The 2006 Gran Canaria PWA Grand Slam Day Two
Antoine Albeau (F192 Starboard / Neil Pryde Sails) takes the lead in Slalom 42, with two clear wins in the rocket fast racing action in Pozo today. Bjorn Dunkerbeck (E-11, T-1, North Sails) lies in second place and Kevin Pritchard (US-3 Starboard / Maui Sails) is in third position overnight after three full races in 30+ knots of wind!
This morning the PWA judging team held a junior’s wavesailing competition with some of the most exciting new talent emerging from around the globe. Many of the names that competed this morning will no doubt go on to greatness in the PWA elite competition scene. Experience of high level competition is key to these young guns progression towards their ultimate goals in professional windsurfing.
The entry list included Hawaiians Connor Baxter and Zane Schweitzer, both with great heritage in windsurfing history. Schweitzer’s grandfather Hoyle was one of the key figures credited with the sports invention. They were joined by several Canarian hotshots such as Philip Koster, an entrant in the mains men’s event here at only 13 yrs old!
These gifted young riders also have the privilege of being coached by the most experienced heads on the competitive scene. Dunkerbeck, Orjan Jensen (E-19, North Sails) Daida Moreno (E-64, Mistral/ North Sails) and Iballa Moreno (E-63, Mistral/ North Sails) were all on hand to give their knowledge and experience on how to sail the most tactical heats possible. Commentary was provided by Nayra Alonso (E-4, Fanatic/ Severne). Who knows if this assistance will ever come back to haunt them? Many will remember a young Dunkerbeck facing Robby Naish (US-1111 Naish / Naish) before defeating the heroic figure on his way to multiple world titles. What is great to see is the dedication to the sports future that these top level sailors are prepared to give back.
Two heats of 5 were run with a four man final.
Omar Sanchez E43
Jorge Vera E333
Zane Schweitzer USA 52
Victor Mederos E62
Jose Romero E45
Connor Baxter USA 333
Jerard Lopez CAT 49
Alession Stillrich E95
The final was close and run in good conditions. Jose Romero E 45 emerged as the winner, with Philip Koster in second and Jorge Vera in third. The standard was really high with planing forwards by all of the top 3 sailors, air chacho’s by Adzubenam Trujillo and Koster making Clew first Puneta's, stalled forwards, backloop's and very good wave riding. But it was the superior riding and aerial skills of Jose Romero that earned him the win. Congratulations Jose!
Ladies Wave Single Elimination
At 11.00 some early heats of the ladies wave competition were run with some good skills on display. Freestyler Sarah-Quita Offringa (ARU-91 Starboard / Maui Sails) won her first ever PWA wave heat, and un-seeded Steffi Wahl (G-303, F2 / North) sent out a warning by winning her heat impressively too. By 12.00 however the waves had deteriorated and all wave competition for the day was cancelled, and Slalom 42 given the go ahead with a first possible start of 13.30
Antoine Albeau and Micah Buzianis (US-34 JP / NeilPryde) qualified easily from heat one and Arnon Dagan (ISR-1, Fanatic / Neil Pryde) won heat two over Kevin Pritchard (US-3 Starboard / Maui Sails). Jimmy Diaz (ISV-11, North Sails) took revenge for missing out on qualifying with a massive victory in the losers final.
Buzianis was first off the line in the final but was swiftly caught by Albeau before the first mark, followed by Dunkerbeck. Buzianis got back in front and Dunkerbeck stayed in third place. By the third gybe Albeau had extended his lead over last years joint world champions with amazing speed. Albeau won by a large margin clearly celebrating his victory over the line. Buzianis came in second and Dunkerbeck rolled in third.
A second race was scheduled for 15.00
Finian Maynard won heat one with a drag race against Buzianis, and Patrick Diethelm (ITA-120 F2 / North), who showed great speed in the last race, backed this up with a third place to advance into the final.
Arnon Dagan (ISR-1, Fanatic / Neil Pryde) started heat two well, but Albeau was in no mood to lose even a qualifying heat today and punished all opposition to win. Cyril Moussilmani (F-71, Fanatic/ North Sails) won the losers final ahead of Cedric Bordes (FRA-91 Tabou / Naish).
The final was re-started as Peter Volwater (H-24 F2 / North Sails) was over the line early. On the second attempt, Jimmy Diaz was first out the blocks, and Finian Maynard (KV-11 F2 / NeilPryde) chased him down the first reach. By the first mark Albeau had fired into action and rounded ahead of Diaz, and Maynard. Matt Pritchard (US-10 Tabou / Gaastra) also gained good speed on the second reach and passed Maynard to gain second position by the time they reached the second gybe. Albeau held his lead to win and Pritchard got second while Maynard kept ahead of Diaz to claim third spot. Race director Juan Antonio set a starting time of 16.00 for a third race .
It looked like there would be no stopping Albeau as he won heat one ahead of Diaz. The final was going to be crucial if anyone was going to stop him.
There was a general re-call with four disqualifications being handed out for premature starts in the final. Maynard was one of the guilty parties as was Buzianis putting them both out of contention for the meantime. On the restart, Kevin Pritchard made his trademark downwind-end start with the shortest route to the first gybe ahead of the fleet, pursued by Dunkerbeck and Matt Pritchard. At this stage Albeau was still buried in the pack, appearing out of control in the churned up wake of the leaders. After a battle with Bordes that left him swimming at the first mark Albeau was left second from last and nearly a leg behind the leaders, as they rounded the second mark. Pritchard held on to win ahead of Dunkerbeck in second and Diaz in third. Incredibly, outstanding board speed and control allowed Albeau to claw his way back through the fleet to register a fourth place finish, cementing his lead overnight.
Competition was over for the day by this point and skippers meeting set for 10.30 with a first possible start of competition at 11.00. It is hoped that there will be good conditions to continue the wave single elimination.
Be sure to check in again at www.pwaworldtour.com throughout the day to follow all the progress with live updates.