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19|07|2002      2002 Pozo Gran Canaria PWA Grand Slam - It's A Family Affair -> Pritchards Do The Double!

[DAY TEN] It's A Family Affair - Pritchards Do The Double!

Friday July 19, 2002

It¹s a Pritchard double here at the Gran Canaria, 2002, PWA Grand Slam. The wind failed to blow today meaning Kevin Pritchard (Gaastra, Bic) has been confirmed as the winner of the men¹s wave competition and Matt Pritchard (Gaastra, AHD) has taken the number one slot in men¹s freestyle. No competition today also meant a double victory for Pozo local Daida Moreno (Mistral, North) who won the women¹s wave and freestyle disciplines.

Despite a lack of wind during the closing days of the event the conditions last week brought wild winds and spectacular competition. Gran Canaria rarely fails to deliver the conditions and has once again asserted itself as high performance windsurfing capitol of Europe.

In the men's freestyle Matt Pritchard (Gaastra, AHD) had to battle his way through three rounds of hi-wind action in order to earn his title here in Pozo. Second place in freestyle went to Nik Baker (Mistral, North) of England whilst seventeen-year-old Venezuelan sailor Ricardo Campello (JP, Neil Pryde) took the remaining podium position. Last years Champion Antoine Albeau (AHD, Neil Pryde) of France had to settle for seventh place overall following a disastrous third round result, which ruined his chances.

"I am pretty relieved. I have been on edge for the last twelve hours. I was awake at 3 a.m. this morning looking out to see what the wind was up to. I am stoked to win - it feels pretty good! I am just starting to get it into my head"

"I am very pleased. I would have liked to have been in first place but you can't have it all. I have done well here in the freestyle before so I knew in the windy stuff I could do OK. This year there were a lot of new young kids and a lot of new tricks. I tried to keep consistent and I think that¹s the reason why Matt won it, he was very consistent and sailed very well. In the waves, to be honest, I did better than I thought I might do. Even then I was a bit disappointed after I lost in the semis to Bjorn. It was a split decision but still - I am stoked!"

"I am kind of happy. I wanted to have some more wind because I thought that I could do better. I should be really happy with third. Now we will go to Fuerte and see what happens there!"

Kevin Pritchard (Gaastra, Bic), the younger of the two brothers earned his victory in the waves after defeating Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Neil Pryde, Proof) of Spain in the men¹s single elimination final. Held in 35 knots of wind and 3-4 feet waves Pritchard landed an explosive one armed, one-legged back loop, which in the end proved to be the deciding factor. The battle for the final podium position was won by Nik Baker (Mistral, North) who defeated American wave specialist Josh Angulo in the men¹s losers final.

"I am pretty stoked! To win here in port tack Gran Canaria and beat Dunks is pretty special. I think I might be celebrating a little bit tonight. It is definitely one of my dreams to win here in GC. It is actually so far fetched it wasn¹t even a dream. I usually come here to do my best but to win it is very satisfying"

"I¹m not happy with second, definitely not but under the circumstances it was a tight heat and I did not sail as good as I know I can. He only just beat me so at least I can feel that if I sailed the way I know I can sail, I would have had no problem winning. I have been hoping for a double elimination to come back and get Kevin back but it never happened. What can I say, of course I am not happy with second but it is better than third in the end. I am glad we had we got a result, conditions were not as good as they have been in previous years but that is the way it goes sometimes. Next time I hope it will be better.

Now I am married I am not planning on slowing down at all. If anything I am going to step up. It is a step up in life to get married. We are having a little girl at the end of the year as well so that is also going to be a change for sure. I am not planning on stopping any of my wave sailing competition side or the Search, but will definitely have to organize myself a bit better"

Twenty five year old Daida Moreno (Mistral, North) who finished the event with a clean sweep in both women¹s disciplines has dedicated her victories to her twin sister Iballa (Mistral, North). Iballa had to pull out of the event after breaking her foot during training on the opening day of action. Daida Moreno sealed the deal in the women¹s wave final by after narrowly defeating archrival Karin Jaggi (F2, Arrows) of Switzerland. In the losers final Dutch sailor Anne Marie Reichman (Naish boards, Naish sails) clinched third place after defeating Colette Guadagnino (JP, Neil Pryde) of Venezuela.

