Day 6: Estredo and Offringa take the honors as the first day of freestyle action is underway.
Jose ‘Gollito’ Estredo (Fanatic/North Sails/MFC) and Sarah Quita Offringa (Starboard/NeilPryde) start their campaign with a perfect run, as they take the lead in the first single elimination. After two outstanding performances, the reigning World Champions start as they mean to go on.
The 30-knot offshore winds funneled over the dunes at Sotavento beach, creating the ultimate freestyle conditions for the pros. The flat water was broken up by the occasional wave, as an incredible display of power-freestyle stole the show. The grand stand was full throughout the contest, as the crowd withstood the sand and wind to catch a glimpse of the world’s best freestylers in action.
The men’s fleet, culminated in an outstanding final between Jose ‘Gollito’ Estredo (Fanatic/North Sails/MFC) and Marcillo Browne (Fanatic/North Sails), who went head to head in the first single elimination. Both sailors had been fantastic, passing the excellent Kenneth Danielsen (RRD/Simmer Style/MFC) and Ian Mouro Lemos (JP/NeilPryde), amongst others, on the way to the ultimate heat.
The final was a clear demonstration of intentions: Estredo showing he was the man to beat, and Browne making it clear that he was going to give everything. Having enjoyed success for so long, Gollito sailed with confidence, which somehow made his sailing seem leagues ahead of his competitors. He nailed an incredible combination of a shaka, and air flaka and his trademark one-handed ponch, whilst Browne tried to push too hard, and fell on his opening moves. He soon recovered to nail an impressive air chacho, and one handed air funnel. In the end, Estredo proved too much, and took his first win at this Fuerteventura contest.
Tonky Frans (F2/Gaastra) stole the show in the semi final, with his massive moves getting the crowd to their feet. Frans was the first sailor to land a pushloop off the tiny waves, as well as his amazing new move – the forward-flaka. Against Frans, the number two in the World, Kiri Thode (Starboard/Gaastra) at times looked amazing, but he never rose to the heights that we saw in Lanzarote. His heat was crowned with a super smooth switch-spock 900. After a great performance by both sailors, Frans took the edge, and finished the single elimination in third place.
The highlights through the earlier stages came in the form of Andre Paskowski (Fanatic/North Sails), Norman Günzlein (JP/NeilPryde), Leo Ray (Naish/Naish) and Steven Van Broeckhoven (F2/MauiSails) who were all excellent in the single. Paskowski in particular had a very tight battle with Yegor Popretinskiy (JP/NeilPryde/MFC), whose aggressive sailing style has made him stand out in the pre-event warm up sessions. Eventually Paskowski’s consistency and powerful style was enough to let him clinch the win.
Quincy Offringa (Starboard/Severne) also looked very strong, smashing out powerful ponches just inches from the beach, whilst the new face Jakub Kosmowski (RRD/Simmer Style/Dakine) had a brilliant run until he came to face Estredo. The young Polish talent was very impressive today, passing Levi Lenz (Dakine) early on, and sailing brilliantly against the World Champion, unlucky not to have the variation to beat Estredo.
The early rounds of the double elimination were also completed, where a great performance by Björn Saragoza (Starboard/Hot Sails Maui) boosted him through the rounds until he came against Offringa. Phillip Soltysiak (Starboard/Dakine) Sailed well this morning, but was unlucky to come against Thode in an early heat of the single elimination. He put in a good performance in the double, and will be looking to climb even further up the rankings tomorrow.
Taty Frans (Starboard/MauiSails), Andraz Zan (RRD/Loft Sails) and Davy Scheffers (Tabou/Gaastra) were the standout performers in the double elimination so far, and after a poor start to the day, they will be thrilled to have sailed excellently and into the top eight. The young Scheffers was particularly impressive, and has such has been given with the coveted PWA Sailor of the day award.
The women’s single elimination was a fantastic exhibition of skill. The final was between the two heavyweights of the discipline, and once again, the victory went to the incredible Sara Quita Offringa (Starboard/NeilPryde) who was simply exceptional. Offringa nailed a perfect air funnel and a switch spock 540 in her final heat, this on top of her already incredible repertoire.
Second place went to Daida Ruano Moreno (North Sails) who received a huge cheer for her perfect one-handed ponch. Moreno sailed with her usual powerful style that helped her to pass the excellent Nayra Alonso (Fanatic/Severne) and her talented twin, Iballa Moreno (North Sails), on her road to the final.
Yoli Freites De Brendt (Fanatic/North Sails) was on great form, opening each of her heats with full-speed flakas and punetas. De Brendt passed the super-talented Junko Nagoshi (Tabou/Simmer Style/Dakine) after a great heat, and then progressed to beat Iballa Ruano Moreno in the loser’s final. Yoli will have to maintain today’s outstanding performance level if she is to withstand challenges from her competition tomorrow, but she can leave the beach on a high after a great day on the water.
Laure Treboux (Fanatic/North Sails) will look forward to another chance to improve her standings, after a close heat with Iballa Moreno left her out of the contest earlier than she would have liked. Treboux is incredibly talented, and will be amongst the favorites to climb the double ladder in tomorrow’s competition.
Heike Reimann (Hot Sails Maui) competed with passion this morning, landing clean spocks and spock 540s, as well as combining some old school moves to her heats to add variation. This gave her the edge over Olga Raskina (JP/NeilPryde/MFC) who nailed a planing grubby in their opening battle.
The conditions here at Fuerteventura continue to provide an epic show ground for the world’s best, allowing them to compete boldly in front of their adoring spectators. With yet more wind forecast tomorrow, we are sure to have another spectacle on our hands, as the reigning title holders’ fight to retain their glory.