The 2008 Gran Canaria PWA Grand Slam – Event Summary
Pozo turns up the heat for nine days of mind blowing freestyle, slalom and wave competition.
Wave single elimination
Launching onto action on day one, Pozo Izquierdo’s legendary wind machine roared to life, churning out 40 knot wind, alongside a sizeable swell for the single elimination of the wave contest.
Danny Bruch (Gaastra) started as he intended to go on, knocking out Aleix Sanllehy (F2, North Sails) in round one, then experienced rival Kevin Pritchard (Starboard, Gaastra, Dakine, MFC) in round two.
Levi Siver (Quatro, NeilPryde, Dakine, MFC) took an early exit at the hands of local wonder kid Philip Köster (F2, Neil Pryde), who proved he’s a talent not to underestimate as he continued to cause upset in subsequent rounds.
As the 48 man fleet continued to narrow, more and more big names dropped from the elimination. Alex Mussolini (RRD, NeilPryde) fell victim to Köster’s seemingly unstoppable run, and Julien Taboulet (F2, Naish) departed courtesy of Browne’s impressive freestyle-wave fusion.
Local favorite Dario Ojeda (Quatro, MFC, Mormaii) was stopped in his tracks by the super smooth wave riding of Josh Angulo (MauiSails, Dakine), and Bruch continued to dominate the airwaves with his gravity defying aerial rotations, defeating Scott McKercher (Starboard, Severne).
Entering the quarters, crowds were treated to arguably the heat of the day, when underdog Köster took on the mite of competition favorite Victor Fernandez (Fanatic, Simmer Style, MFC). The pair went off the scale with their jumps, but eventually Fernandez took the victory aided by a perfect double forward loop.
Also departing in the quarterfinals was Browne, who was beaten by team mate and mentor Nik Baker (Mistral, North Sails), and Angulo, who fell at the hands of double looping maestro Campello.
The semi finals were a fierce affair, but ultimately Fernandez and Bruch would prevail, going on to do battle in the final. This was a close tussle, but Fernandez delivered a more polished, and technically higher scoring repertoire to take first place ahead of Bruch.
Moving onto the women’s elimination, Karin Jaggi (F2, North Sails) pieced together a solid quarter final heat to advance ahead of Silvia Alba Orozco (MFC), and Laure Treboux (Fanatic, North Sails) met her match when she faced Iballa Moreno (North Sails).
In the bottom half of the draw, Nayra Alonso (Fanatic, Severne) had to deliver a stellar performance to defeat Japan’s Junko Nagoshi (Simmer Sails, Dakine) and Daida Moreno (North Sails) fended off her rival Evi Tsape (Fanatic, NeilPryde).
In the semi final, Jaggi and Alonso departed the elimination after some devastating sailing from the Moreno twins, paving the way for a Moreno showdown in the final
The final witnessed some outstanding riding from the pair, but Daida chalked up more points on the score sheet to take the win, leaving Iballa in second.
Wave Double Elimination
Kevin Pritchard (Starboard, Gaastra, Dakine, MFC) showed his hunger to climb the ranks, defeating Jose Estredo (Fanatic, North Sails, MFC), Peter Volwater (North Sails) and local hotshot Dario Ojeda (Quatro, Mormaii, MFC) to him clear a path through the double, before he finally fell to Vidar Jensen (North Sails).
Mounting a sustained attack, Julien Taboulet (F2, Naish Sails), aided by his trademark super contorted tabletop forward loops, cleared John Skye (RRD, Naish), Phil Horrocks (JP, NeilPryde), Philip Köster (F2, NeilPryde) & high flying Jonas Ceballos (Fanatic, Simmer Sails, MFC) to the side, as he advanced from the third round to within touching distance of the final.
Taboulet would finally fall at the hands of Kauli Seadi (JP, NeilPryde, Mormaii), who was gaining momentum after knocking out Vidar Jensen (North Sails) and Klaas Voget (Fanatic, NeilPryde, MFC).
Seadi went on to knock out Nik Baker before losing to Ricardo Campello, who continued to dominate when he took down Danny Bruch, giving him a shot at Victor Fernandez in the final.
The epic final saw perfect double loops from both sailors, but checkmate came when Fernandez clocked up an awesome wave ride, including a goiter on the wave face. Campello had fought bravely, and was by no means outclassed, but the day belonged to Fernandez.
