Gran Canaria the popular holiday destination for European sunseakers is hosting
the opening regatta of the Professional Windsurfers Association (PWA) 2001 World
Tour. Sixty-six wave sailors – the sport’s international elite and local challengers
have gathered for a Wave Grand Prix that will run until April 20th. Both the
reigning Overall Wave Champion, Argentinean Francisco Goya and the former titleholder,
Spain’s Bjorn Dunkerbeck are competing. Both are under the spotlight. For Francisco,
it’s his first defence and for Bjorn, he’ll be competing in home waters for
the first time since losing his crown. This is also the first opportunity for
Dunkerebck to compete using Proof boards. The 13 times World Champion left his
long-term sponsor F2 at the end of last season.

Gran Canaria is an old favourite for the tour and has become famous over the
years for its nuclear winds. This is the first time Vargas has played host to
the World Tour and is the first of two wave events to be held in Gran Canaria
this year. Today the wind gradually filled in throughout the day but never really
built up to the necessary strength needed for competition.

The first contest of any season always presents it’s own special challenge
to sailors after the winter break, even more so when it is held at a brand new
venue. Despite the wind and waves not delivering the goods most of the sailors
were still tempted to get wet and use the opportunity for some last minute practice.

Matt Pritchard was one of the first to take to the water and is back competing
after nearly a year out of action following an ankle injury sustained in Gran
Canaria last year. He will be eager to get back to the top and challenge his
younger brother Kevin Pritchard who took the Overall World Title in his absence
last season. Other names to watch out for here in Vargas are Nik Baker, Peter
Voltwater, Levi Siver, Vidar Jensen and Josh Stone. All are hungry to challenge
Goya for the wave title.

The forecast for the rest of the week is looking excellent and winds up to
force eight are expected over the weekend.

"I am looking forward to competing for sure. I am glad we did not compete
today because the conditions were not the best. On the first day we are usually
just getting tuned in to the conditions. I have been practising hard for this
event and done everything I can to prepare. The guys I am watching out for are
Josh Stone, Bjorn and Levi Siver. They are the ones who can put the package
together and needed to win the event"



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