Josh Angulo returns the Cabo Verde crown to its homeland after defeating Kauli Seadi twice in the double elimination.
Day five of competition saw the Ponta Preta reef switch back on, delivering a seemingly endless supply of huge sets, coupled with hammering 25 knot wind to finish up the double elimination in style.
Seizing the opportunity to compete in the classic Cabo Verde conditions, the wave fleet hit the water bright and early at 8.45am to pick up the action at heat 38, where it had left off previously.
The second round of the double elimination saw some stand out performances from the likes of: Ricardo Campello (JP / NeilPryde / MFC), who stepped his riding up to another level to advance. Camille Juban (Gun Sails / MFC), whose super vertical attacks on the wave were both impressive and technically brilliant, and Jason Polakow (JP / NeilPryde), who had far and away the fewest waves of the event and still managed to advance thanks to consistent excellence on the wave.
Entering the third round of the double elimination, mounting pressure meant that the sailors had to pull out all the stops to stand a chance of making it through the heats. Trips to the rocks became all too frequent, and the magnitude of crashes went through the roof.
Stamping their names on round three were Ross Williams (Tabou / Gaastra), who took the lions share of the waves on offer, and somehow was always in the right place at the right time. Similarly, Marcilio Browne (Fanatic / North) dug deep into his bag of tricks to execute some amazingly tight turns and super vertical cut backs that his rivals simply couldn’t match.
Thomas Traversa (Tabou / Gaastra) brought his unique flare and out-and-out attitude to his heat, which saw risk be rewarded with a highly credible pass through to the next round. Joining him was Moroccan Boujmaa Guilloul (Starboard / Severne / MFC), who fended off tough opposition with some floaty aerials and late smacks that outclassed his rivals.
Entering a four way standoff with only two positions available in the next round, Williams, Guilloul, Browne and Traversa went to blows in barreling mast high waves and forever increasing wind.
When crunch time came, Traversa blew his chances, gambling super late smacks and deep bottom turns that were ultimately punished by the brutal Ponta Preta reef. Also departing was Guilloul, who notched up one truly brilliant wave, but failed to find a second to add to his score sheet, paying the heavy price of departure for his mistake.
This left Williams and Browne entering the two-man stage of the elimination, with only one place to play for. Williams was on a roll after dominating the four previous heats, but Browne was firing. The Brazilian was just going off, cranking the tightest bottom turns before smacking contorted top turns right under the lip. Williams performed well, but Browne was literally unbeatable.
Advancing to meet Francisco Goya (Goya Sails / MFC), Browne knew he had to deliver a solid performance, but rival Goya just wasn’t in the groove. After dominating in the single elimination Goya struggled to find form, and essentially gave Browne a pass through to the next round after an unconvincing display.
Meeting Kevin Pritchard (Starboard / Gaastra / MFC / Dakine), Browne’s nerve was put to the test. Pritchard is impossibly consistent, and while sometimes lacking the flare of his rivals he rarely delivers a poor performance. This heat was no exception. Outstanding wave selection, time and time again, combined with a fluent and well-timed attack on the Ponta Preta lip gave Browne a harsh reality check. Pritchard had done enough to secure third overall for the event, leaving Browne, who’d worked his way through the double elimination, in a highly impressive fourth.
So, the all too familiar showdown began. In a rerun of the 2007 World Cup, Kauli Seadi (JP / NeilPryde / MFC /Mormaii), who’d won the single elimination, had to defend his throne from the local, Josh Angulo (Angulo / MauiSails / Dakine). In this instance, Seadi’s defense was over thrown by Angulo’s wealth of knowledge at Ponta Preta. The pair would have to sail head to head one last time to decide the outright event winner.
With a swarming local crowed chanting the name of their national windsurfing hero, the final began. Angulo drew the first blood with a colossal off the lip hit, but landed deep in the bowl, and ended up getting washed onto the rocks. Seadi seized the opportunity, putting Angulo on the back foot with two solid rides.
Returning, Angulo blew everyone away with a nine-point wave ride, a rare spectacle to behold, and something truly inspiring. Following this up, Angulo launched into his usual routine of insanely late under the lip hits and perfectly timed aerials. Seadi knew he had to deliver, and right on queue, threw a perfectly landed goiter on the wave face.
The heat was intense and virtually impossible to call, with two very different styles unified by the much-revered Ponta Preta Break. Crunch time came in the huge event tent, before hundred of ecstatic local fans. Angulo had reigned supreme, returning the Cabo Verde crown to its motherland in emotional scenes rarely seen at windsurfing events.