigeria tomorrow but if it¹s blowing in the morning they will

obviously have to forsake football for the competition.

The wind here in the south of Spain is currently blowing from the south and

looks extremely promising for the next few days. With a wealth of both

experienced and Oup and coming¹ talent in the fleet the stage nicely set

up

for some major showdowns once competition is under way.