GRAN CANARIA VARGAS, AGUIMES PWA WAVE WORLD CUP 2003 DAY 4
Finally the weather gods are back on side, bringing us wind and waves and
the start of the 2003 PWA Wave World Cup in Vargas, Gran Canaria.
Competition started the moment the wind was strong enough, but the first
heat was quickly abandoned when none of the windsurfers were able to land
the two required jumps. The format was adjusted to better suit the light
winds with only one jump and two waves to count.
Jason Polokow (JP / Neil Pryde) made his come back debut convincingly
winning his heat against the young Englishman Andy Funnel (F2 / Arrows).
He’s won every World Cup event he’s been able to compete at in the last
two years, but due to a series of horrific injuries he’s not been able to
do enough events to get an overall ranking, or indeed take the World Wave
Champion title that he dominated in the mid nineties. Jason said "I’m
winging it here. My foot isn’t going to heal for a few years yet and I’m
on pain killers just to be able to sail."
Sure enough, since he’s been here he’s almost only sailed for the ten
minute duration of his heat, but that was enough to show the rest of the
PWA sailors and the judges that he’s still the man to look out for.
Another outstanding windsurfer today is fellow Australian Scott McKercher
(Starboard), who although doesn’t have to compete until the next round due
to his high placed seeding, was ripping and showing the PWA that he too
means business for 2003.
The second, third and fourth heats ran smoothly with no major upsets to
the highest ranking sailors challenged by the less experienced. Australian
Greg "Grubby" Allaway (JP / Neil Pryde) beat hot shot Luca Orsi (Neil
Pryde) from the neighboring island of Tenerife. And Dario Ojeda one of
Gran Canaria’s wildest and best wave sailors clearly showed the tourists
who’s boss round here beating the newcomer from Norway, Andre Andreassen.
Britain’s Tristan Boxford (Gaastra) and Robby Swift (JP / Neil Pryde) both
took honors but only due to their superior wave riding skills. 90 kilo
Tristan virtually only planed once going out and managed to just spin
around a low back loop to clock up a few points, whilst the lightweight
local who’d been tipped for the top, Regis Bouron, landed a massive back
loop to take an early lead in the heat. Tristan fought back though with a
couple of decent waves showing that his aggressive and dynamic riding
skills could see him beat even the most fearsome challenge.
Likewise Swifty disposed of Tonky Frans (AHD / Gaastra) also by showing
better wave riding skills. Both Tonky and Regis scored highest for overall
impression, but that paled into insignificance as riding waves scores more
points. No surprise in heat four, another Aussie took top honors! Luke
Walmsley (Starboard) beat the well trained Englishman Matt Pearch (Mistral
/ North) in tough conditions as the wind began to die.
Heat five was abandoned as the wind dropped but the clear leader was yet
another Australian Ty Bodycoat (Starboard). Team-mate Levi Siver
(Starboard) is rating Ty as having "sick turns" which in surfing jargon
about the highest praise.
Unfortunately a dark cloud moved over Gran Canaria and the PWA event here
in Vargas, putting both these entities into double jeopardy as the wind
By mid afternoon at high tide, the skies had cleared and the wind was back
at over twenty knots, and although the swell seemed to have increased, at
high tide in Vargas it wasn’t big enough to break far enough out for wave
sailors to do much wave riding, so the contest remained postponed.
The wave sailors who are shining through today were all on pretty big
boards to help maintain their speed throughout their turns. Because the
waves were only about shoulder high and moving slowly, they were pretty
weak, making it tricky to really surf them. Windsurfers were relying
almost only on the power from their sails and their own skills to keep
their boards moving quick enough to carve good turns and cutbacks in these
really challenging conditions.
Evidently today was a good day for the Aussies, but can they hold their
form tomorrow as the wind and swell forecast remains good?