Sunshine Follows Rain

The first Official competition day of The 2003 Classic Toro Andaluz, PWA

Freestyle Qualifier has brought burning blue skies and light winds to

contrast with the torrential rain and cold weather that has befallen the

beautiful Spanish town of Tarifa in recent days.

This new addition to the PWA calendar sees the return of Professional

Windsurfing to one of the most famous windsurfing destinations in Europe.

Traditionally Tarifa, on the southern tip of Spain and just a few miles

from the North coast of Morocco, has played host to speed and slalom

competitions, but Tarifa as with so many locations, has now been caught up

in the Freestyle roller coaster that has enchanted so many windsurfing

spots around the world in recent years. The idyllic conditions and strong

winds have made Tarifa a veritable playground for tricksters and

exhibitionists across the globe.

The Classic Toro Andaluz is one of the oldest windsurfing events in Europe

and its rise to PWA Qualifier status in 2003 will see that maturity and

experience recognized with the attendance of many of the worlds top

Freestyle sailors.

In attendance this year will be last years PWA/Red Bull King of the Lake,

Colin Sifferlen (Starboard). The Jensen brothers, Vidar (North) and Orjan

(North, Proof). Pozo hotshots Jonas Ceballos Sanchez (Gaastra, Fanatic)

and Victor Fernandez (Fanatic). Venezuelan Dynamite Douglas CheoDiaz

(North, Fanatic) and Alexis Zaballa (North, Mistral)

Tarifa will also be the first qualifier event this year to host a womens

division, perhaps largely due to the enormous amount of female talent to

be found in Spain. Dominating the fleet are likely to be the seemingly

unbeatable Moreno twins, Daida and Iballa (North, Mistral).

The Old town of Tarifa is a labyrinth of shops, bars and restaurants that

can provide anything that the thrill seekers and fun lovers of the

windsurfing world could ask for. Whether it be a cozy romantic dinner or

riotous all night partying, Tarifa has the venue, the people and an

atmosphere that is difficult to beat.

The beach was packed with competitors and fans enjoying the sunshine and

getting warmed up for one of the many event parties planned for the coming

week. The sails were rigged, the boards readied with fins and foot straps,

so if only the flags would begin to fly, then the aquatic battle could

commence!!

And fly they did! At 17.00 the first heat took to the water with a good

side shore breeze having developed under a cloudless sky. After an initial

cancellation, the wind continued to build to allow competition to get

underway in earnest.

The early rounds saw the usual suspects pushing ahead with Sifferlen,

Sanchez and local freestyle guru Beat Steffan (North, Mistral) all moving

up into round 3. Notably joining them, with sterling performances in the

light conditions were rising UK star Andy Funnel (Arrows, F2), promising

Pozo regular Victor Fernandez and Czech sailor Ondrej Erban (Neil Pryde,

JP) who took out PWA regular Martin Van Geenhoven (North) to stay in the

game. Venezuela continued to show its potential for creating top Freestyle

talent, with both Diaz and Zaballa advancing to the 3rd round.

By the quarterfinals, the fleet had slimmed further; with Fernandez taking

out fellow Spaniard Christopher Ferraretto (AHD) and Funnel ending the

Czech charge by taking out Erban. The Jensen brothers held firm joined by

Diaz and Andre Paskowski (F2) from Germany. Also still in the fight were

Sifferlen and young French sailor Thomas Traversa who had seen off all

challenges so far with relative ease.

Fernandez showed the edge of experience to eliminate a struggling Funnel,

and Sifferlen was defeated by an incredibly fluid performance from

Traversa. Orjan Jensen held up the family name against Paskowski, whilst

brother Vidar bowed out to a seemingly unstoppable Diaz.

The 2 shining stars of the elimination, Traversa and Diaz, both triumphed

in their semi finals, to eventually come head to head in the winners final&.

Traversas amazingly liquid style shot him into the lead in the first

minute, but Diaz was just getting started. With an extraordinary

repertoire of new school moves he outclassed the young Frenchman to show

that his performance in Bonaire last year was no fluke. The centerpiece of

his victorious performance, was a switch stance, clew first, spock 540,

which left him head and shoulders above the competition.

Tomorrow will see the women take to the water for the first time and then,

after completion of the mens losers final, which was postponed this

evening, the men will roll straight into double elimination.