Fuerteventura PWA World Cup and Super-X Exhibition Registration Day

Thursday July 17, 2003

A sure sign that the Fuerteventura PWA World Cup and Super-X Exhibition is

going to be one of the most competitive ever, is that all of the

professional windsurfers have been in non-stop training here in Sotavento

since the last PWA competition finished two weeks ago. Usually during the

break between these two mega events, the PWA sailors can be found relaxing

elsewhere, but this year their passions and priorities have changed.

It is probably because the Freestyle World Champion title is almost

certainly going to be won in 2003 by one of the 'young guns' who've been

so close to winning in recent years but have always been beaten by the

maturity and professionalism of hardened world tour sailors Antoine Albeau

(AHD / Neil Pryde), Matt Pritchard (Gaastra), Nik Baker (Mistral / North).

However, not only have all three of these threats have been eliminated

from this years title race through injury or in Albeau's case, a chance to

break the world speed record this week, they simply dont have the vitality

of youth which is leading this unstoppable wave of young freestylers.

The only real challenge left from the old guys is Vidar Jensen (North),

recent winner of the wave competition on his home turf at the Gran Canaria

Grand Slam. But the chances of him beating the phenomenal Ricardo Campello

(JP Australia / Neil Pryde) who convincingly won all three rounds of

Freestyle in Gran Canaria, has to be pretty slim this week. And the better

Ricardo does (who turned only eighteen yesterday), the more inspirational

he is to other youngsters too, of which there are many here hoping to kick

ass.

Brazil nut Kauli Seadi (Naish / Naish), Robby Swift (JP / Neil Pryde) and

Tonky Frans (AHD / Gaastra) are just a handful of other youngsters

seriously ready to win a world title.

In fact the qualifiers to get into Fuerteventura PWA Freestyle World Cup

has been dominated by teenagers. Judge of the trials, Julian Da Vall, was

amazed at the level of the newcomers and commented that many of them were

sailing better than the main fleet. The top seven sailors in the trials

now face the PWA sailors in what is set to be the most competitive event

of the year. Look out for Ben Proffitt K-800 (JP / Neil Pryde), Normen

G├╝nzlein G- 186 (Neil Pryde), Christiaan Dammers NB-115 (Starboard),

Matteo Guazzoni I-711, Kristoffer Living S-80 (AHD / North) and Frank

Lewisch AUT-19 (Gaastra) as they compete for a share of the Euro 75,000

prize fund.

The first PWA Super-X competition starts on July 22nd. Super-X is the

radical new discipline combining the speed of slalom racing and the

agility of freestyle posing such a threat to the safety of competitors it

is necessary for them to wear body amour and crash helmets. Whether the

tricksters or racers win this event remains to be seen!

The women have turned out in force here too with fourteen entries,

dominated by the Spanish and Austrians, with only current Freestyle World

Champion, Karin Jaggi (F2 / Arrows) from Switzerland, Polands Ania

Ostrowska, in her debut event, and Germanys Anne-Katherine Stevens

(Mistral / North) representing any other country.

Daida Moreno (Mistral / North) won the freestyle ahead of her sister

Iballa Moreno (Mistral / North) at the first event this year so the

challenge is on amongst the girls for the rest of this week, also with

many newcomers and teenagers in the fleet.

The 2003 Freestyle World Tour has never been more radical, creative and

competitive and Sotavento is one of the worlds leading freestyle venues.

The forecast for wind is fantastic so the stage is set for furious battles

over the next ten days! Watch this space for daily reports.