Day 1 - Tension mounts as the world championship countdown continues in Cabo Verde following a dead calm first day in the wavesailing Mecca.
The PWA’s most prestigious wave sailors were greeted by a light offshore breeze and zero swell this morning forcing head judge, Duncan Coombs to immediately put the contest on hold. And, after a fruitless afternoon recce round the island, the sailors were released, leaving them to fight it out another day.
With little action on the water, the TV crew turned their attentions to gaining the inside line, whilst we took a more mathematical approach to the competition to work out who could actually still take the title.
A Fighting Chance
With no discard for the year, the most exciting element to this week is that the title race remains wide open. Looking at this year’s figures from a purely factual point of view, everyone inside the top thirteen in the overall rankings – from Victor Fernandez (Fanatic, North, MFC) to Ross Williams (Tabou, Gaastra) - has the opportunity to walk away from Cabo Verde as the 2010 PWA world champion. For the likes of Williams this would however only be possible if everyone inside the top ten failed to progress through the first round – the probability of which must be next to nothing!
The True Title Race
A more realistic view on the race for the title would be to take into account the sailors previous results from the Cabo Verde competition’s three-year history, and of course the likelihood of those advancing around them.
The first candidate to assess would be the current tour leader, Fernandez who would certainly secure the title if he places himself in the final four. However, over the past three years he hasn’t actually managed to finish inside the top ten at Cabo Verde, which – if that were to happen again – would leave the door wide open for the likes of Ricardo Campello (JP, NeilPryde, MFC), Philip Koster (Starboard, NeilPryde, Dakine), and former world champion, Kauli Seadi (JP, NeilPryde, MFC) to take advantage. And, depending upon how far Fernandez progresses (or doesn’t as it were), perhaps Dany Bruch (Patirk, Severne, MFC), Robby Swift (JP, NeilPryde), and so on down the rankings. Fernandez is the key player to keep an eye on, not just due to his number one ranking, but because as he progresses, he’ll destroy other’s chances of claiming that title.
Campello would be the next logical sailor to take a look at. Two third places this year sees the Venezuelan with 6 points overall, and a win here would see him happy on 7. But, with Fernandez on just 3 points at the moment, Campello still wouldn’t snatch the title from Fernandez if he manages to finish inside the top 4, because although they would both be on 7 points, the Spaniard would still take it on a tiebreak rule. However, a closer look at the history of the event reveals that this result has a fairly low probability. It was only last year that Campello slipped inside the top half of the fleet in Cabo Verde. But, he does seem to be making his mark on the wave tour this year…
For the current world number three, Philip Koster the mathematical method doesn’t really work because his first experience of hitting a lip in Cape Verde was just the other day… However, taking a less numeric approach, this lack of experience in such a star-studded fleet could be seen as an indicator that he might not progress that far, opening the doors for his rivals to pass. On the other hand, if Koster were to win, Campello didn’t make the top 2, and Fernandez only managed an equal 7th, Koster would take the crown.
Perhaps the most likely candidate to overthrow Fernandez however is the 2007 and 2009 Cabo Verde runner up, and 2008 Cabo Verde event champion, Kauli Seadi. With a solid history of results at both Ponta Preta and Little Ho’okipa, it may be time to place your bets at the local bookie. But, even if Seadi does take the event title, due to his poor result in Pozo, Fernandez need only finish 5th equal to keep the title, and even Campello could remain ahead of Seadi if he finds his place in the top 4.
With such a huge number of ‘what ifs’ nothing will be certain until the competitors are whittled down, ensuring an exciting finale to an incredible year on the PWA Wave World Tour!
Eye On The Horizon
A solid swell is forecast to build early tomorrow morning, so with any luck we’ll see the world’s best wave warriors battling it out on these prestigious breaks before the week is through.