Fernandez’s victory marks an impressive run for the Spaniard; Three years of competition in Pozo, three victories, and not a single heat lost. Impressive by anyone’s standards.
In the women’s double elimination, Silvia Alba Orozco (MFC) proved to be a tough contender, mounting a spectacular four heat resurgence thanks her aggressive wave riding. The run came to an end when she came up against hard-hitting rival, Karin Jaggi, who took control of the airwaves with her sizable aerial artillery.
Jaggi departed the elimination when she lost to Iballa Moreno, meaning the fight for first position would be a repeat of the single elimination final, Moreno versus Moreno.
The battle was a class above the rest, however when the heat ended, the judges awarded a conclusive 5-0 victory to Daida. The victory adds to Daida’s unprecedented run at top of the podium.
Pozo Wave Results:
1st Victor `Fernandez 1st Daida Moreno
2nd Ricardo Campello 2nd Iballa Moreno
3rd Danny Bruch 3rd Karin Jaggi
4th Kauli Seadi 4th Silvia Alba Orozco
The first freestyle elimination was convincingly won by Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard, NeilPryde), who defeated Daida Moreno in the final. Offringa then had to wait for the double elimination to run its course before she could fight to defend her position.
Initially, Treboux looked dangerous having defeated Junko Nagoshi, but a lapse of concentration saw her lose to Daida Moreno, meaning it would be another Offringa vs.Moreno final.
The final was a class act from Offringa, who landed virtually every move she attempted. Moreno played a high-risk game, attempting double loops, and ponchs. However, the gamble failed to pay off, when she crashed the majority of these high scoring moves, leaving Offringa free to take the win.
In the second single elimination, Iballa Moreno took an early exit when she fell victim to Japan’s freestyle sensation Junko Nagoshi. Moving into the semi finals, Nagoshi had her work cut out when she challenged Offringa. Offringa ultimately dominated the heat, to take her position in the final.
The second semi final saw Treboux lose out on a spot in the final to Daida Moreno, making way for another Moreno vs. Offringa showdown. The hotly contested heat saw Moreno pull a perfect ponch, but it wasn’t enough to defeat defiant Offringa, who took another victory.
In the second double elimination, Yolanda De Brendt (Fanatic, North Sails) showed early form, knocking out Silvia Alba Orozco and Iballa Moreno before exiting courtesy of a polished display by Nagoshi.
Gaining momentum, Nagoshi went on to defeat Laure Treboux only to lose to Daida Moreno in the next round. Moreno’s victory secured her a position in the final, which was a repeat of the previous double elimination final, Moreno vs. Offringa.
Coming out all guns blazing, Offringa’s barrage was impressive to say the least, and Moreno had a tall order ahead of her, having to find a reply to a one handed puneta, a shaka, and funnel. Nerves seemed to overcome the local, and a last minute grubby, flaka and forward weren’t enough to match Offringa’s mammoth score. In a 5-0 decision, Offringa added another double elimination victory to her name.
Pozo Freestyle Results:
1st Sarah-Quita Offringa
2nd Daida Moreno
3rd Junko Nagoshi
4th Laure Treboux
Race 1: There was shock in the early rounds when Ben Van Der Steen (Exocet, Simmer Sails) and Bjorn Dunkerbeck (T1, North Sails) crossed the start line early, meaning they didn’t qualify for the race final.
In the final, Albeau (Starboard, NeilPryde), Pritchard and Maynard (RRD, NeilPryde) broke away from the pack after the first gybe and proceeded to open up a considerable lead. The spearheading threesome jostled, but on the finish line maintained the same formation that they had had for the entire race. Albeau first, Pritchard second and Maynard third. Dunkerbeck returned to form in the losers final, to take the win.
Race 2: The usual suspects stamped their authority on the first round, with Maynard, Pritchard and Albeau winning their heats. Also joining them was Josh Angulo (MauiSails, Dakine) who showed he’s not one to be left out of contention when the going gets tough.
The final of race two was laden with truly spectacular sailing. Albeau showed why he’s World Champion, entering the first mark in sixth and coming out in second with a magnificent gybe through the fleet. He then chased down Maynard, and overtook him on the final reach to claim his second race win. Maynard got caught in a tussle with Buzianis (JP, NeilPryde, MFC), leaving Dunkerbeck free to steal second place, Maynard third, and Buzianis fourth. Van Der Steen held his nerve to win the losers final.