The women's freestyle saw three completed rounds which Daida Moreno (Mistral, North) won with a convincing margin ahead of Karin Jaggi (F2, Arrows) in second and Colette Guadagnino (JP, Neil Pryde) third. In the second of the three finals Moreno landed an amazing clew first spock 540 in 35 knots of wind!

" I am very happy although I am sad my sister was unable to compete. The operation went well and she is back home now. The wind for the freestyle was super strong - I was overpowered on a 3.3m. The wave event was fun although during the final it was hard to find the right ramps. We have a week to recover now and then it¹s back to back to business next week in Fuerte!"

Tonight the ten-day event will conclude at the Gloria Palace Hotel in San Augustin. Traditionally sailors have been known to let their hair down and party the night away. The PWA tour now moves over to the neighboring island of Fuerteventura for a 65,000 Euros men¹s and women¹s freestyle Grand Prix, which kicks off on the 26th July.

[DAY NINE] We are back on standby here

Thursday July 18, 2002
We are back on standby here on the penultimate day of the Gran Canaria PWA 2002 Grand Slam. The wind in Pozo this afternoon was too light for any official action and the competition is now all set to go down to the wire tomorrow. The forecast is looking promising although the likelihood of any more wave action is slim.

The battle for the men's freestyle pole position has boiled down to a shoot out between Matt Pritchard (Gaastra, AHD), Nik Baker (North Mistral) Ricardo Campello (JP, Neil Pryde), Jonas Ceballos (Gaastra, Fanatic) and Antoine Albeau (Neil Pryde, AHD). Pritchard is currently holding number one slot but any of the closing pack could clinch victory if the wind blows tomorrow.

In the women's freestyle Daida Moreno (Mistral, North sails) looks set to take victory and the race for the other podium slots is between Karin Jaggi (F2, Arrows), Colette Guadagnino (JP, Neil Pryde) and Anne Marie Reichman (Naish boards, Naish sails).

Tomorrow evening the event will conclude with the closing ceremony at the Gloria Palace Hotel in San Augustin. After ten days of grueling competition the night traditionally turns into a huge party. Holidays Bar is the first stop for most sailors followed by a trip into the infamous Pit, a mass of bars and nightclubs where the scene rages all night long.

[DAY EIGHT] With winds gusting between 15 and 20 knots it was a whole new ball game

Wednesday July 17, 2002

We are back in action here at the Gran Canaria PWA 2002 Grand Slam. This afternoon the wind picked up enough to allow ten heats of the fourth round of freestyle to be completed. By 5.30pm conditions became too gusty to continue and competition was abandoned.

With winds gusting between 15 and 20 knots it was a whole new ball game on the water today when compared to the opening three days of 40-knot ballistic freestyle action. Instead of 3.3m sails and wave boards, sailors were competing on 5.3m to 6.m sails and larger dedicated freestyle boards. The sailors that made it through to the third round today were Victor Fernandez (Fanatic), Antoine Albeau (Neil Pryde, AHD) Richard Foster (Fanatic, Naish), Matt Pritchard (Gaastra, AHD), Klaas Voget (Arrows Fanatic), Robby Swift (JP, Neil Pryde), Kauli Seadi (Naish boards, Naish sails) and Ricardo Campello (JP, Neil Pryde).

Jonas Ceballos (Fanatic, Gaastra) who is currently in fourth place overall failed to advance today but under the dingle elimination system will have a second chance to make the third round. Also failing to make it through were John Skye (F2, Arrows), Peter Volwater (F2, Arrows) and Diony Guadignino (JP,Neil Pryde).

With only two days of official competition remaining the forecasts are pointing towards a return to freestyle over waves. Matt Pritchard (Gaastra, AHD) of California is still holding pole position after three rounds and today sailed a steady heat to keep him self on track to defend his position.

