The PWA Lanzarote Freestyle and Super X Grand Slam Day 4
After 4 days of intense competition the sailors would be required to contest the rankings one more time. After a quiet night relaxing in the Sand Beach Resort Apartments the sailors were at the beach early preparing to do battle for the final time.
The day dawned cloudy here in Lanzarote, which according to the locals would herald a day of good wind. They were right and by 11.30am the cloud had been replaced by wall to wall sunshine and strong winds. The swell was back and mast high sets were crashing down over the outside reef.
The second Double elimination started straight after the skippers meeting. Robby Swift (JP/Pryde) was going to have to pull some consistent performances out of the bag if he was to make up for his early defeats in the other rounds. Right from the word go it was obvious that he was on a mission and made short work of his first opponent, fellow countryman Phil Horrocks he then moved on and cruised to victories over Jonas Ceballos ( Fanatic/Gaastra), Dutch freestyle guru Remko De Weerd (Fanatic/Gaastra), Jose Estredo (Fanatic/North) from Venezuela and Colin Sifferlen (Starboard),who had done so well in the earlier eliminations. Swifty was taking no prisoners and seemed to be unstoppable. His next heat was against French whiz kid Ruenes (Naish) who had been putting in some strong performances over the past days and was going to present a major opponent for the Swift. Swifty was on fire though and with a mix of Spocks, Grubbys, Flakas and Shakas he advanced to the next heat. He had now made his way from the first round of the double to win 6 consecutive heats and wasn't going to go out without a fight. His next heat was against Diony Guadagnino (Neil Pryde) who had been showing exceptional form here in Lanzarote. The sailors went at it, move for move and when Swift pulled ahead Guadagnino would answer back with some solid trickery. In the end Guadagnino was the sailor that most impressed the judges and advanced through to the next round leaving swift disappointed to lose but at the same time happy he had made up some ground in the overall rankings.
As the day progressed the wind increased and most sailors were using their 3.5m - 4.0m sails to control the gale force winds.
In the Women's fleet we were expecting a Jaggi (F2/Arrows) v Moreno (Mistral/North) sail off in the final and we weren't disappointed. Some interesting duals were also taking place lower down the rankings though with Polish sailor Ania Ostrowska advancing through her heats with clean Vulcan's and smooth forward loops. Ania is one of the smallest sailors on the tour and despite suffering a badly bruised arm during the first day of competition she came back fighting to place 3rd in this final round of eliminations. Who knows what she could have achieved if she was sailing at full strength from the beginning? Moreno v Jaggi was always going to be a fight to the death, with both sailors capable of a win. Jaggi was sailing really well pulling of a string of Spocks and Grubbys in her earlier heat. Moreno had been warming up on the outside of the reef and when the green flag was raised she opened a arsenal of awesome maneuvers, her one handed forwards and sweet table top forwards were amazing and really showed that Daida Moreno is one hell of a competitor. Jaggi fought hard but Moreno fought that little bit harder and landed a perfect clew first Spock 3 seconds from the end of the heat. Moreno took the win of this last elimination as well as for the event. Jaggi has finished 2nd overall and Nayra Alonso (Fanatic) 3rd. Ania Ostrowska has climbed to 5th just behind Silvia Orozco in 4th.
Back to the men and while Swift was battling against Guadagnino, Kauli Seadi (AHD/Naish) was on a similar come back mission after losing in the quarter finals yesterday. Seadi was the picture of coolness and composure as he landed move after move against Julien Taboulet (JP/Neil Pryde) -yesterdays 3rd place finisher. Seadi advanced and was to come up against Guadagnino. The winner of this heat would advance to meet yesterdays 2nd place finisher Tonky Frans (F2/Gaastra) and, somewhat more importantly the winner of this Seadi/Guadagnino heat would also take 2nd place in the overall rankings. With so much at stake the sailors entered the water with plenty of time to position themselves ready for the start of the heat. Seadi stayed close to the judge's position and made sure his score sheet was being filled with the latest most technical maneuvers. Guadagnino was going for it but dropped a few crucial moves during the 6 minute dual. Seadi was the victor and advanced to meet Frans in the semi final.
After Frans' stylish performance yesterday it was going to be a close fight between 2 of the world's top freestyle gurus. Frans sailed a textbook heat landing the majority of his aerial maneuvers and delighting the crowds with his effortless looking Spocks and Flakas. Seadi was hugging the shallow water in order to be best positioned for the judges and at one point he sailed a bit too close to the shore and spocked his board straight over a rock. Performing as the commentator put it, a "Rock Spock"! Frans came through to take the victory leaving Seadi in 2nd place for the event and unable to contest Campello for the event win.
With the winner of the freestyle discipline here in Lanzarote now decided, the final of this double elimination was, for Campello a chance to bust out his special tricks and for Frans it was an opportunity to improve his overall ranking.
It was almost a carbon copy of yesterdays final with both sailors attempting 15 maneuvers each. This time Campello landed 10 and Frans 13. But it was Campello with his own brand of radical sailing skills that was to take the victory. With 4 switch stance maneuvers in the heat Campello edged ahead of Frans who although sailing amazingly well didn't quite have the variety of the young Brazilian.
So that was it, Campello 1st Seadi 2nd and Guadagnino 3rd. Frans had managed to climb up to 4th with two days of exceptional sailing nudging Sifferlen in to 4th.
A great 4 days of action here in Lanzarote. But it isn't over yet as Monday sees the start of the Super X discipline. Will Antoine Albeau (AHD/Neil Pryde) be able to stay at the top of the rankings or will Cyril Moussilmani (Fanatic) continue his charge and take the top spot. Watch out for the Pritchard brothers who are experienced racers. Matt Pritchard (Gaastra) showed great speed and control at the first event of the year in France and Kevin Pritchard (Starboard/Gaastra), competing in his first Super X competition is a speed demon and ex racing world champion so could well upset the established order.