Fuerteventura PWA Super-X Exhibition Day 1

Super-X rocks the PWA Tour!

The world premiere of the new Super-X windsurfing discipline proved to be

an epic spectacle and competition format, and the expected dangers that

necessitated body amour and crash helmets proved to be vital during the

high impact wipeouts and collisions.

In eight man heats competitors had to beach start, blast out to sea

jumping over two inflatable obstacles, duck gybe around a buoy, forward

loop on the way back to the beach, duck gybe round another buoy, complete

an upwind 360 or flaka before another duck gybe, and a spock and another

jump over another obstacle on the way back to the finish line.

Heats lasted about three minutes and every sailor wiped out at least once

per heat, partly because in winds gusting over forty knots they were using

between 4.5 and 6m sails on their standard freestyle boards and traveling

at speeds up to 60 kph! With all the chaos and wake from the other sailors

around the gybes, most sailors crashed here on at least one occasion; much

to the delight of the spectators and fellow windsurfers who were ecstatic

about Super-X combining freestyle and slalom.

Some of the most hair-raising action was just after the start when racing

at about 50 kph sailors had to jump over the two inflatable obstacles only

seconds apart. Kauli Seadi (AHD / Naish) explained I was lining up with a

piece of chop to launch me over the buoy, but then I had to swerve upwind

to avoid another sailor and I no longer had a ramp! I had to just bounce

over the buoy catching my fin and so nearly crashing!He was one of very

few sailors who didnt wipe out over the obstacles but in the first round

hardly managed a duck gybe (which is kind of ironic considering he can do

air cha-chas and other mega stunts!)

I think Super-X is a really, really good idea, and the spectators can see

who wins instantly, unlike in freestyle. But its so funny how nobody can

duck gybe!Kauli was the master of the running beach start today,

accelerating in most of his heats to a huge lead even by the first mark

and after three rounds today lies in second place overall.

Robby Swift (JP / Neil Pryde), current PWA Freestyle World Tour leader

said, This is radical! But its really scary with eight other people around

you doing forward loops!Unfortunately Swifty seriously crashed and burned

out of competition today with torn ligaments, but not before he showed his

potential lying fourth overall after two rounds, with blistering speed and

all the tricks.

Ricardo Campello (JP / Neil Pryde) probably had the worst starts of

anyone, yet his smooth moves and planing forward loops pulled him into two

finals, in fact in one semi final the 70 kilo skinny Brazilian over took

the 95 kilo giant Frenchman Antoine Albeau (AHD / Neil Pryde) for speed!

In one of his forward loops he spun so fast his crash helmet was whipped

off spinning about fifteen meters high into the air!

All was going to plan for Ricardo, but a collision with Britains John Skye

(F2 / Arrows) when Skyboy landed a forward loop almost on top of Ricardo

totally wiped him out! Skyboy enters history books today receiving the

first disqualification for dangerous sailing of the Super-X discipline.

Being a new format, no one new who was going to be the favorite to win.

Would it be a young gun from freestyle background or someone with a racing

pedigree?

By the end of the first finals, in first place was the oldest, heaviest

sailor, weighing in at 95 kilos using a 5.7m sail, and in second place was

the youngest, lightest sailor at only 60 kilos on a 4.5m! So it wasnt

until the day progressed that any particular favorites were shining through!

After three rounds a master was found though, Antoine Albeau, the 2001 PWA

Freestyle World Champion and one the worlds most successful racers was on

fire with Super-X. Winning most of his heats comfortably and both the

first two finals using his extra speed and racing line around the corners.

In the third final though as he jumped the inflatable with the pack hot on

his heels, Albeau took a huge catapult then almost got run over by seven

other sailors, swerving in all directions to avoid him. Antoine leads over

all after three rounds with an incredible two firsts and a second place,

but his lead is far from secure as the competition format or conditions

could easily switch to be more freestyle orientated tomorrow.

Australias Greg Allaway (JP / Neil Pryde) and Skyboy were the only two

other sailors (apart from Kauli and Antoine) to make every final and now

lie in fourth and fifth respectively.

But a big star of the day is sixteen year old Venezuelan Douglas Diaz

(Fanatic / North), who is the very opposite of the assumed average build

of a slalom racer weighing only 60 kilos. Clocking up 2nd, 5th and 9th

places today with smooth flakas at full speed and all the other stunts,

Diaz stunned everyone with his performance and the very likable kid had a

heros welcome to the beach by his mates after his second place result! He

lies in third overall behind Kauli who was absolutely ripping with this

format and is definitely one of the favorites to win overall.

The forecast for wind is fantastic, so watch this space for all the bump

and grind in Super-X tomorrow.