The 2008 PWA Surf World Cup Podersdorf - Day Five
A day of wind in Austria gets competition within touching distance of the quarter finals.
Day five was poised to be the most exciting day of competition so far. A solid forecast for the whole day, and a steady force 4 breeze meant judges wasted no time getting the first of round two’s heats underway.
Steven van Broekhoven (F2, MauiSails) and Tonky Frans (F2, Gaastra) drew the day’s first blood, defeating their underpowered rivals, Kevin Mevissen (RRD) and Ruben Petrisie (Exocet, Loft Sails) to advance to round three.
Heat 10 saw the exit of the UK’s Andy ‘Bubble’ Chambers (JP, NeilPryde) to an on form Kiri Thode (Starboard, Gaastra) who took the opportunity to showcase his newly invented move, the kono, for the first time in competition. Also advancing in heat 10 was local boy Michael Sumereder (RRD, North Sails) who took down Italy’s Andrea Rosati (RRD, Neil Pryde, MFC).
Heat 11 was the first victim of the fickle wind, which forced the heat to be abandoned. The re-run, which happened three hours later was completed in light, gusty conditions. Taty Frans (Starboard, North) showed class, executing silky smooth eslider 540’s and Flaka Diablos to win his half of the heat and advance alongside Russian Egor Popretinskiy (JP, NeilPryde).
The marginal conditions continued to plague competition and heat 14 was stopped minutes into the action and postponed until all the other second round heats had been completed. In the meantime, Andre Paskowski (Fanatic, North Sails) and Frenchman Nicolas Akgazciyan (Starboard, Gun) played host to arguably the finest action of the round. Both sailors were nailing super smooth flaka diablos and one handed switch stance chachoos, metres from the judges and ecstatic local crowd.
By the time heat 16 of round two has started, the wind was so marginal that competitors were having to pump to make the majority of their moves. It was always going to be a tall order for Tina Slabe (F2, Naish) and Max Matissek (Fanatic, North Sails) to defeat their more experienced rivals Cheo Diaz (RRD, Simmer) and Marcilio Browne (Mistral, Gaastra), especially given the conditions. Ultimately, the seasoned riders’ Diaz and Browne used their considerable competition knowledge to dispatch Slabe and Matissek relatively convincingly.
Following the successful completion of all the second round heats, round three got underway without a pause. Thus far, all the big names had advanced without upset.
Starting proceedings were Belgium’s Steven Broeckhoven (F2, MauiSails) against Tonky Frans (F2, Gaastra), and local Michael Sumereder (RRD, North Sails) taking on Kiri Thode (Starboard, Gaastra). Underdogs Broeckhoven and Sumereder showed they’re a force to be reckoned with, but unfortunately couldn’t match Fran’s awesome clew first ponches or Thode’s flawless repertoire of explosive moves. Frans and Thode advanced.
Next up, Russian Egor Popretinskiy and local favourite Michael Rossmeier (Exocet, The Loft) took on Taty Frans and Jose ‘Gollito’ Estredo (Fanatic, North Sails, MFC) respectively. Taty pieced together a judge pleasing mix of ponches, flaka diablos and chachoos in the dropping wind, to defeat the Russian.
It could be argued that Rossmeier would have advanced had he been up against most other competitors, showing both depth and diversity in his routine. He was however, pitched against an on form Gollito who had no intension of being knocked out at this stage in the elimination. A no handed flaka Diablo within touching distance of the crowd sealed Rossmeier’s fate, advancing Gollito to the next round.
The final heat of the day was run in testing, marginal conditions. Antxon Otaegui (JP, NeilPryde) took on Normen Gunzlein (JP, NeilPryde) and Andreas Olandersson (Fanatic, Simmer) battled it out with 3 times freestyle world champion Ricardo Campello (JP, NeilPryde). When competition got underway, Olandersson just couldn’t compete with the magnitude of Campello’s arsenal of tricks and on the final horn of the day, came out the lesser man. On the other side of the heat, Gunzlein and Otaegui had an extremely close heat. Both sailors were obviously frustrated with the light winds, but the judge’s ultimately rewarded Otaegui’s more tactical sailing with the victory.
That concluded the day's sailing, leaving heat 20 of round three to be completed tomorrow, along with the remainder of the single elimination. The skippers meeting has been scheduled for 8.00am, so be sure to check back in to see how the year’s first freestyle event pans out.
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PWA / Andrew Buchanan