Gran Canaria Grand Slam Day 8
Day 8: Köster and Moreno are unstoppable in an epic final showdown.
15-year-old Philip Köster (Starboard/NeilPryde/Dakine) has proven that he has what it takes to be the next big name in windsurfing by winning the 2009 Pozo wave event in a convincing style. Daida Ruano Moreno (North Sails) retains her title, and is on course for the number one spot in the overall rankings.
The atmospheric final day in Gran Canaria demonstrated the incredible new level that Professional Windsurfing has reached. A solid swell peeled into the bay, and a 50-knot wind ripped through the contest zone throughout the day. The final day of the Grand Slam proved to be everything we had hoped for.
After an epic fight in the double elimination, the stage was once again set for the ultimate show down between the event’s two dominant challengers. Philip Köster (Starboard/NeilPryde/Dakine) and Victor Fernandez (Fanatic/North Sails/MFC) went head to head, once again, to decide who was going to take the crown as the King of Pozo.
In a breathtaking heat, Fernandez opened well with a routine of high scoring jumps, and a smooth wave ride. Köster responded brilliantly with a massive forward, and a one handed backloop. Both sailors were getting incredible height on their jumps – often above the line of the horizon, and jumping for six seconds before they started a rotation. The crowd cheered as these two incredible men matched each other evenly.
Both Köster and Fernandez were superb, but once again the young star did enough to clinch the title. Köster landed the event’s only pushloop-tweak-forward cleanly, as well as of one of the highest, stalled double forwards ever seen from Pozo’s volcanic shores. At just fifteen, he has taken the world by storm with a performance that will see him compared to windsurfing’s legends.
Starting the second elimination well were Marcos Perez (Exocet/Gun Sails), Danny Bruch (Exocet/Severne/MFC) and Thomas Traversa (Tabou/Gaastra), who all progressed from the early rounds with a new sense of purpose as they boosted into massive jumps and impressive wave rides. Perez always sails well here, but Bruch and Traversa also caught the spectator’s attention. Traversa landed arguably the highest forward of the day, and hardly touched the water on landing. Bruch landed clean wave 360s in all of his heats, which are the highest scoring wave moves, and nearly impossible in these conditions.
As the contest progressed, excellent performances by Robby Swift (JP/NeilPryde) and Josh Angulo (Angulo/MauiSails/Dakine) were not enough to pass an inspired Klaas Voget (Fanatic/NeilPryde/MFC) or Alex Mussolini (Tabou). Mussolini, in particular, sailed incredibly and made his way through to the final five where he was met by the outstanding Ricardo Campello (JP/NeilPryde/MFC).
Campello was amazing today, as he sailed heat after heat in the double, passing Traversa, Bruch, Dario Ojeda (Simmer Style/Dakine/MFC) and Jonas Ceballos (Fanatic/Simmer Style/MFC). Campello vs Ceballos was the most spectacular heat of the day, with both forced to jump higher and higher, landing stalled doubles and gravity-defying backloops, eventually Campello took the edge.
It was tight between Campello and Victor Fernandez (Fanatic/North Sails/MFC) in the battle for third, but Fernandez scored the highest wave of the contest in the last minutes, linking together radical turns, a taka, a wave 360 and a goiter, and went on to win the heat.
The women’s elimination once again saw excellent performances from Sylvia Orozco (Goya/MFC), Alice Arutkin (Starboard/North Sails) and Evi Tsape (Fanatic/NeilPryde). Focus should fall on Karin Jaggi (F2 /Severne) who battled from the beginning to finish up third overall. Heat upon heat, Jaggi showed strength and determination, as well as an excellent repertoire that often included massive pushloops.
Nayra Alonso (Fanatic/Severne) was unlucky to lose out to Jaggi on a split decision, after sailing a brilliant heat. This will be especially upsetting to Alonso whose wave sailing has received much praise this week.
The final was once again a show down between Iballa Ruano Moreno (North Sails) and Daida Ruano Moreno (North Sails). After landing two excellent backloops, Iballa’s battle was bought to an early conclusion after an air chacho attempt destroyed her kit, leaving her sister to sail into the spotlight and claim the title. Nothing should be taken away from Daida’s victory, as she sailed brilliantly, finishing an outstanding wave ride with the day’s biggest front-side air.
The competitors now turn their attention to Fuerteventura, the final leg of the epic Canaries Tour. There we will see another high-wind slalom battle, and a welcome return to the Freestyle fleet.