Day 1 - The most impressive men’s and women’s freestyle fleets descended on the golden sands of Lanzarote’s Las Cucharas beach today, but the wind failed to show up with them meaning they’ll have to spend another night agonizing over who’ll be crowned the king and queen of the Canaries.
Initial signs of wind proved fruitless after it teased the competitors throughout the day, but was never quite enough for official competition to commence. However, this didn’t stop Jose ‘Gollito’ Estredo (Fanatic, North) and a bunch of other high profile sailors from hitting the water early to practice in the light breeze. They even managed to get planing on occasions on the way in after a few pumps and a small wave gave them a helping hand.
And, despite the conditions, Gollito took the opportunity to unleash his latest weapon of mass destruction which looked a bit like a back to sail bob variation. This then enthused even more of the sailors to hit the water, including Tonky Frans (F2, Gaastra), and Anthony Ruenes (Tabou, Vandal) who quickly turned their attentions to learning the new move. Needless to say, Gollito was nailing them with his eyes shut whilst the others fell at his feet. It’ll be interesting to see how the judges score the move when the competition gets underway.
With plenty of time spent on standby, we took the opportunity to quiz Lanzarote’s local freestyle hero, Antxon Otaegui (JP, NeilPryde, MFC).
PWA: What can we expect here in Costa Teguise with the current forecast?
AO: “Well, after the amazing conditions we had last year I think the sailors were hoping for the same again. Today the wind looked like it was going to pick up, and it was on the limit for a while, if we’d had just a few more knots we would have completed a single elimination at the very least. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite reach the desired speed, but it looks like there will be more wind tomorrow.”
PWA: What’s in store for us then?
AO: “It’ll be perfect 5.3 weather with 100L boards tomorrow. It also looks like it’ll be pretty flat, but perhaps at low tide we will get some steeper ramps on the reef to do big shakas or air chachoos.”
PWA: Are you hoping for big ramps?
AO: “That is what I’ve been praying for, along with strong winds. But, it doesn’t look like it’s going to be like that. Hopefully we’ll still get some ramps to pull the big moves off.”
PWA: Who should we be watching if those are the conditions we experience?
AO: “For sure you’ll have to keep an eye on Gollito, but also Steven Van Broeckhoven (F2, Gaastra). He’s very good in lighter winds, he consistently lands his moves, and he knows how to compete. Kiri Thode (Starboard, Gaastra) could also be a contender in those conditions, and of course Taty Frans (Starboard, MauiSails). It’s not just the top few that everyone should be watching though. This year, the level is so high, but it is also very close. In previous years it was easy to say who would be on top, but this year almost any of the top 16 could go through if they have a good heat.”
PWA: Away from the competition in Costa Teguise, where else is good to sail in Lanzarote?
AO: “Normally if the wind is blowing northerly like it was today, I’d travel up to the wave spots in the north because the wind kicks in quite well up there in that direction. We have plenty of spots that also work during the winter including Las Salinas where you can get clean mast high waves. The others I’m afraid I’ll have to keep a secret otherwise my friends will kill me!”
With the current forecast, the organisers remain hopeful that we’ll see some explosive freestyle action before long in the beautiful bay of Las Cucharas.