In the warm-up sessions for the King, we saw some amazing performances of
the very young riders from Venezuela: Alexis Zabala, Diony Guadagnino
(JP/Neil Pryde), Douglas Diaz, Ricardo Campello (JP/Neil Pryde), the
Bonaire kids Tonki (AHD/Gaastra) and Tati Frans (AHD/Gaastra), Keke
Dammers (Starboard), Kauli Seadi (Naish Sails) from Brazil and Colin
Sifferlen (Mistral/North Sails) from New Caledonia. They are
self-confident and sail without respect for the big names.
Seventeen year old Alexis Zabala says that he is so happy to come to
Europe: It is the first time that he left South America, his first time in
an airplane - and even the first time he used a wetsuit! In el Yaque,
Venezuela he usually sails in shorts. He is very proud to sail at the Red
Bull King of the Lake and to meet all the windsurfing stars: "They are
nice and natural to us kids - it is a dream coming true for me". And he
loves Italian ice cream (he eats about 10 every day) and: "the chicas
(girls) are soooooo pretty here!"
The domination of the all time World Cup Stars seems to come to an end.
Brian Talma (F2/Arrows), Irie Man from Barbados, announces the revolution:
"The youngsters are about take over! There are so many fresh kids who are
not scared of the future and willing to change the sport in a very
positive way. We should listen to the young what they have to say. It is
important that there is no stagnation on land and on the water. I can feel
a lot of energy and plenty of action for the future of windsurfing!"
Josh Stone (JP/Neil Pryde), two times World Champion says that he is
"super-stoked" for the sport: The youth explosion is a sign that the
future of windsurfing is bright!
Iballa Ruano Moreno (Mistral/North Sails), one of the world's best female
sailors, says that It is amazing: the kids from Venezuela, Brazil, Bonaire
and New Caledonia are so good, that one of them will be the King of the
Lake this year, that is for sure."
Remko de Weerd (AHD/Gaastra), top-seeded rider and winner of the PWA event
earlier this year in Austria admitted that he preferred no wind this year
at the King because "I have to train more to beat these kids."
Last year's King Matt Pritchard (AHD/Gaastra) could not believe how
prepared the kids are: "They raised the level of the sport in an
impressive way. The progress of the sport due to these kids is
unbelievable. They are keeping us active; we have to train harder than
ever to keep up with them. They are the reason that we are getting better
as well. Actually they push so hard that we get to a level we would never
have thought we could get."
Let's hope we get a chance to see more of their impressive performances
tomorrow - we'll certainly be up early to prepare for the show-down, as
our alarm clocks are set for 5.30 am - to be ready for the skippers'
meeting at. 6.30 am.