The 2006 Gran Canaria PWA Grand Slam Day One
It was straight down to business here in Pozo today with a single elimination of women’s freestyle and the opening heats of the wave contest completed. Daida Moreno (E-64, Mistral/ North Sails) took the honours ahead of Karin Jaggi (Z-14, F2/ North Sails) after a tough freestyle bout in difficult conditions.
Strong winds and reasonable surf greeted competitors as they arrived this morning. Skippers meeting was at 09.30 and Head Judge Duncan Coombs gave the thumbs up to run wave competition first at around 10.00
The draw threw up some interesting ties - specially the David vs Goliath battle between 15 year old Jaeger Stone (KA- 120 Starboard / Severne) and Bjorn Dunkerbeck (E-11, North Sails) - a baptism of fire for the young West Australian, who’d got everyone talking here on the beach with his powerful riding style. Experience paid however and Dunkerbeck marches on.
No first round surprises were thrown up, although some heats could on any other day have been semi-finals, with the big names and a high standard. Marcilio Browne (BRA-105, Naish/ Naish), and Klaas Voget (G4, Fanatic / Neil Pryde). had a tough draw together, from which Voget came out the victor after a harsh battle with the radical young Brazilian.
Many of the dedicated and best freestylers had entered this event to try their hand in the waves, but most didn’t do enough despite outstanding jumping ability. Failing to make the cut were Taty Frans (NB-9, Starboard/ MauiSails), Tonky Frans (NB-7 F2 / Gaastra), Jose Estredo (V-1, Fanatic/ North Sails), and Kevin Mevissen (H-79, JP/ Neil Pryde). Ricardo Campello (V-111, JP/ Neil Pryde) however did impress the judges, and the word amongst the die hard wave competitors on the beach, was that he’s a threat that could go very far. Another first round standout was Daniel Bruch (E-13 JP /NeilPryde) with solid jumps and great wave 360’s in the difficult onshore conditions.
At around 14.40 when the men’s first round heats were complete the waves worsened and despite trying the first heat for the ladies, the decision was made to run women’s freestyle whilst waiting for improved wave conditions.
First up was Sarah-Quita Offringa (ARU-91 Starboard / Maui Sails) who’d made a big impression on her debut last season. She took out the experienced Steffi Wahl (G-303, F2) with slick e-sliders and one handed shuvit's. She earnt her place against Silvia Alba (E-67) in the second round, but here her progress was halted as Alba, a specialist at this type of 3.2sqm wind strength, hit out with power moves and big jumps.
Another newcomer who’d got everyone talking Laure Treboux (SUI-4 Naish / Naish). She was on fire and immediately despatched Waka Nishada (J-100), confirming the pre-event rumours that she was going to be a force to be reckoned with.
All the usual suspects made it into the quarter-finals, except local girl Nayra Alonso (E-4, Fanatic/ Severne), whilst Alba’s run continued when she took out Marie Tjernberg (S-6 F2 / North) to book her place in the semis. Karin Jaggi beat freestyle specialist Yoli de Brendt (V-26 Fanatic / North) meaning she would face Alba.
Iballa Moreno (E-63, Mistral/ North Sails) had a good heat against Junko Nagoshi (J-11 F2 / Simmer) and made it through to face Daida in the other semi-final. Daida meanwhile had ended Laure Treboux’s (SUI-4 Naish / Naish) hopes of glory, by making the same amount of impressive tricks but adding extras such as clean one-handed forwards with the hand stylishly off all the way round!
The semi-final went off with a bang as Jaggi made shuvit’s and big forwards straight from the gun and out-classed Alba, sending out a clear signal that she meant business.
In the second semi Daida Moreno gave dazzling display of flaka’s and a whole bag of smoothly executed tricks while Iballa made perfect clew first spocks, some from off the wave! Daida won and a classic Jaggi Moreno final was on offer.
The loser’s final gave the crowds great action as Iballa Moreno took care of Silvia Alba, in revenge for her defeat by Daida, earning her third place.
Once more Jaggi and Daida Moreno showed their professionalism by making tricks right from the start signal. One handed forwards and shuvit’s from Jaggi along with the usual spock 540’s, willy skippers and table tops were countered by Daida with massive slick ponch's, one handed spocks, and a huge backside air back onto the wave. Jaggi had diversity and her tricks earnt good scores from the judges from being varied on port and starboard tack, but Moreno’s technical ability and more advanced manoeuvres gave her the victory, leaving Jaggi behind in second.
Another attempt at running waves was started at 17.00 and heat 17 was completed where Campello beat Diony Guadagnino (V-69 Mistral / NeilPryde) who spent some of the heat swimming after a wipe-out, and Vidar Jensen (N-44, North) took the scalp of Matt Pritchard (US-10 Tabou / Gaastra).
Heat 18 was started but the waves really were dropping in size and frequency and so competition was stopped for the day and skippers meeting for tomorrow set at 09.30. The intention is to run waves again tomorrow, but be sure to check back here throughout tomorrow for the latest news and live updates.
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