The 2006 Gran Canaria PWA Grand Slam Day Seven
Victor Fernandez (E-42, Fanatic / Simmer Sails), clings on to his event lead by the skin of his teeth, and Daida Moreno (E-64, Mistral/ North Sails) wins the final against her sister Iballa Moreno (E-63, Mistral/ North Sails). In a cruel twist of fate, the wind shut down just as the men’s final begun denying Kauli Seadi (BRA-253, Quatro/ Naish) the chance to challenge Fernandez – for the time being!
Skippers’ meeting was at 09.30 and Head Judge Duncan Coombs kept all wavesailing competitors on hold until conditions improved at 14.00. First up was the re-sail of Peter Volwater (H-24 F2 / North Sails) versus Vidar Jensen (N-44, North) abandoned yesterday. Both sailors rode the waves powerfully with huge backside hits in the overhead surf. There were several double forward loops and a great back loop with one hand off all the way round from Volwater. This probably made the difference in a closely scored heat, and he advanced to face Bjorn Dunkerbeck (E-11, North Sails).
Dunkerbeck opened his wave scoring account with an excellent wave 360, whilst Volwater fought back with a good frontside aerial. After waiting outside tactically for the set waves, Dunkerbeck wiped out on a waveride and his outhaul exploded, requiring his caddy to spring into action. During the changeover Volwater landed a perfect double-forward loop, right in front of the crowds on the beach. Volwater won, and went on to meet Seadi to decide who would progress to the semi-final.
Women’s heat 63 was next and Nayra Alonso (E-4, Fanatic/ Severne) faced a tough challenge from Uli Hoelzl (AUT-123). Hoetzl had already beaten some experienced competitors earlier in this competition, but Alonso put up a firm fight. Solid wave-riding and cleanly executed forward loops were enough to see her through to take on Karin Jaggi (Z-14, F2/ North Sails).
Jaggi opened up with a planing forward loop, showing Alonso that she meant business. But Alonso’s local knowledge was paying off as she racked up the points with excellent riding of both backside and frontside sections. As the heat progressed they both had pretty equal scoring jumps, but Jaggi crashed a potentially vital backloop late in the heat. Then, in the dying seconds Jaggi caught a really long ride on a set wave, and the judge’s awarded her the win.
Seadi started his heat against Volwater with two massive one-handed back loops, but crashed them both. Volwater immediately replied with an amazing double forward loop. Seadi, looking overpowered, desperately tried to match it, but crashed two consecutive attempts. Only a perfect shaka off the lip back onto the waves face, and fluidly into his next turn got him back into the game. Seadi continued to dominate the wave riding while Volwater was leading the aerial attack. A cleanly landed double forward by Seadi in the dying seconds earned him the win and a semi-final clash with Kevin Pritchard (US-3 Starboard / Maui Sails).
In the women’s semi-final, Iballa Moreno (E-63, Mistral/ North Sails) started her scoring straight from the starting signal as Jaggi lost time in the shorebreak after a falling from a frontside snap. Moreno also scored the set waves right outside near the point. Jaggi tried to raise the bar with one of her trademark pushloops but crashed twice as Moreno bailed out of an impressive double forward attempt. Iballa had clearly won and advanced to meet her sister Daida in the final showdown.
Seadi and Pritchard’s battle to win a place in the final saw an impressive aerial assault. Pritchard started with a one-handed pushloop, and a one-handed one-footed backloop. Seadi replied, also with a perfect one-handed, one-footed backloop, followed by a tabletop-forward loop, and a pushloop-tabletop! Pritchard had longer wave rides and showed-off with forwards off the lip and backside airs, but it was Seadi who stole the show with another perfect shaka off the lip before a perfect double forward loop in the last minute sealed his win.
In the ladies final, Daida started the heat with a textbook planing forward loop straight on the starting signal, followed by a table-top forward. Iballa replied with a Table-forward of her own, although hers was marginally lower. Daida then landed an amazing forward loop with one hand off all the way round, before pulling a double forward loop out of the bag! Iballa showed impressive wave riding skill and wave selection, but it was Daida’s superior riding power and massive backside hits that earned her the higher wave scores, and a well deserved overall event victory.
Seadi and Fernandez were sent out for their final after a one heat break, during which the wind had got a lot lighter. Sure enough, half way through the already extended heat duration, it was cancelled due to shifting winds and huge patches of glassy water. The surf quality had deteriorated too and Seadi, for the time being, was denied the chance to challenge Fernandez for the event victory.
Tomorrows forecast is not positive for completing this double elimination, but skippers’ meeting is set for 09.30 for wavesailors and freestylers, and 10.30 for the Slalom 42 fleet. This 2006 season has already given some incredible, nail-biting finishes. The countdown to who’ll take the event winners title here in Pozo is looking like being no exception. There are still a potential 9 Slalom 42 races to be held, and 3 double eliminations of Women’s freestyle to go, ensuring no shortage of action.
Be sure to check in again at the NEW LOOK www.pwaworldtour.com site throughout the day tomorrow, to follow all the progress with live updates.