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Pozo/Gran Canaria 2003
[day 00] - 26.06.03

The wind is howling here in Gran Canaria on the eve of the first day of official action of the PWA, 2003 Grand Slam. A high-pressure system has established itself in the Atlantic Ocean bringing with it a strong northeasterly trade wind flow across the Canary Islands. With nuclear winds and the possibility of waves both on the menu for the next few days, it is highly likely that we will be kicking off the competition in style with spectacular wave action tomorrow morning.

Today, both men's and women's fleets have been busy with official registration and preparing their equipment for the next seven days of intense battle. With the outlook of screaming winds predicted, sailors will be reaching into their quiver bags for their smallest possible sails - 3.6m and below will most likely be the order of the day! Down on the beach amongst the infamous Pozo boulders sailors have done their best to build dugouts and erect shelters to fend off the intense sun and provide protection from the relentless winds. At the moment the Gran Canaria sponsorship flags are intact but no doubt by the end of the event they will be reduced to shreds where the screaming winds have literally torn them apart.

All eyes will be on the progress of Daida Moreno (North, Mistral) who has been granted a special wild card to compete in the men’s wave competition. Moreno is a formidable competitor here on her home waters although she will be facing Aussie wave guru Scottie Mckercher (Starboard) in her opening heat. No doubt McKercher will be under be under immense pressure, especially with Moreno ripping today and in a position where she has nothing to lose. Defeat of a male sailor by the women’s world champion will certainly not be embarrassing, but if a man does lose, he will be the subject of plenty of jokes from the rest of the men’s fleet!

With a mixture of experienced tour campaigners and rising young talent on the PWA wave tour the race for this years title is wide open. The likes of Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Proof), Kevin Pritchard (Gaastra, Starboard), Scott McKercher (Starboard) Josh Angulo, Jason Polakow (JP, Neil Pryde) and Vidar Jensen (North) have the advantage of experience and competition tactics but they will have to face the hungry new blood, which is threatening their hierarchy on the tour. Sailors such as Ricardo Campello (JP, Neil Pryde), John Skye (F2, Arrows), Kauli Seadi (AHD, Naish), Jonas Ceballos (Fanatic, Gaastra) and Robby Swift (JP, Neil Pryde) are leading the way in the charge of new sailors, with the latest moves and a new radical approach which is taking windsurfing into new extreme limits. Ricardo Campello busted out six or seven perfect double forwards in his warm up today - just a taster of what’s in store from the young guns!

Missing from the starting grid here in Pozo is Britain’s Nik Baker (Mistral, North) who is still recovering from a foot injury sustained in Tasmania at the beginning of the year. Nik flew into Pozo a few days ago to sail and see if his foot was ready to cope with competing in Gran Canarias arduous conditions. Unfortunately he has decided that he is not quite ready to for action and will fly back to the UK to continue his rehabilitation program.

Aussie Formula racing specialist Steve Allen (Fanatic, Neil Pryde) has taken a break from his busy race schedule to return to PWA wave action. For the last two years Steve has been focusing entirely on racing but has been enticed by the lure of high-level action to enter here in Pozo. Exchanging a 10.5m race sail for a 3.2m wave sail and a huge course board for a tiny wave board will be a hefty adjustment but Steve reckons he only needs one day of practice to tune into the conditions and be ready for competition. Renowned for his mind blowing table top forward loops and radical inverted push loops, if Steve could find his form, he could cause some major upsets in the opening rounds. He will face local jump specialist Orjan Jensen (North) in the first round tomorrow and will need to pull out all the stops facing such a formidable opponent.

The stage is all set here in Gran Canaria for the most exciting and spectacular event on the PWA world tour calendar. Tune into the web site www.pwaworldtour.com for all the latest news, pictures and results as the story unfolds.

Daida Moreno (Mistral, North)
I am not really worried about facing Scott, he should be the one worrying! Everybody says I have nothing to lose so this will just be fun for me. The conditions are looking good so I am going to sail my best - we will have to wait and see what happens!

Autor: pwa, Pix: Carter

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