Day 7 - Unpredictable winds and heavy rainstorms plagued Westerland’s iconic beach on the seventh day of competition, causing havoc for the start of the second freestyle single elimination.
After a dusk ‘til dawn of wave action the previous day, a promising forecast had the freestyle fleet all set to do battle, and eager to get back on the water to strut their stuff. Unfortunately the wind didn’t quite cooperate and much of the day was spent either basking in the sun or hiding from the squalls - Sylt managed to deliver all four seasons in one day.
Strong gusts of wind kept tempting the competitors out onto the water, and eventually some of the first round heats were completed in a more constant 12-18 knots. This was however short lived. The squalls soon returned, and so did the light periods that followed.
In the heats that did take place, the young Russian, Yegor Popretinskiy (JP, NeilPryde, MFC) managed to land an array of freestyle trickery including a smooth switch chachoo, a flaka diablo, and an excellent forward loop, to take down local lad, Fabian Webber (Fanatic, North, MFC). Popretinskiy sailed extremely well in the previous round so everyone will be expecting him to perform to the same high standard this time.
Frenchman Leo Ray (Naish, Naish, MFC) also nailed numerous complex moves during his heat, but it turned out he didn’t actually need to because his rival competitor, Johannes Witte (Naish, Naish, MFC), had already gone home. Ray showed excellent sportsmanship by completing the full heat and performing many crowd-pleasing moves for those gathered on the beach.
For the rest of the heats, the conditions were so light and variable that only the 2008 World Champion, Jose ‘Gollito’ Estredo (Fanatic, North), was able to express himself fully and move through to the next round. Estredo landed his full quota of moves including lollipops, flaka’s, and bob’s whilst others failed to land even one move.
Heat 13 started and stopped numerous times, but in the end, the wind failed to play ball, and there was no option but to be cancel the competition for the rest of the day. For these heats to count, a full double elimination has to be completed. Therefore as it stands, Elton ‘Taty’ Frans (Starboard, MauiSails) still leads the freestyle fleet.