Wednesday July 10, 2002

Dutch sailor Remko De Weerd (Gaastra, AHD) and local girl, Daida Moreno

(Mistral, North) have taken first round victories in their respective

men¹s and women¹s freestyle eliminations here today at the PWA, Gran

Canaria Gran Slam. In the men¹s final De Weerd defeated British sailor


Baker (Mistral, North) in the thrilling battle, which was held this

afternoon in ridiculously windy conditions. The women¹s final was equally

exciting and it took Daida Moreno¹s (Mistral, North) best efforts to

thwart the challenge of Anne Marie Reichman (Naish boards, Naish sails)

from Holland

De Weerd was on fire today; somehow managing to pull off extremely

technical moves in Pozo¹s relentless winds which were blowing anywhere

between 30-40knots. His repertoire included tweaked shuv-its, slick one

handed spock 540¹s and sizzling swayzies! On route to the final the Dutch

freestyle specialist overcame challenges from the likes of Christian

Dammers (Gaastra, AHD), Eric Girard (Starboard), Peter Volwater (F2,

Arrows), Robby Swift (JP, Neil Pryde) and Victor Fernandez (Fanatic).

Baker meanwhile had an equally tough battle to make it through to the

final and took down Kristoffer Living of Sweden, Martin Van Geenhoven

(North, AHD), Matt Pritchard (AHD, Gaastra) and Ricardo Campello (JP, Neil

Pryde). The action packed final saw Nik Baker open up the heat with a

Crazy Pete and Remko replying with a huge contorted Shuv-it. As the heat

progressed De Weerd edged ahead after Baker failed to nail his trademark

clew first spock. With both sailors on 3.3m sails in what would best be

described as survival conditions the level of sailing throughout the final

was incredible.

Remko De Weerd

"It was ballistic out there, I am super happy. I guess things went my way

today because I can only do two jumpsSthe shuv-it and a forward loop. Nik

had a lot more weapons than me and all I can remember was him flying

through the air. In the final I pulled off most of my tricks and I think I

saw Nik fall a couple of times. It was so windy today a lot of the time we

were just hanging on!"

Victor Fernandez (Fanatic) an unranked local sailor caused the biggest

surprise of the day after making it all the way through to the losers

final. In the early rounds Fernandez took down highly ranked PWA sailors

Vidar Jensen (North), Gregg Allaway (JP, Neil Pryde) and Julien Taboulet

(JP, Neil Pryde) largely due to his incredible jumping ability. In the

battle for third and fourth it took the extraordinary skills of young

Venezuelan sailor Ricardo Campello (JP, Neil Pryde) to halt his progress.

Other shock results today included John Skye (F2, Arrows) of Britain

defeating world number two freestyler, Josh Stone (JP, Neil Pryde) and the

Mathieu Bonno of France taking down Brazilian samba sensation Kauli Seadi


In the women¹s competition it was Daida Moreno (Mistral, North) who came

out on top after a winning closely fought final against Anne Marie

Reichman (Naish boards, Naish sails) of Holland. Moreno who was pulling

off a variety of explosive jumps throughout the day had managed to defeat

Swiss sailor Karin Jaggi (F2, Arrows) in the semis. In the final she

nailed a back loop and push loop, which proved enough to give her the edge

over Reichman who had sailed brilliantly in her semi final heat where she

upstaged Colette Guadagnino (JP, Neil Pryde) of Venezuela.

The day began dramatically when Iballa Moreno (North, Mistral) was rushed

to hospital after breaking her foot in three places after awkwardly

landing a table top in the warm ups. She is due to have surgery tomorrow

morning and will be out of action for at least two months.

The wind is still howling here in Gran Canaria and the forecast is more of

the same! Tonight sailors will be resting aching muscles and contemplating

their days performances. There are still eight days of competition

remaining and if today is anything to go by the show has only just started!