Matt Pritchard
³I feel no pressure, there is nothing I can do about the wind so I am just focussing on trying to win the next round. That is the bottom line. I could hope and pray for no wind but that doesn¹t really do any good. If we go, my aim is to win the next round and put the icing on the cake!²

The fourth round of freestyle is vitally important to both men¹s and women¹s fleets as it brings a discard into play. Last years freestyle champion, Antoine Albeau who is back in seventh position overall is currently holding a 24.5 in his results. As it stands Albeau will have to make the final of the fourth round in order to win here in Gran Canaria. Also in the running foe the top slot are Nik Baker (North, Mistral) Ricardo Campello (JP, Neil Pryde) and Jonas Ceballos (Gaastra, Fanatic).

In the women¹s freestyle Daida Moreno (Mistral, North) is looking favourite to win. Karin Jaggi (F2, Arrows), Colette Guadignino (JP, Neil Pryde) and Anne Marie Reichman (Naish boards, Naish sails) are all in the fight for the other podium positions.

The stage is all set for a riveting climax to the Gran Canaria 2002 PWA Grand Slam. It looks like we will have two more possible rounds of freestyle but the wind here in Gran Canaria makes its own rules so never discount the possibility for more wave action!

[DAY SEVEN] A Rare Day On The Shores Of Pozo Izquierdo

Tuesday July 16, 2002

We are still on hold here at the PWA Gran Canaria, 2002 Grand Slam. The nuclear winds of Pozo wind have currently deserted us but look set to return before the end of the competition. This morning the sponsorship flags at the contest site were barely fluttering in the wind, even the huge fans, which surround the event site had stopped turning. This time of year in Pozo it is a rare event to have less than 30 knots plus! By mid afternoon the breeze picked up and some sailors took to the water but conditions never quite picked up to the levels required for official action.

Lacking competition sailors have been relaxing in Pozo¹s town. Café Cutre and the Bar de Ola have apparently been doing a roaring trade with their specialty bocadillos. Day seven has been a chance for recreation and relaxation although the sailors are well aware that here in Pozo it could be blowing 50 knots within 48-hours.

With three days still remaining of the competition there are still plenty of scores to be settled. Last years winner Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Proof, Neil Pryde) who is currently lying in second place of the men's wave competition will be hungry to get his revenge over arch rival Kevin Pritchard (Bic, Gaastra) who beat him in the single elimination final. The big man from Spain who recently married here in Gran Canaria is celebrating his 33rd birthday today. July 16th is also the birthday for young Ricardo Campello (JP, Neil Pryde) of Venezuela. Campello who is seventeen today has performed brilliantly here in Gran Canaria and is holding third position after three rounds of men's freestyle. The fact Campello shares the same birth-date as the twelve times world champion could be omen for the future!

Ricardo Campello
"I am not partying tonight that will only happen if I win. My goal is to be a world champion. Hopefully I will be celebrating being the world champion in freestyle by the end of this year!"

With only three days of the event remaining the tension is building here in Gran Canaria. When competition resumes the stakes are high in both wave and freestyle. The current leaders will be under huge pressure to hold their nerve as the chasing pack challenge for the podium positions.

[DAY SIX] Becalmed!

Monday July 15, 2002

The wind has finally taken a breather here in Gran Canaria. After five days of hectic conditions and radical action sailors arrived at the beach this morning to the scene of a light breeze and glassy waves. Many sailors were welcoming a day off and taking the opportunity to relax aching muscles, surf or retune their equipment.

Competing at the highest level of PWA competition can take its toll. Several sailors have been forced to retire from the competition due to injury. Pozo favorite, Iballa Moreno (Mistral, North) broke three bones in her foot during training on the opening day of competition and will be out of action until at least September. Argentinean wave guru, Francisco Goya, (Fanatic, Arrows) is also out of action after hurting his foot during training prior to the event. Our best wishes go out to Iballa and Francisco for a speedy recovery.

Yesterday the men's wave competition reached its final stages but as it stands Kevin Pritchard (Gaastra, Bic) is still holding the number one slot. Pritchard defeated current overall wave champion Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Proof, Neil Pryde) in the thrilling final of the men¹s single elimination two days ago. Many sailors are still talking about the 30-foot high one handed, one-legged back loop Pritchard pulled off in the final. The incredible move narrowly gave Pritchard the edge over Dunkerbeck who rarely loses here on his home waters. Pozo has once again has proved itself as a location which inspires innovative moves!

