The PWA Lanzarote Freestyle and Super X Grand Slam Day 3
Round 3 of Freestyle discipline has gone off in fine style here in Lanzarote. Think of a move and it has probably been pulled off during the competition today - Spock, Spock 540, Switch Stance Spock 540, Clew First Spock, Willy Skipper, Chacho, Forward loop, Double Forward Loop, Switch Stance Chacho, Ponch, Flaka, Switch Stance Flaka, Grubby, Push Loop, Back loop, you get the idea! Along with these moves we also saw a bunch of other moves that either don't have names or are trademarks of certain sailors.
The day started with slightly less wind than in previous days and the swell had dropped off a touch creating a better arena for the freestyle discipline. As the day progressed the wind increased back up to 35 knots and the sailors were down to their 3.7m and 4.0 sails. Luckily for them though the swell stayed at a more manageable level with just the odd big set creeping in to the contest area allowing the sailors to unleash some big air and awesome rotations into their repertoire of radical sailing skills.
The early rounds saw the current ranking leaders stand out from the masses using good competition tactics, style and the latest maneuvers to advance without even breaking into a sweat. Other than the current top 4 sailors other standouts were Konan Lang (Naish), Tonky Frans (F2/Gaastra), Julien Taboulet (JP/Neil Pryde) and F85 Anthony Ruenes (Naish) who were all showing good form.
The UK's Robby Swift (JP/Neil Pryde) did not have the best of days dropping out of the action early, but one thing he did manage was to delight the crowds with a new move. Intentional or not, Robby landed a Shaka Push Loop! A what? While rotating through his trademark Shaka (an aerial upwind 360) he got caught by a wind shift combined with a big gust which sent him in to a do or die push loop. Swift hung on and landed pointing in the right direction. There is no name for it yet. Answers on a postcard please! Colin Sifferlen (Starboard) and Tonky Frans were throwing some different moves out on the water. Tonky was showing great style with his trademark double Spocks (yes a 720 spin)! Sifferlen was busting out T-Bones (a switch stance forward loop with extra half twist to land facing in the opposite direction from take off) a move popularized by UK sailor K 007 John Hibbard (Starboard).
As the day progressed it was clear that Ricardo (JP/Neil Pryde) was on a role and his cleanly landed double forwards were evidence of his competent style. Most sailors would leave this move to the end of their heat just to be safe, not Ricardo who could regularly be seen twisting double in the first few seconds of his heats.
By the quarter finals we had Konan Lang (Naish) v Diony Guadagnino (JP/Neil Pryde) and Tonky Frans v Kauli Seadi (AHD/Naish) in the top half of the draw and Julien Taboulet v Colin Sifferlen and Anthony Ruenes (Naish) v current leader Ricardo Campello in the bottom half of the draw.
Quarter final 1 saw Guadagnino land some clean Ponchs and Crazy Petes to take the win over Lang from Brazil. Kauli Seadi, who up until now has been one of the most consistent sailors on the water had a shaky start to his heat and never really found his form, getting frustrated at dropping some of his usually slick moves. This opened the door for smooth talking Caribbean stylist, Tonky Frans. While Seadi had a momentary lapse in consistency Frans was finding his feet and slid through all variations of moves using his double Spocks to full effect and advanced through to the semi final.
Quarter final 2 saw Julien Taboulet follow Frans' lead and after some ok performances over the last couple of days, stepped it up a gear and used his style and brute strength to muscle his way into the semi finals. He looked more surprised than anybody when he found out he was through! Campello was up against French teenage sensation and all round cheeky guy Ruenes. Campello was not leaving this heat to chance and he had obviously been watching the rise of Ruenes closely as the Brazilian launched into a perfect dry ankle double forward loop right on the green flag. Ruenes answered back but couldn't quite match the smoothness or radical sailing skill of the freestyle world Champion.
In the women's fleet it was going to be tough for the competitors to rattle the cages of Moreno and Jaggi. Daida Moreno (Mistral/North) has been showing good form so far and has cruised through her heats. Karin Jaggi (F2/Arrows) has also been stepping up her freestyle routine over the last couple of days. Nayra Alonso (Fanatic) and Silvia Orozco (Neil Pryde) are the two most likely sailors to challenge for the top spot. Alonso and Orozco met in the losers final and both sailors looped and Vulcaned their way through the windy 6-minute heat. Alonso had the edge today and cruised through to take 3rd place in today's elimination and consolidate her 3rd overall. Moreno was on fire and made short work of her 6 minute final against Jaggi who although sailing well landed a few less moves than Moreno and found herself in second with Moreno taking top honors. There is still everything to play for though as Karin could tie for first place overall if she beats Daida tomorrow..
The Semi final saw JP/Neil Pryde team mates Campello and Taboulet do battle for ranking points and sponsors glory while Guadagnino and Frans set about destroying the aqua blue Atlantic Ocean. Taboulet went for it but Campello went for it with bigger, faster and with more stylish moves. The 19 year old Brazilian freestyle guru was through to another final. Frans was really finding form out on the water and showed good skills to beat Guadagnino into the final.
The six-minute final saw 30 separate moves performed! 15 from Campello and 15 from Frans. The difference being that Campello landed 13 of his moves and Frans 10. Campello opened his heat in the usual style with a double forward loop followed by a Spock 540 then a single forward and then a one handed Spock. All this within one minute of the heat starting. Frans was looking good with clean Spocks and a high speed grubby. In the end it came down to who had the more radical and progressive routine. An honor that went to Campello for his diverse range of tricks, which included two Gonzadas (a back to sail, switch stance Spock 540!).
3rd place was taken by Taboulet who managed to out do Guadagnino who had to settle for 4th.
With Seadi's exit in the quarter finals the overall rankings had a mini shake up with Guadagnino climbing to 2nd and Seadi dropping to 3rd. Check out the full results on the links below.
Tomorrow sees the final day of Freestyle action here in Lanzarote. It is likely that a second double elimination will begin in the morning. Monday sees the start of the Super X discipline when speed, aggression and style will all play a part in the rankings. Keep your eyes on www.pwaworldtour.com for all the action as and when it happens here at the PWA Lanzarote Freestyle and Super X Grand Slam.