A grueling double elimination has altered the rankings, with questions being asked of the world’s elite. The defending champions were forced to sail with inspiration as freestyle is pushed to a new level here in Lanzarote. Upsets in the men’s second single elimination have ignited a race for the event crown, and stand out performances by the women have shifted key contenders. Overnight, a six-foot swell had churned the reef white, and a 35-knot wind spiraled cyclones in the sand. It was clear from the outset today that fortune would favor the brave.
The Double Elimination.
Yolanda De Brendt (Fanatic/North Sails) and Daida Ruano Moreno (North Sails) quickly accustomed to the turbulent conditions in the day’s opening encounter. Moreno was superb in the air, swift to assert her presence with a fearless stalled forward supporting a comfortable freestyle display. Whilst De Brendt sailed fantastically, boosting high shakas and slick punetas, the Spaniard’s aerial dominance prevailed.
Nevertheless, against a faultless performance by Junko Nagoshi (Tabou/Simmer Style/Da Kine), even a double forward was not enough, as Moreno was eliminated leaving Japan’s first lady on the crest of the wave. Nagoshi climbed the ranks of the passionate and highly competitive women’s fleet, ahead of the talented Laure Treboux (Fanatic / North Sails), fighting her way to the final.
Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard/NeilPryde) showed no intention of sharing her title as the two charged into their showdown. Taking advantage of the swell, Offringa boosted into a massive shaka, and slid into a faultless clew-first flaka, one step ahead of Nagoshi at all times. The windsurfing world has found something special in Offringa, who has succeed in transforming women’s competition to the outstanding level that have we witnessed here today.
Intensity on the water continued to build, as the epic conditions inspired the men to combine big wave stunts with freestyle trickery. The unflinching attitude held by a determined Antxon Otaegui (JP/NeilPryde/MFC) saw the heroic local reach new heights in today’s event. As howling trade winds took hold, Steven Van Broeckhoven (F2/MauiSails), Marcillo Browne (Fanatic/North Sails), and Kiri Thode (Starboard/Gaastra) all fell to the Spaniard who landed clean double forwards in every heat. It was Otaegui’s strength that shone through the rounds, allowing him to muscle through every move in a steadfast, brilliant display.
Jose ‘Gollito’ Estredo (Fanatic/North Sails) waited calmly on the beach for his challenger before taking to the water to defend his lead. Otaegui opened up with a funnel and a one-handed shaka directly in front of Gollito, ruthlessly showing his intentions. The Venezuelan held his nerve brilliantly, responding with a huge air chacho, followed by a one handed shaka. A perfect heat for Estredo gave him the edge, and The World Champion was still on top.
A resolute performance by Otaegui had done enough to leave him in second place, a strong to position to stand in a quest for the top spot.
The Second Single Elimination
Making it through the early heats, Andy Chambers (JP/NeilPryde), Anthony Ruenes (Tabou), Philip Soltysiak (Starboard/Dakine) and Danilo Da Silva (Fanatic/North Sails) all impressed as they adapted their strategies to the punishing conditions.
The second round saw competition intensify, and the raw emotions on show echoed the desire of the brilliant competitors. In an enthused display, Ruenes overcame Taty Frans (Starboard/MauiSails) in a nail biting early draw. One of the most daring and confident performances saw Ruenes plane through a no-handed funnell, with both arms saluting the crowd, right at the apex of the rotation.
Fellow countryman Nicolas Akgazciyan (Starboard/Gun Sails) provided the first major upset of the event, passing Antxon Otaegui in a battle for the semi-final. A split decision came down to the wire, with his lack of diversity being Otaegui’s Achilles Heel. Ironically, the local was marked down for move repetition - two double forwards. Evidently, the standard is so high this year that the sailors must take heed of the judges criteria, and sail a strategically perfect heat.
Progressing to the semi-final, Akgazciyan faced Thode, whilst a possessed Marcillo Browne (Fanatic/North Sails) took on Gollito Estredo. In the ultimate heat of the day, Browne was simply unstoppable, landing an incredible air chacho clew first, sailing away dry. The Brazilian thrived in the tempestuous conditions, and outclassed Estredo, taking him through to the final. Joining him was an equally impressive Thode, filling his score card with the maximum fourteen moves in just four minutes.
The lighter evening winds gave Thode an advantage as the horn announced the men’s final. Browne sailed tactically, staying outside in the stronger winds, and executing his powerful repertoire perfectly. An early triple spock looked to give Thode the edge, but Browne’s power-sailing dominated the heat, and he won unanimously.
In the women’s single, Silvia Alba Orozco (MFC) and Nayra Alonso (Fanatic/Severne) sailed aggressively to make the top eight, despite a strong heat from Michaela Malina (JP/NeilPryde/MFC). Upsetting the order, Yoli De Brendt passed Daida Ruano Moreno (North Sails) in a split decision. Moreno planed away from a flaka diablo, but De Brent’s overall performance kept her in the running.
On top form, Laure Treboux and Yoli De Brendt battled tightly in the loser’s final, whilst Nagoshi and Offringa took top two remaining places. Each of these four women deserves praise, after competing with intensity and brilliance in brutal conditions. De Brendt dug deep into her arsenal of tricks to clinch third place, while Offringa remained the dominant force in the final despite a valiant display by Nagoshi.
1st Round Double Elimination Results:
1 – Jose Estredo
2 – Antxon Otaegui
3 – Kiri Thode
4 – Marcillo Browne
1 - Sarah-Quita Offringa
2 - Junko Nagoshi
3 – Laure Treboux
4 – Daida Ruano Moreno
2nd Round Single Elimination Results:
1 - Marcillo Browne
2 - Kiri Thode
3 - Jose Estredo
4 - Nicolas Akgazciyan
1 - Sarah-Quita Offringa
2 - Junko Nagoshi
3 - Yoli De Brendt
4 - Laure Treboux