Kevin Pritchard
"I don¹t think its good to have a day off. If we are going to do it lets do it! Hopefully for me it will be one more heat and then pack it up. I have had the one handed, one legged back loop in the bag for a while. I think it was definitely a big help in the final. I have another move I have held back for the next one if it needs to come out!"

In the men¹s freestyle, Kevin¹s older brother Matt (Gaastra, AHD) is also holding pole position after three rounds. A further round brings discards into the equation so Pritchard will need to stay on guard when competition resumes. The likes of Nik Baker (Mistral North), Ricardo Campello (JP, Neil Pryde), Antoine Albeau (AHD, Neil Pryde) and Jonas Ceballos (Gaastra, Fanatic) are all in the chasing pack and will be out to snatch victory when if the opportunity arises.

Daida Moreno (Mistral, North) is currently on top of the leader board in both women¹s disciplines and will be determined to consolidate her position when the wind returns. Karin Jaggi (F2, Arrows), Anne Marie Reichman (Naish boards, Naish sails) and Colette Guadagnino (JP, Neil Pryde) will have different ideas and are all in the running for the podium places.

The forecast is for lighter winds over the next few days but in here Gran Canaria the wind can make its own rules and we could easily be back in action tomorrow!

[DAY FIVE] The stage is all set now for a thrilling climax to both the wave and freestyle competitions

Sunday July 14, 2002

We are down to the final stages of the men's double elimination wave competition here at the Gran Canaria PWA 2002 Gran Slam. The wind and waves were excellent for most of the day but competition was eventually abandoned at heat 61 when the high tide late this afternoon killed off the surf. The sailors who are still in the running to face Kevin Pritchard (Gaastra, Bic) in the ultimate final of the competition are Levi Siver (F2, Arrows) Tristan Boxford (North, Fanatic), Scott Mckercher (Starboard, Naish), Andy Wolf (Neil Pryde, RRD) Orjan Jensen (Proof, North) Jonas Ceballos (Gaastra, Fanatic) Josh Angulo, Nik Baker (North, Mistral) and Bjorn Dunkerbeck Proof, Neil Pryde).

In the top half of the draw Britain¹s Tristan Boxford had an excellent afternoon at the office and managed to advance through two heavy duty heats defeating Antoine Albeau (AHD, Neil Pryde) of France and Matt Pritchard (Gaastra, AHD) of the USA. Boxford who is sailing with six stitches in his left foot will now face Levi Siver (North, F2) in his next heat. Siver only had to sail one heat today but faced a monster battle against Norwegian high flyer Vidar Jensen (North). Jensen pulled out his usual trumps cards including the one handed forward and Crazy Pete but Siver found better waves and matched Jensens jumping with a huge back loop and a super tweaked table top.

On the opposite side of the ladder there were key performances from Andy Wolff of Germany and local sailor Jonas Ceballos. Wolff, who advanced though heats against Xavier Huart (Mistral ,North) of France and Eric Troostheide (Mistral, North) of Holland now faces Aussie wave guru Scott McKercher in his next heat. Jonas Ceballos pulled off some of the biggest back loops of the day as he advanced through heats against Tenerife sailor Daniel Bruch (Arrows) and Pozo sailor Victor Fenandez (Fanatic). Ceballos who is tipped by many to cause some major upsets here now faces Orjan Jensen in his next confrontation.

With five days remaining here at the PWA Gran Canaria Grand Slam the stage is all set now for a thrilling climax to both the wave and freestyle competitions. As it stands the Pritchard brothers are holding all the aces with Matt currently holding first overall after three rounds of freestyle and younger brother Kevin in the top slot of the waves after winning the men¹s single elimination yesterday. In the women¹s competition Daida Moreno (Mistral, North) is holding first in both disciplines but is well aware that the likes of Karin Jaggi (F2, Arrows), Anne Marie Reicham (Naish boards, Naish sails) and Colette Gaudagnino (JP, Neil Pryde) are all hot on her heels.

