The 2004 Fuerteventura PWA Freestyle and Super X Grand Slam Day 4
Streaks of fine white and licked over the beach at Sotavento carried by strong early morning winds. With the full wrath of the wind gods blasting across Fuerteventura, the scene was set for hardcore action on the last day of the Freestyle section of this year's Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam.
The battle for first place was already decided following yesterday's single elimination, in which Ricardo Campello (JP, Neil Pryde) and Daida Moreno (Mistral, North) both triumphed over all comers securing their place in the number 1 spot. The race for second place was still very much alive however and by the time the early heats had sifted the men from the boys, the remainder of the ladder was stacked with potential winners all hoping to improve their standing.
Kevin Mevissen (JP, Neil Pryde) had failed to fulfill his early promise, bombing out of the second single elimination in his first heat. Tonky Frans (F2, Gaastra) had also exited the single in the early rounds, falling well short or his second place in the first elimination. Unfortunately for Mevissen, Tonky stood squarely in the path of Mevissen's comeback, an obstacle that the young Dutchman could not pass.
Robby Swift (JP, Neil Pryde) and Taty Frans (Starboard, Gaastra) were also on the fast track to contest recovery and also heading straight for each other on a collision course that could have only one survivor. Swift was much more the man that dominated last years contest, but the flamboyant Frans just had an edge of perfection in his moves that finished the hopes of the UK's finest.
After rapidly dispatching Ben Proffitt (JP, Neil Pryde), Tonky moved forward to take on Remko De Weerd (Fanatic, Gaastra). De Weerd, a veritable freestyle guru, contorted his body though moves that wee almost impossible to follow, but they were not enough to outdo the sheer power and speed of Tonky who Spocked and Flaka'd his way through to the next round.
Yesterdays shock fourth place, Normen Günzlein (JP, Neil Pryde) was no match for Taty and he was forced to accept fifth as the kid from Bonaire moved forward yet further to the quarter finals. Tonky meanwhile was still in the running to possibly even tie with Campello for first when he came up against Kauli Seadi (AHD, Naish). Seadi had much to play for in order to keep Campello in his sights for the Overall Freestyle title and would not be taken easily. With his usual array of switch stance and clew first antics, Seadi psyched out Frans enough to leave him at the quarter final stage.
With three men left standing, round 2 could have easily gone to any one of them. First of all however, Diaz had to face Seadi to decide who would take on the might of Campello. Both the South Americans were obviously hungry for their shot at victory, and once more they each traded Spock for Spock, Flaka for Flaka and forced their equipment through positions that could never have been imagined when the sport was invented. Diaz reveled in the conditions and, as usual, looked like he was just out there having fun, smiling all the way through the heat - especially when the result was announced. Once again, the final would be an all Venezuelan affair.
On the women's side, there was no one more fired up to avenge her so far below par results, than Karin Jaggi (F2, Arrows). But before she would have that chance she would have to face the best of the rest who would in turn have fought their way up to meet her. In stark contrast to her first round position, Natascha Petersmann from South Africa, found herself in the top six, to face Sylvia Alba (Neil Pryde) whilst Nayra Alonso (Fanatic) went head to head with Yolanda "Yoli" Freites De Brendt (Fanatic, North) all four looking for a place in the quarter finals.
Alonso and Alba have both shown great improvement in the last twelve months and their Vulcans and Spocks stood them in good stead to fight off the challenges from Petersmann and Yoli to meet each other in the quarters. Both girls fought hard for a chance to tackle Jaggi, but it was the high wind talent, bred in the waters of Gran Canaria that carried favor with the judges and gave Alonso her shot at glory. Jaggi however was having none of it. The former World Champion opened fire with both barrels, Spocks, Grubbies, Clew First Spocks; the barrage was relentless! Jaggi faced Daida Moreno in the final once more.
With Alonso out, Moreno was assured of the event win, but Jaggi was ready to rumble. The final opened with Forward Loops from both girls followed by a Spock from Daida, but she fell hard, overpowered on too big a sail. Jaggi pushed the pace and would obviously not quit, Moreno landed a Back Loop, but immediately after Jaggi countered with a great Flaka on the way out giving her the win and forcing a rematch.
Second time around, the girls were better prepared and Moreno looked more confident. Unusually for the World Champion she fell on her first two moves whilst Jaggi struggled successfully through a Clew First Spock. Both girls splashed down on their Flaka attempts and Moreno looked as though she may have sewn up the second round as she unleashed her secret weapon, the Ponch, a move that none of the other girls are doing. Unfortunately there were no happy landings and again she found herself swimming. Jaggi had achieved what had seemed impossible and clawed victory back in the second round.
The men's final was a battle of great rivals and also great friends. Diaz and Campello laughed together as they left the beach, but neither was taking any prisoners. Campello, cool and self assured knowing he had won the event, let Cheo lead the dance. For every move that Diaz pulled, Campello copied only one handed. Forward Loop for Diaz, One Handed Forward for Campello. Clew First Spock 540, the same one handed for the World Champion. It was an incredible display of complacency, but in this case a deserved one. As the heat progressed, Campello moved further ahead finally completing his new move "The Spanky" complemented by an Air Chacho and Air Flaka to really seal the deal.
Campello and Moreno have really made their mark on Freestyle in '04 and with 2 event wins in the bag they are looking very strong to renew their respective World Championships. For that they will have to wait until next month when the Freestyle tour concludes in Pozo in August.
As for Fuerteventura however, the event now moves into Super X, probably the most radical and exciting new discipline on tour. Antoine Albeau (AHD, Neil Pryde) is leading the rankings, closely followed by Cyril Moussilmani (Fanatic) and Robby Swift (JP, Neil Pryde). With three events already completed, all eyes are on the final here in Fuerteventura to see who will become the first PWA Super X World Champion.