Race 3: The third race was an epic surf slalom affair. In the final, Albeau looked untouchable in first, leaving Angulo and Pritchard to fight for second. Pritchard put the pedal down and eventually accelerated across the line to beat Angulo to the number two spot. Angulo took third, Dunkerbeck fourth, and Williams came home in fifth.
In the losers final, Micah Buzianis showed class and determination to fend off Taty Frans (Starboard, North Sails) and Sylvain Moussilmani (F2, Simmer) to take the win. Frans sailed well and stole second from Moussilmani who finished in third.
Race 4: Uncharacteristic errors from Buzianis, Maynard and Williams, meant they all failed to make the top five of their respective semi final heats, thus not qualifying for the final.
More upset came in the final, when Pritchard and Angulo crossed the start line early, forcing the heat to be rerun without them. In the rerun, Albeau was tested by Volwater, but kept a cool head to take his fourth successive race win. Volwater slipped into third behind Cyril Moussilmani (Fanatic, North), leaving Cedric Bordes (Tabou, Gaastra) in fourth, and Dunkerbeck in fifth.
In the losers final, Williams owned the show, opening up a huge lead ahead of his nearest rival, Buzianis. Untouched from the first gybe onwards, Williams went on to win in comfortable fashion, leaving Buzianis to take second, and Allen third.
Race 5 witnessed the amazing spectacle of the entire 39 man race fleet battling it out around a mammoth down wind slalom course. A rabbit start kicked off a crazy charge down the first reach as the mass of sailors battled to get clean wind at the first mark.
The amazing race culminated with a frantic blast to the finish, Albeau excelled to claim another first place, Volwater took second, Pritchard third, Williams fourth and Pearch ended in fifth. The race proved to be a stumbling block for Finian Maynard who failed to finish, and Bjorn Dunkerbeck didn’t help his cause, finishing 14th in a race that many had tipped him to be a favorite in.
Race 6: The sixth slalom race of the event saw cracks appear in Antoine Albeau’s seemingly impenetrable defenses. Two falls and a ninth place finish in his semi final heat meant he failed to qualify for the race final.
Signaling changing times, Britain’s Ross William’s and Holland’s Peter Volwater lead the pack in a final depleted of many big name racers. The pair was equally matched, but Williams edged ahead in a final drag race to the finish line. Close behind, Josh Angulo took third, Bjorn Dunkerbeck fourth and Benoit Moussilmani (F2, Simmer Sails) raced home in fifth. Albeau regained his winning form to take first place in the losers final.
Race 7: Failing to make the cut in the qualifying heats, Ross Williams, Micah Buzianis and Josh Angulo all went out in the first rounds, denying them a chance to compete in the final.
No surprises in this one, Albeau lead the final to take another win, Pritchard came second, Allen third, Dunkerbeck fourth and Sylvain Moussilmani fifth.
Recovering in the losers final, Williams relinquished his previous error to take first place, ahead of Buzianis in second, and Angulo in third.
Race 8: Over eager starts for Pritchard, Williams and Volwater meant the final had to be restarted, minus the offenders. In the rerun, Albeau settled into his usual position at the front of the pack. Chasing him down were Dunkerbeck and Buzianis, who never let the leader out of their grasp, but failed to summon enough grunt to overthrow the French World Champion. Albeau walked away with another victory with Buzianis in second, and Dunkerbeck in third.
Race 9: An unfortunate accident saw Micah Buzianis crashed into, and in need of medical attention following a gybe mark incident in the qualifying heats. The incident robbed him of a position in the final, which was won by slalom machine Albeau. Pritchard snapped up another second place finish, and Cyril Moussilmani flew home in third.
Pozo Racing Results:
The final Saturday of competition was too windy for racing, so organizers ran a wave super session. The event witnessed Ricardo Campello attempt the first ever triple forward loop in competition. He crashed, but had done enough to take the win. Daida Moreno won the women’s category for a crazy double forward loop.
A glamorous prize-giving and closing ceremony rounded-off a spectacular event that saw history made and more champions crowned. Gran Canaria never fails to deliver the goods when it comes to high-pressure, high wind competition, and one can only imagine what the future here will see.
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© PWA / Andrew Buchanan