[DAY FOUR] Competition was put on hold until noon today

Saturday July 13, 2002

Kevin Pritchard (Bic, Gaastra) of the USA has taken first blood in the men's single elimination wave competition after defeating local maestro Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Proof, Neil Pryde) in a thrilling climax to a day of extreme wave action. Held in relentless 40 knot winds Pritchard pulled off two amazing one legged back loops in the final, which gave him the edge over Dunkerbeck on his home waters. Daida Moreno (North, Mistral) meanwhile continued her winning streak by taking the women¹s wave final over Karin Jaggi (F2, Arrows) of Switzerland.

Competition was put on hold until noon today whilst the judges waited for the waves to build. The predicted swell started to show its face by late morning and with 40 knots of wind cranking through rocket air was the order of the day.

Pritchard opened up his account with a first round victory over Francisco Onrubia of Spain. He waited until his second round heat against Pozo local Juan Enrique Garnica before he pulled out the first of his one legged back loops. His route to the final then continued with a tough string of heats against Tristan Boxford (Fanatic, North) Scott McKercher (Starboard, Naish) and Josh Angulo.

On the other side of the draw the big man from Spain, Bjorn Dunkerbeck quashed challenges from Jorge Garcia, Dario Ojeda (Proof), Jonas Ceballos (Gaastra, Fanatic) Levi Siver (F2, North) and Nik Baker (Mistral, North).

In the final both sailors were matching each other move for move. Dunkerbeck was throwing massive one handed back loops and huge stalled forwards. Pritchard replied with two consecutive one-legged back loops followed by a radical tweaked tabletop. In the wave riding Dunkerbeck struggled to find a connecting wave but still managed to ride with his usual power and precision. Pritchard meanwhile seemed to find the better of the sets and ripped his way all the way into the beach. After a nervous wait for the verdict the five man judges panel gave the decision to Pritchard with a 3-2 majority.

In the equally breathtaking losers final Nik Baker needed to pull of a table top forward, an enormous back loop and a Crazy Pete in order to fend of the challenge of Josh Angulo. The move of the day in the men¹s competition today an incredible double loop from Orjan Jensen (North, Proof) in his heat against his brother Vidar (North). Orjan advanced only to go down in his next encounter in the quarter finals against Angulo.

The women's final between Daida Moreno and Karin Jaggi was action packed form start to finish. Moreno seemed to take the lead early after nailing several incredible back loops in the severe conditions. Jaggi was determined not to go down without a fight and replied with a back loop and a push loop. The final and could of gone either way but the judges gave the decision to Moreno. The women¹s losers final was won by Anne Marie Reichman (Naish, Boards, Naish sails) who defeated Colette Guadagnino (JP, Neil Pryde).

[DAY THREE] The young guns dominated today with Campello leading the way

Friday July 12, 2002

17-year-old Ricardo Campello (JP, Neil Pryde) of Venezuela has won the third round of men¹s freestyle in nuclear conditions here at the Gran Canaria 2002 PWA Grand Slam. In a ballistic final held in 40 knots of wind Campello narrowly defeated local sailor Jonas Ceballos (Gaastra, Fanatic) concluding yet another a dramatic day of extreme freestyle action. In the women's third elimination final Karin Jaggi (F2, Arrows) finally ended Daida Moreno¹s (Mistral, North) winning streak and posted her own first victory of the competition.

The young guns dominated today with Campello leading the way, taking down Christian Dammers (Starboard, Gaastra), Julien Taboulet (JP, Neil Pryde), John Skye (F2, arrows) and Matt Pritchard (Gaastra, AHD) en route to the final. Meanwhile, Jonas Ceballos sailing on his home waters used the strong winds to his advantage and threw a variety of massive jumps into his routines. Jonas, who is a member of the "Canarian young gun" team, knocked out Konan Lang (Naish sails), Diony Guagagnino (JP, Neil Pryde), Nik Baker (North, Mistral) and Yann Sune (Fanatic, Arrows) to earn his place in the ring against Campello.

