This year on November 14th the beautiful island of Sal, Cabo Verde will greet the world’s most impressive professional windsurfers as they prepare to battle it out for their final 2010 rankings. Regarded by many of the world’s top pros as the best wavesailing location on the planet, they will undoubtedly find it hard to contain their excitement as they’re given the opportunity to hit those perfect lips at Ponta Preta! However, add in the element of competition, those precious world cup points, wildcard entries, the €30,000 prize pot, and of course the rocks, and the nerves will soon kick in.
Only one World Champion will be crowned, and with the rankings wide open, it’s bound to be an exciting showdown between the most talented competitors from across the globe. With the fleet narrowed down to just the top thirty-two, the level will be sky high, and with a few wild cards, including former PWA wave world champion, Jason Polakow (JP, NeilPryde) thrown into the mix, it’ll make for the most impressive wave sailing we’ve seen this year! And don’t forget, you’ll be able to watch it all in real-time on PWA Live TV.
High profile resident, and two time PWA wave world champion, Josh Angulo (Angulo, Gun) has played an instrumental part in making this incomparable wave final happen along with the event's main sponsor the Cape Verdian Investment Agency. Despite Angulo announcing his retirement from official PWA wave competition last year, he'll be returning to the scene to bust out some of his notoriously high one-handed aerials in front of his home crowds in an attempt to stamp his authority on the PWA’s finest.
Angulo commented: "We're firing on all cylinders at the prospect of closing the 2010 season in Cabo Verde. Historically the biggest finals ever were in Hawaii, and now Cabo Verde has jumped into the driver's seat with the billing of 'best windsurf spot in the world'. The mixture of wavesailing's legends clashing their epoxy swords with the PWA warriors of today should make for one of the heaviest showdowns of all time. The early winter period of November brings with it fresh 'alizes' breezes as well as pulsing Atlantic swells which combine for a lethal cocktail of 'Ponta Preta on the rocks'. I personally look forward to a one-off wave competition appearance and will have to buckle down to try and hold my top spot in the lineup, but most of all I look forward to once again welcoming the world, alongside CapeVerde Investimentos and Camara Do Sal, to the friendly islands of Cabo Verde."
Wind & Waves
We asked the double world title holder, and two time Cabo Verde champion, Josh Angulo for his thoughts on the conditions at this time of year.
Josh commented: “November is typically the time of year when the trade winds return and the winter swells start rolling in. Everybody thinks it only works in Feb/March, but actually many of our best sessions are in November and we pray this year turns out the same. I'm confident that between the 15th and 23rd we'll get a bombing swell with wind and once again Ponta Preta will show why it is the world's showcase event. This year beyond the windsurfing, the event has expanded into Santa Maria where we will have some awesome cultural events. The Cabo Verde event is basically becoming a must attend watersports festival with the coolest vibe possible. There will also be live web-streaming which can be seen at www.caboverdeworldcup.com amongst other websites.”
With no discard available due to the lack of waves in Sylt, a number of major upsets to form could see a whole host of sailors in the running for the world title, but there are four sailors who have given themselves a better chance…
The current world number one, Victor Fernandez (Fanatic, North, MFC) has been in Cabo Verde for almost a month now, and is well placed to have his name etched in the PWA’s history books. With an event win and a second place under his belt from the previous two counting events, a podium finish in Cabo Verde would ensure he walked away with the 2010 world title. However, it won’t be an easy task - Fernandez is known as the king of Pozo, not Ponta Preta…
Fernandez said: “I came early in order to get very comfortable with the ocean conditions and overall vibe of this island. I also went very early to both Pozo and Denmark this year and that tactic paid off. So far here in Sal I’ve surfed and windsurfed every day, pretty much alone, and some days with just one or two people out. I’m getting my equipment tuned up, and I’m feeling comfortable. This is the first time I've ever entered the final event in first place and it definitely feels good. Here in Sal we've been well received and are having a great time. It's definitely become one of my favorite places to visit.”
Currently Fernandez’s nearest rival for the overall world title is former freestyle world champion, Ricardo Campello (JP, NeilPryde). Consistency has paid dividends for the Venezuelan so far this season with two third place finishes seeing him comfortably in second overall. If Fernandez falls, Campello could easily swipe the trophy from under his nose.
Another port tack Pozo specialist within easy reach of the world title is 2009 Gran Canaria wave champion, Philip Koster (Starboard, NeilPryde, Dakine). Up until a couple of days ago the teenager was a Ponta Preta virgin. However, local hero Angulo soon got him out there. Koster recalls: “A couple of days ago I was hanging out at the Angulo Beach Club because there was not much happening. Josh came and got me because there were some small waves at Ponta Preta, so I headed over there with him. The waves were small and close to the rocks and the wind was very light, but it was cool to get my first session under my belt. Josh was telling me how to line up and showed me a few things, so it was a good way to have my first ever Ponta experience!”
One of the favorites (amongst others) to win the event is three times former world wave champion, Kauli Seadi (JP, NeilPryde, MFC). Throughout the event’s three-year history, he’s finished second to Angulo twice, and claimed victory ahead of Angulo once. After a shaky start to the season, he’s left himself with a lot of work to do in order to claim the world title, but it’s still possible. Seadi said: “It's good to be back in Cabo Verde. I have a real affinity with the place. The people treat me like family, so I feel more and more at home each year. I'm in the run for the title, but Victor has the lead, which puts me in a position where I definitely need to win here to give myself a chance. It’ll be a big challenge, but my equipment and focus is rock-solid, so I feel strong going into the event, and look forward to sailing here in Cabo Verde.”
Although not capable of claiming the world championship crown, a couple of the wild cards could easily knock out one of the favorites on their path of destruction to taking the event title!
A name that’s synonymous with Ponta Preta is two times PWA wave world champion, Josh Angulo who has gained a one-off entry. With two Cabo Verde event victories, and more local knowledge than anyone else, he’ll definitely be charging his way through the fleet from the word go.
The other main wild card to watch out for here in Cabo Verde is former wave world champion, and out-right wavesailing legend, Jason Polakow (JP, NeilPryde). In 2008 Polakow stylishly rode his way into third, and in 2007 he stormed his way back through the double elimination to finish fourth.
If Ponta Preta is firing, all eyes will be glued to these two PWA superstars.
The most talked about contest of the year will be streamed live, so you can check it out wherever you are in the world, as and when it happens. Watch the extreme action unfold in real-time by tuning into either PWA Live TV or www.caboverdeworldcup.com from Monday onwards.