The first round of the men’s single elimination wave event has begun, with eight heats completed on a rising tide. After a busy registration morning, competitors were given the chance to perform on one the world’s most impressive stages, where ballistic winds tore through the wings once again.
Pozo Izquierdo has positioned itself as one of the highlights of the PWA World tour, thanks to a combination of gale-force winds and rolling swells. The volcanic beach curves around Gran Canaria’s barren shoreline like an Ancient Roman amphitheatre, enveloping the competitors in an atmospheric and testing surrounding.
The conditions today were no exception. The PWA elite were welcomed to this familiar showground by 40-knot gusts that dared them to the water, and after the morning’s unavoidable administration, competition began on schedule at 1400 sharp.
These early rounds proved successful for the local entrants, as they cruised through their heats. Notable performances by Marcos Perez (Exocet/Gun Sails), Ludovic Jossin (F2/The Loft) and Eleazar Alonso were enough to see them through to the more competitive and highly charged second round.
Alex Mussolini (Tabou) was up to old tricks, instantly wowing the spectators as he took to the water. His stylish jumps and wave-riding excellence left him head and shoulders above his early competition. Also impressing was the young Catalonian Aleix Sanllehy (North Sails), who made the most of the dropping swell to sail his way into the limelight. His incredible jumping skill, and technical wave riding were no doubt enough to grab the attention of the event favorite, Victor Fernandez (Fanatic/North Sails/MFC), who watched from the beach in earnest.
All eyes will surely be on Fernandez as we head into day two. The brilliant young Spaniard has proven his mettle by winning the event here three times in as many years, and as such he is certainly the man to beat.
Alas, by no means will it be a one horse race: the competition this year is fiercer than ever, young blood in the sport will push the limits, and the magic of huge, new moves may be enough to change the undercurrents of power that have dominated Gran Canaria for so long.
As of yet, there has been no action for the Women’s Fleet, or for the Slalom Fleet, while we wait in anticipation for the week’s forecast to settle in. The women will no doubt be gearing up to challenge Daida Ruano Moreno (North Sails) and Iballa Ruano Moreno (North Sails), whilst the slalom sailors know that Antoine Albeau (JP/NeilPryde) is the only man to beat.
Today’s action has reminded the windsurfing world why this event is held with such high regard amongst the pros. The colossal scale of the conditions, and the magnitude of the pride involved, acts as a catalyst for excellence. The sailors will push themselves to their physical limits to succeed in Pozo; and they will need to if they are to stand a chance at this epic venue.