In the final Ceballos seemed to have the edge in the opening minutes after nailing several huge jumps and a spock 540. Campello started shakily but seemed to grow in confidence after stringing together a clean clew first spock 540 and a Swayzie on the same run in towards the beach. The young Venezuelan put the final nail in the coffin when he landed another Swayzie on the way out followed by a push loop and a spock 540! In the losers final Matt Pritchard defeated Yann Sune of France to take third place. Pritchard now moves to the top of the leader board after three rounds with Nik Baker hot on his heals in second and Ricardo Campello staking his challenge in third.

Yesterday¹s winner Antoine Albeau (AHD, Neil Pryde) dropped down to seventh overall after losing in the third round to Matt Pritchard. The big man from France had failed to advance through his first heat against Tony Garcia (RRD) and as a result of the Dingle ladder ended up facing Pritchard, this time losing the re-run of yesterdays final line up.

Daida Moreno suffered her first defeat of the competition today after losing to Swiss sailor Karin Jaggi in the women¹s final. Despite a brave attempt at a double forward loop from Moreno, Jaggi somehow managed to nail more moves and win the favor of the judges. In the women¹s losers final Colette Guadagnino (JP, Neil Pryde) looped her way into third over Anne Marie Reichman (Naish boards, Naish sails) of Holland.

The forecast for tomorrow gives a severe weather warning for Gran Canaria. There are also rumors of a swell hitting the island so radical wave action is on the cards.

[DAY TWO] The final gave the crowds a spectacular display

Thursday July 11, 2002

Current world number one PWA freestyler, Antoine Albeau (AHD, Neil Pryde) is back on top after winning the second round of the men¹s freestyle here at the PWA Gran Canaria 2002 Grand Slam. In winds blowing a solid 30 knots the big man from France took down Matt Pritchard (AHD, Gaastra) of America in a closely contested final. The women¹s second elimination saw Daida Moreno (Mistral, North) take her second victory, this time against Venezuelan sailor Colette Guadagnino (JP, Neil Pryde).

The day started badly for yesterday¹s winner Remko De Weerd (Gaastra, AHD) who missed the first half of his opening heat. The Dingle format (combo of single and double elimination) which is being used here in Gran Canaria meant he was given a second chance but as a result was re-seeded to meet up with Nik Baker (Mistral, North) in third round. This time around Baker took his revenge and advanced after stringing together a scintillating heat leaving De Weerd out of the running.

Albeau meanwhile, advanced through two tough heats against Dioni Guadagnino (JP, Neil Pryde) and Peter Volwater (F2, Arrows) before facing Baker in the quarterfinals. Albeau¹s strength in the blistering 30-knot winds accounted for a major part of his success today and he hung onto his moves whilst many others couldn¹t handle the conditions. After disposing of Baker in a riveting confrontation, Albeau then went on to take down young Jonas Ceballos (Gaastra, Fanatic) of Spain in the semis.

On the other side of the draw Matt Pritchard fought his way to the final after winning heats against Baptiste Gossien (JP, Neil Pryde), John Skye (F2, Arrows), Tonki Frans (Gaastra, AHD) and Konan Lang (Naish sails). Pritchard was in the zone today and nailing nearly every trick in the book.

The final gave the crowds a spectacular display of old and new freestyle moves with both sailors pulling out all the stops to impress the five-man judges panel. Albeau managed to nail a flawless Swayzie and a multitude of tricks, which narrowly gave him the edge over the vigilant challenge of Pritchard. The losers final was won by Conan Lang of Brazil whose repertoire included a switch stance spock giving him the edge over local sailor Jonas Ceballos.

There was more disappointment for Josh Stone (JP, Neil Pryde) today who was defeated in the fourth round by Nik Baker. After two rounds he is currently back in fifteenth place and will have to make a miraculous recovery to make it back to a podium placing.

Daida Moreno landed an incredible clew first spock 540 this afternoon on her way to the women¹s final. Her level of sailing seems to be improving as the competition progresses and who knows what moves she will be nailing by the end of the week! Today¹s final was a close battle with Colette Gaudagnino but Moreno¹s jumping was more varied and more radical. In the women¹s losers final Karin Jaggi (F2, Arrows) took third slot over Anne Marie Reichman (Naish boards, Naish sails) of Holland.

