2002 POZO GRAN CANARIA PWA GRAND SLAM, DAYS 9, 10 & 11

DAY 9

We are back in action here at the Gran Canaria PWA 2002 Grand Slam. This

afternoon the wind picked up enough to allow ten heats of the fourth round

of freestyle to be completed. By 5.30pm conditions became too gusty to

continue and competition was abandoned.

With winds gusting between 15 and 20 knots it was a whole new ball game on

the water today when compared to the opening three days of 40-knot

ballistic freestyle action. Instead of 3.3m sails and wave boards, sailors

were competing on 5.3m to 6.m sails and larger dedicated freestyle boards.

The sailors that made it through to the third round today were Victor

Fernandez (Fanatic), Antoine Albeau (Neil Pryde, AHD) Richard Foster

(Fanatic, Naish), Matt Pritchard (Gaastra, AHD), Klaas Voget (Arrows

Fanatic), Robby Swift (JP, Neil Pryde), Kauli Seadi (Naish boards, Naish

sails) and Ricardo Campello (JP, Neil Pryde).

Jonas Ceballos (Fanatic, Gaastra) who is currently in fourth place overall

failed to advance today but under the dingle elimination system will have

a second chance to make the third round. Also failing to make it through

were John Skye (F2, Arrows), Peter Volwater (F2, Arrows) and Diony

Guadignino (JP,Neil Pryde).

With only two days of official competition remaining the forecasts are

pointing towards a return to freestyle over waves. Matt Pritchard

(Gaastra, AHD) of California is still holding pole position after three

rounds and today sailed a steady heat to keep him self on track to defend

his position.

Matt Pritchard

³I feel no pressure, there is nothing I can do about the wind so I am just

focussing on trying to win the next round. That is the bottom line. I

could hope and pray for no wind but that doesn¹t really do any good. If

we

go, my aim is to win the next round and put the icing on the cake!²

The fourth round of freestyle is vitally important to both men¹s and

women¹s fleets as it brings a discard into play. Last years freestyle

champion, Antoine Albeau who is back in seventh position overall is

currently holding a 24.5 in his results. As it stands Albeau will have to

make the final of the fourth round in order to win here in Gran Canaria.

Also in the running foe the top slot are Nik Baker (North, Mistral)

Ricardo Campello (JP, Neil Pryde) and Jonas Ceballos (Gaastra, Fanatic).

In the women¹s freestyle Daida Moreno (Mistral, North) is looking

favourite to win. Karin Jaggi (F2, Arrows), Colette Guadignino (JP, Neil

Pryde) and Anne Marie Reichman (Naish boards, Naish sails) are all in the

fight for the other podium positions.

The stage is all set for a riveting climax to the Gran Canaria 2002 PWA

Grand Slam. It looks like we will have two more possible rounds of

freestyle but the wind here in Gran Canaria makes its own rules so never

discount the possibility for more wave action!

Day 10

We are back on standby here

Thursday July 18, 2002

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We are back on standby here on the penultimate day of the Gran Canaria PWA

2002 Grand Slam. The wind in Pozo this afternoon was too light for any

official action and the competition is now all set to go down to the wire

tomorrow. The forecast is looking promising although the likelihood of any

more wave action is slim.

The battle for the men¹s freestyle pole position has boiled down to a

shoot out between Matt Pritchard (Gaastra, AHD), Nik Baker (North Mistral)

Ricardo Campello (JP, Neil Pryde), Jonas Ceballos (Gaastra, Fanatic) and

Antoine Albeau (Neil Pryde, AHD). Pritchard is currently holding number

one slot but any of the closing pack could clinch victory if the wind

blows tomorrow.

In the women¹s freestyle Daida Moreno (Mistral, North sails) looks set

to

take victory and the race for the other podium slots is between Karin

Jaggi (F2, Arrows), Colette Guadagnino (JP, Neil Pryde) and Anne Marie

Reichman (Naish boards, Naish sails).

Tomorrow evening the event will conclude with the closing ceremony at the

Gloria Palace Hotel in San Augustin. After ten days of grueling

competition the night traditionally turns into a huge party. Holidays Bar

is the first stop for most sailors followed by a trip into the infamous

OPit¹, a mass of bars and nightclubs where the scene rages all night long.

Day 11

It's A Family Affair As Pritchards Do The Double!

Friday July 19, 2002

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It¹s a Pritchard double here at the Gran Canaria, 2002, PWA Grand Slam.

The wind failed to blow today meaning Kevin Pritchard (Gaastra, Bic) has

been confirmed as the winner of the men¹s wave competition and Matt

Pritchard (Gaastra, AHD) has taken the number one slot in men¹s freestyle.

No competition today also meant a double victory for Pozo local Daida

Moreno (Mistral, North) who won the women¹s wave and freestyle disciplines.

