The 2004 Fuerteventura PWA Freestyle and Super X Grand Slam Day 3
Another windy day welcomed the windsurfing hordes to Sotavento this
morning ready for the start of the second round of Freestyle here at the
2004 Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam. Going into round 2, Ricardo Campello
(JP, Neil Pryde) and Daida Moreno (Mistral, North) were sitting pretty at
the top of the event ranking, having eliminated all competition in the
first 2 days, putting them in an almost unassailable position for the
event win. There was however, no shortage of believers ready to rise to
the challenge of tackling the two at the top.
The standard of Freestyle has risen dramatically over recent years and
Sotavento provides the finest arena for the best in the world to really
showcase that improvement. Twelve months ago we were seeing an influx of
switch stance and clew first moves, for 2004 we are now seeing a whole new
range of tricks including the Air Chacho – basically a forward loop during
which the rider ducks the sail in mid air, half way through the rotation
and lands clew first; the Air Flaka – a standard 360 degree horizontal
rotation into wind, performed entirely in the air; and the Gozzada – a
move that is initiated from a position of sailing switch-stance and back
to sail before going into a Spock 540!! With creative moves like this
permeating the existing abundance of tricks, it is a very exciting time in
Freestyle Windsurfing. For those in need of assistance in understanding
these maneuvers, check Dr Beat’s Windsurfing Kamasutra DVD, at
The preliminary heats of the second elimination contained their usual
amount of upset. By the time the men had been reduced to the top sixteen
there were a few shining stars of the first 2 days missing from the
lineup. Antony Ruenes (Naish) fell by the wayside to UK’s Ben Proffitt
(JP, Neil Pryde) and Kevin Mevissen (JP, Neil Pryde) was narrowly
eliminated by Martin Van Geenhoven.
When another 8 men were gone, Tonky Frans (F2, Gaastra) was nowhere to be
seen after coming up against a much improved Robby Swift (JP, Neil Pryde)
and neither was Diony Guadagnino (Neil Pryde) after his on the water
confrontation with Kauli Seadi (AHD, Naish). Taking their places in the
top 8 were Proffitt and Norman Günzlein (JP, Neil Pryde) who were having a
great day so far.
Douglas “Cheo” Diaz (Fanatic, North) was back on form again, and wasted no
time in taking out the other Frans brother Taty (Starboard, Gaastra). That
left him facing Seadi in the semi final. Proffitt’s run of luck finally
ran out in the face of Günzlein and World Champion Campello stopped Remko
De Weerd (Fanatic, Gaastra) in his tracks to make up the final four.
The semis were an interesting blend of refined South American talent and
raw amateur German enthusiasm. Cheo and Seadi were pushing the limits
trying to outdo each other but in the end pushing too hard as Seadi outdid
himself, falling frequently and letting the Venezuelan into the final.
Günzlein looked pretty impressive, nearly landing a Gozzada, and would
have deserved to have won against many of the higher ranked competitors,
but not against Campello. The World Number 1 let fly with another barrage
of Gozzadas, Ponch’s and Switch Stance maneuvers that left the German
floundering in his wake. The final would be all Venezuelan.
In the ladies side of the contest, it was no surprise to see Moreno joined
in the quarter finals by Karin Jaggi (F2, Arrows), Nayra Alonso (Fanatic)
and Sylvia Alba (Neil Pryde). Jaggi seemed to have given the previous two
days competition some serious thought, and attacked the today’s contest
with renewed vigor. All four girls Spocked and jumped their way to the
final, but Jaggi was looking stronger than ever, even landing Flakas on
the way to her inevitable showdown with Moreno
The wind had picked up a little by the time the two giants of women’s
windsurfing joined battle and both were maxed out as the final began.
Moreno opened with a Forward Loop followed by a Spock but went down hard
on the landing. Jaggi also crashed her first Spock attempt, as Moreno
planed cleanly through another on the outside of the course. It was
obvious that they knew there as no holding back and they pushed the limits
hard in he strong winds. Both girls went for their flagship maneuver, the
Flaka, but both fell again. Jaggi tried two Grubbies at full speed but
again did not have enough control over the chop to slide through them.
The fight was so intense that at one point Jaggi nearly collided with
Moreno whilst blasting downwind, clew first looking for her next trick.
Close to the end of the heat, Moreno ducked the sail to go clew first and
after briefly wrestling to control her equipment, planed powerfully
through a clew first Spock, a technical move that guaranteed her the edge.
In the end there was no dispute as the judges once more awarded victory to
The men’s final was a match up of two of the most naturally talented
Freestylers on the PWA Tour. Both from Venezuela and both under twenty
years old, Ricardo Campello and Douglas “Cheo” Diaz found themselves face
to face for the third time this contest. The green flag went up and the
ensuing melee was some of the hottest Freestyle action ever to be seen.
Cheo landed exceptional moves including Switch Stance Flaka 180’s but fell
on some of the simpler aspects of his repertoire. Campello also had his
share of mishap crashing his first Gozzada attempt and his previously
secret new move that has not even been named yet. In keeping with
tradition though, he waltzed through his second Gozzada as well as landing
a high Shaka to leave his fellow countryman in second place by a 4 – 1
decision of the judges.
Tomorrow will bring the final Freestyle action in this year’s
Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam, before the Super X starts on Thursday.
Moreno and Campello have done enough to secure their Freestyle win but the
race for second place is still very much alive behind them.