The likes of Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Proof, Neil Pryde) Francisco Goya (F2, Fanatic) and Kevin Pritchard (Gaastra, Bic) are all on standby for wave performance. Local reports are giving 60 knots of wind by the weekend so it looks like its time to batten down the hatches. At the moment the branding flags are still readable but if last year is anything to go by, by the end of the weekend there could be reduced to tatters!

[DAY ONE] Extreme freestyle action underway in nuclear winds!

Wednesday July 10, 2002

Dutch sailor Remko De Weerd (Gaastra, AHD) and local girl, Daida Moreno (Mistral, North) have taken first round victories in their respective men¹s and women¹s freestyle eliminations here today at the PWA, Gran Canaria Gran Slam. In the men¹s final De Weerd defeated British sailor Nik Baker (Mistral, North) in the thrilling battle, which was held this afternoon in ridiculously windy conditions. The women's final was equally exciting and it took Daida Moreno¹s (Mistral, North) best efforts to thwart the challenge of Anne Marie Reichman (Naish boards, Naish sails) from Holland

De Weerd was on fire today; somehow managing to pull off extremely technical moves in Pozo¹s relentless winds which were blowing anywhere between 30-40 knots. His repertoire included tweaked shuv-its, slick one handed spock 540¹s and sizzling swayzies! On route to the final the Dutch freestyle specialist overcame challenges from the likes of Christian Dammers (Gaastra, AHD), Eric Girard (Starboard), Peter Volwater (F2, Arrows), Robby Swift (JP, Neil Pryde) and Victor Fernandez (Fanatic). Baker meanwhile had an equally tough battle to make it through to the final and took down Kristoffer Living of Sweden, Martin Van Geenhoven (North, AHD), Matt Pritchard (AHD, Gaastra) and Ricardo Campello (JP, Neil Pryde). The action packed final saw Nik Baker open up the heat with a Crazy Pete and Remko replying with a huge contorted Shuv-it. As the heat progressed De Weerd edged ahead after Baker failed to nail his trademark clew first spock. With both sailors on 3.3m sails in what would best be described as survival conditions the level of sailing throughout the final was incredible.

Victor Fernandez (Fanatic) an unranked local sailor caused the biggest surprise of the day after making it all the way through to the losers final. In the early rounds Fernandez took down highly ranked PWA sailors Vidar Jensen (North), Gregg Allaway (JP, Neil Pryde) and Julien Taboulet (JP, Neil Pryde) largely due to his incredible jumping ability. In the battle for third and fourth it took the extraordinary skills of young Venezuelan sailor Ricardo Campello (JP, Neil Pryde) to halt his progress.

Other shock results today included John Skye (F2, Arrows) of Britain defeating world number two freestyler, Josh Stone (JP, Neil Pryde) and the Mathieu Bonno of France taking down Brazilian samba sensation Kauli Seadi (Naish).

In the women¹s competition it was Daida Moreno (Mistral, North) who came out on top after a winning closely fought final against Anne Marie Reichman (Naish boards, Naish sails) of Holland. Moreno who was pulling off a variety of explosive jumps throughout the day had managed to defeat Swiss sailor Karin Jaggi (F2, Arrows) in the semis. In the final she nailed a back loop and push loop, which proved enough to give her the edge over Reichman who had sailed brilliantly in her semi final heat where she upstaged Colette Guadagnino (JP, Neil Pryde) of Venezuela.

The day began dramatically when Iballa Moreno (North, Mistral) was rushed to hospital after breaking her foot in three places after awkwardly landing a table top in the warm ups. She is due to have surgery tomorrow morning and will be out of action for at least two months.

The wind is still howling here in Gran Canaria and the forecast is more of the same! Tonight sailors will be resting aching muscles and contemplating their days performances. There are still eight days of competition remaining and if today is anything to go by the show has only just started!

Autor: pwa / pix: pwa, carter

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