Despite a lack of wind during the closing days of the event the conditions

last week brought wild winds and spectacular competition. Gran Canaria

rarely fails to deliver the conditions and has once again asserted itself

as high performance windsurfing capitol of Europe.

In the men¹s freestyle Matt Pritchard (Gaastra, AHD) had to battle his

way

through three rounds of hi-wind action in order to earn his title here in

Pozo. Second place in freestyle went to Nik Baker (Mistral, North) of

England whilst seventeen-year-old Venezuelan sailor Ricardo Campello (JP,

Neil Pryde) took the remaining podium position. Last years Champion

Antoine Albeau (AHD, Neil Pryde) of France had to settle for seventh place

overall following a disastrous third round result, which ruined his chances.

MATT PRITCHARD

"I am pretty relieved. I have been on edge for the last twelve hours. I

was awake at 3 a.m. this morning looking out to see what the wind was up

to. I am stoked to winSit feels pretty good! I am just starting to get it

into my head"

NIK BAKER

"I am very pleased. I would have liked to have been in first place but

you

can¹t have it all. I have done well here in the freestyle before so I knew

in the windy stuff I could do OK. This year there were a lot of new young

kids and a lot of new tricks. I tried to keep consistent and I think

that¹s the reason why Matt won it, he was very consistent and sailed very

well. In the waves, to be honest, I did better than I thought I might do.

Even then I was a bit disappointed after I lost in the semis to Bjorn. It

was a split decision but stillSI am stoked!"

RICARDO CAMPELLO

"I am kind of happy. I wanted to have some more wind because I thought

that I could do better. I should be really happy with third. Now we will

go to Fuerte and see what happens there!"

Kevin Pritchard (Gaastra, Bic)), the younger of the two brothers earned

his victory in the waves after defeating Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Neil Pryde,

Proof) of Spain in the men¹s single elimination final. Held in 35 knots

of

wind and 3-4 feet waves Pritchard landed an explosive one armed,

one-legged back loop, which in the end proved to be the deciding factor.

The battle for the final podium position was won by Nik Baker (Mistral,

North) who defeated American wave specialist Josh Angulo in the men¹s

losers final.

KEVIN PRITCHARD

"I am pretty stoked! To win here in port tack Gran Canaria and beat Dunks

is pretty special. I think I might be celebrating a little bit tonight. It

is definitely one of my dreams to win here in GC. It is actually so far

fetched it wasn¹t even a dream. I usually come here to do my best but to

win it is very satisfying"

BJORN DUNKERBECK

"I¹m not happy with second, definitely not but under the circumstances

it

was a tight heat and I did not sail as good as I know I can. He only just

beat me so at least I can feel that if I sailed the way I know I can sail,

I would have had no problem winning. I have been hoping for a double

elimination to come back and get Kevin back but it never happened. What

can I say, of course I am not happy with second but it is better than

third in the end. I am glad we had we got a result, conditions were not as

good as they have been in previous years but that is the way it goes

sometimes. Next time I hope it will be better.

Now I am married I am not planning on slowing down at all. If anything I

am going to step up. It is a step up in life to get married. We are having

a little girl at the end of the year as well so that is also going to be a

change for sure. I am not planning on stopping any of my wave sailing

competition side or the OSearch¹ but will definitely have to organize

myself a bit better"

Twenty five year old Daida Moreno (Mistral, North) who finished the event

with a clean sweep in both women¹s disciplines has dedicated her victories

to her twin sister Iballa (Mistral, North). Iballa had to pull out of the

event after breaking her foot during training on the opening day of

action. Daida Moreno sealed the deal in the women¹s wave final by after

narrowly defeating archrival Karin Jaggi (F2, Arrows) of Switzerland. In

the losers final Dutch sailor Anne Marie Reichman (Naish boards, Naish

sails) clinched third place after defeating Colette Guadagnino (JP, Neil

Pryde) of Venezuela.

The women¹s freestyle saw three completed rounds which Daida Moreno

(Mistral, North) won with a convincing margin ahead of Karin Jaggi (F2,

Arrows) in second and Colette Guadagnino (JP, Neil Pryde) third. In the

second of the three finals Moreno landed an amazing clew first spock 540

in 35 knots of wind!

DAIDA MORENO

" I am very happy although I am sad my sister was unable to compete. The

operation went well and she is back home now. The wind for the freestyle

was super strongSI was overpowered on a 3.3m. The wave event was fun

although during the final it was hard to find the right ramps. We have a

week to recover now and then it¹s back to back to business next week in

Fuerte!"

Tonight the ten-day event will conclude at the Gloria Palace Hotel in San

Augustin. Traditionally sailors have been known to let their hair down and

party the night away. The PWA tour now moves over to the neighboring

island of Fuerteventura for a 65,000 Euros men¹s and women¹s freestyle

Grand Prix, which kicks off on the 26th July.