The 2006 Gran Canaria PWA Grand Slam Day Four
Victor Fernandez (E-42, Fanatic / Simmer Sails), finally delivers, with an outstanding victory over Kevin Pritchard (US-3 Starboard / Maui Sails) in the single elimination final in Pozo. Daida Moreno (E-64, Mistral/ North Sails) convincingly beats Iballa Moreno (E-63, Mistral/ North Sails) to seal top spot in the women’s waves.
Skippers meeting was held at 09.30 and Head Judge Duncan Coombs placed all wave sailors on hold until the surf improved on the pushing tide, which it did around 10.30.
The early heats saw action normally reserved for the later stages, especially by the local Pozo gang, such as Jonas Ceballos’ (E-40, Fanatic / North) one handed double forward attempts, and Marcos Perez’s (E-7) stylish taka. Vidar Jensen (N-44, North) also went for a one-handed double forward in his heat against Ricardo Campello (V-111, JP/ Neil Pryde), and landed well before catapulting! This along with some solid riding helped him beat Campello and progress to the quarter finals where he eventually lost out to Kevin Pritchard.
The early round action continued with no-one holding the moves back for the later stages. Kauli Seadi (BRA-253, Quatro/ Naish) landed double forwards, a table-top forward, a one footed backloop and a one handed back loop as he dispensed of Robert Sand (D-62, Tabou / Gaastra).
There was also ‘Heat of Champions’ when Josh Angulo (CV-1), and Scott McKercher (KA-181, Starboard/ Severne), met. McKercher had strong wave selection and used his unique full-rail style to work some great front and backside sections. However some crashed jumps probably cost him the heat as Angulo matched his riding skill, especially on his back hand, and executed superior scoring jumps such as table forwards and a super high one-handed back loop.
Bjorn Dunkerbeck (E-11, North Sails) had also progressed well to face Pritchard in the first semi-final, and Seadi earnt his second semi-final match against Fernandez by despatching Angulo. Dunkerbeck gave an outstanding wave riding performance by making both frontside and backside wave 360’s, and solid jumps. But Pritchard was superior in the air and his riding good enough to see him past the legend on his local patch. In the second semi, Fernandez looked like he’d blown it as Seadi racked up the points with one-handed one-footed back loops and radical rides. Then suddenly in the last few minutes Fernandez kicked into gear, posting huge scores for a perfect ankle-dry double forward, a backside 360, and an enourmous pushloop-tabletop. He threw in a shaka back onto the wave for good measure in the dying seconds, and moved on to meet the leader of the old guard Kevin Pritchard.
In the Women’s ladder Steffi Wahl (G-303, F2 / North) sailed well to beat Silvia Alba (E-67) before Daida Moreno knocked her out of the quarter finals. There was also a tough heat between Annemarie Reichman (H-98, Naish/ Naish) and Karin Jaggi (Z-14, F2/ North Sails). Jaggi had more waves but with only one to count, the scores were close. In the end it came down to jump scores where a great pushloop by Jaggi outscored Reichmann. Jaggi’s run then ended when a determined Iballa Moreno knocked her out of the semi-final as Daida Moreno took out Nayra Alonso (E-4, Fanatic / Severne).
Another classic Moreno vs Moreno final started with a bang as Daida smacked a huge frontside aerial right under the judge’s noses. A perfect backloop, and a taka attempt followed as Iballa fought back with clean forwards, a backloop and some solid rides. She crashed a one handed table top but Daida made a tweaked ninja kick followed by another good frontside air into tailslide. This sealed the win in difficult conditions with strong winds and scarce set waves in the 10 minute heat duration. Jaggi won the women’s losers final against Alonso and Seadi beat Dunkerbeck in the men’s losers final as the conditions deteriorated.
The waves just didn’t seem to come to Pritchard in the final. Even though he pulled his trademark high altitude one footed one-handed backloop, he fell on a wave 360 leaving the door open for the Spanish hotshot. Meanwhile Fernandez had got into the flow with another perfect double forward and a sky-high pushloop-tabletop backed up with several good rides in the dying waves. He couldn’t repeat his quarter final pushloop off the lip, but had already done enough to impress the judges, winning the single elimination unanimously over Pritchard. It seems Fernandez has finally fulfilled his promise of greatness by raising the standard required to excel at this level. A conservative approach will not pay dividends on The PWA World Tour any longer, as the days of the old skool are surely numbered?
Skippers meeting is set for 09.30 and the intention is to run the double eliminationn of waves, as the forecast is for a better swell than is likely at the end of the week.
Be sure to check in again at www.pwaworldtour.com throughout the day to follow all the progress with live updates.