The 2006 Gran Canaria PWA Grand Slam Day Eight
It’s victory for Victor Fernandez (E-42, Fanatic / Simmer Sails), in the men’s wave double elimination final, and Antoine Albeau (F192 Starboard / Neil Pryde Sails) continues to dominate the Slalom 42 by winning all three races today! The competition heats up in the women’s freestyle as the new skool threaten the established names before tomorrow’s crucial semi-final’s.
Quality surf and good wind greeted the wave double elimination finalists this morning and competition was started immediately at 10.00. Kauli Seadi (BRA-253, Quatro/ Naish) opened the scoring with a slick table-top forward, and then crashed a double attempt as Fernandez started a full scale aerial attack. A table–forward, clean backloop, perfect double forward and two table-top pushloops came before Seadi could even reply. When he did it was with a good double forward, although lower than Fernandez’s effort. Fernandez also managed to find good set waves, especially his second where he made a flawless taka, whilst Seadi found a similar quality wave but fell during a Shaka attempt. Fernandez kept scoring all the good surf whilst Seadi looked as if he was trying to match his opponents jump scores, especially as there were three jumps to count. Fernandez sealed the deal with a perfect one-handed backloop and then posted a near perfect scoring ride with an amazing Shaka back onto the face of the wave after many high quality turns. Seadi never really got into the game and was beaten convincingly by wavesailing’s newest hero.
The call to run Slalom 42 next came and Race 7 got underway at 11.00 in 20-25 knots of wind.
Heat one was won by Peter Volwater (H-24 F2 / North Sails) and heat two by Albeau. Failing to qualify from that heat was Finian Maynard (KV-11 F2 / NeilPryde) who got his revenge by winning the losers final.
Volwater was first off the start line of the final but was passed by Albeau, Kevin Pritchard (US-3 Starboard / Maui Sails) and Bjorn Dunkerbeck (E-11, North Sails) by the first gybe mark, where Matt Pritchard (US-10 Tabou / Gaastra) then sneaked past Kevin to move into second place. By the second mark Matt Pritchard was doing well to hold second position, as Dunkerbeck and Kevin Pritchard tried to get inside him during their gybes. Dunkerbeck moved into third place by the third mark, getting past Kevin as Albeau extended his lead and Matt in second put as much distance between him and Dunkerbeck as possible. Albeau won followed by Matt Pritchard in second, and Dunkerbeck in third. Race 8 was scheduled for 12.00 whilst the wind had increased to about 40 knots. Amazingly the competitors were still using 5.5 to 6.5 sqm sails!
Disaster struck for Dunkerbeck and Volwater on the start of heat one as they were disqualified for being over early and sent back to the beach, along with Patrick Diethelm (ITA -20 F2 / North), and Jesper Orth (AUS-10 Starboard / Severne).Arnon Dagan (ISR-1 Fanatic / NeilPryde) won the first heat and Albeau continued his run of success winning heat two. Diethelm won the losers final with a fine display of his speed sailing ability.
PWA Chairmen Jimmy Diaz (ISV-11 F2 / North Sails) got the best start of the final, but it was Kevin Pritchard who led down the first reach, pursued by Albeau, who proceeded to turn inside Pritchard at the first mark to take the lead. Meanwhile Cedric Bordes (F-91 Tabou / Naish) had climbed up to third place and then gybed inside Pritchard at the second mark to go into second. Albeau stayed in the lead over the next three downwind legs, chased by fellow Frenchman Bordes, before Pritchard finally got his chance to take second place, gybing wide around Bordes who fell at the fifth mark. Micah Buzianis (US-34 JP / NeilPryde) by now had forced his way into fourth position and tried to get past Pritchard, but he fell and let another Frenchman, Sylvain Moussilmani (F-73 F2 / Simmer) through. Albeau won by a huge margin, and Pritchard took a well deserved second place with Moussilmani third.
Race Director Juan Antonio Aragon ordered race 9 to start immediately at around 13.00. Matt Pritchard won heat one and no-one was surprised to see Albeau win heat two. Volwater had just missed out on qualifying for the final and made no mistake in winning the losers final.
Matt Pritchard got the best start to the final, with Kevin Pritchard upwind of him and Dunkerbeck at the downwind end. But with typical speed along the first reach it was Albeau who sped through the starting pack and passed leader Kevin who turned too wide at the first gybe allowing Albeau to take the lead, as Matt rounded in third. On the third reach Kevin tried to get upwind of Albeau and take his wind but could not find the speed he wanted going into the shorter reaches near the end of the course. Albeau won yet again, with Kevin second and Matt third.
The racers were given a rest as some of the women’s single elimination 2 was started. Nina Tjernberg (S-165, North) did well to beat Junko Nagoshi (J-11 F2 / Simmer) and Sarah-Quita Offringa (ARU-91 Starboard / Maui Sails) impressed again with her range of switch stance tricks. She beat Astrid Muldoon (F-002 JP / NeilPryde) before losing to Daida Moreno’s (E-64, Mistral/ North Sails) comprehensive bag of tricks. Karin Jaggi (Z-14, F2/ North Sails) had a tough heat against Yoli de Brendt (V-26 Fanatic / North) but advanced to an all Swiss semi-final against Laure Treboux (SUI-4 Naish / Naish), to be held tomorrow. The other semi-final will be an all Moreno match which will go out live on Spanish television tomorrow afternoon along with the final and racing action.
A long distance race was planned to end the afternoon, and the crowd were treated to a spectacular full fleet start out to sea. Sadly the wind shut down halfway through and competition was called off for the day.
Action kicks off at 09,30 tomorrow morning, so why not join the crowds in the stands here by tuning in and following all the progress at www.pwaworldtour.com throughout the day with live updates.