PWA Pozo Grand Prix
Event Preview - The contagious vibe of excitement spiraling out of control through the windsurfing world can only be explained by one thing - the world’s elite wave sailors are about to go head to head in Pozo!
This year the highly anticipated showdown in Pozo Izquierdo, Gran Canaria marks the opening of the PWA wave world tour. The most impressive male and female windsurfers from around the globe will battle it out from the 6th to the 9th of July in the relentless winds and waves for their share of the €45,000 prize purse, as well as gaining precious points towards their overall world ranking.
The full 48-man fleet, and list of thirteen women reads like a who’s who of professional wave sailing, with a plethora of world and event champions from across the three PWA disciplines, all eyeing up the ultimate Canarian prize.
Wind and Waves
The awesome conditions found at this highly regarded destination allow the sailors to perform the most extreme and radical maneuvers known to windsurfing. Expect insane action, and top competition from the world's best riders in howling 40 knot winds and steep waves. The local effects in Pozo Izquierdo mean that even the slightest of breezes is quickly enhanced creating the ultimate wave sailors playground. It’s not unheard of for the biggest guys to be reaching for their 65L boards and 3.7s or even 3.3s at this event.
With the distinct conditions found in Pozo Izquierdo, and the entourage of local hot shots, this event can often cause some major upsets to the PWA wave tour regulars. In previous years the event has been dominated by port tack specialists, which included last years teenage champion, and Pozo resident, Philip Koster (Starboard, NeilPryde, Dakine) who exploded onto the scene with his impressive jumping style. Many of the competitors have wised up to this, and now spend months training in town beforehand.
Spanish hotshot, Victor Fernandez (Fanatic, North, MFC) has won the wave title three times here in Pozo, but had to settle for second last year due to newcomer kid Koster. Fernandez has been training hard all winter in plenty of port tack locations including Chile and South Africa, and will be keen to claim back his crown.
Another tour regular hungry for success at Pozo will be Brazilian sensation, and former wave world champion, Kauli Seadi (JP, NeilPryde, MFC). Known for his radical riding in the pocket surf style, he’s also more than capable of boosting huge port tack jumps, and smacking onshore lips. In the past his superior natural ability has seen him compete with the most hardcore of locals, and has even resulted in a few podium finishes. Seadi will be looking to play a consistent game in Pozo with his eye firmly fixed on the ultimate prize of winning back his overall world title rather than simply the Gran Canarian bragging rights, but a win here would see him well on his way.
Other tour sailors to watch include the port tack terminator from Tenerife, Dany Bruch (Patrik, Severne) who found himself on the podium in 2008. The consistent Brit Robby Swift (JP, NeilPryde) who launched himself into 3rd place in the overall world rankings last year. 2009 Sylt wave champion Alex Mussolini (Tabou, Vandal) who trains in the Canaries year round. Former freestyle world champion turned triple loop daredevil, Ricardo Campello (JP, NeilPryde, MFC). Port tack class act, and last year’s Sylt runner up, Klass Voget (Fanatic, Simmer, MFC). And, former freestyle world champion turned full time wave title hunter, Marcilio ‘Brawzinho’ Browne (Fanatic, North, MFC).
The tour regulars may have the global kudos, and the backing from their sponsors, but in Pozo you can never rule out the locals who have the spot dialled, and can perform every trick in the book right on cue in front of their home crowds. Big names to watch out for are Pozo rippers, Dario Ojeda (Simmer, Dakine, MFC), and Jonas Ceballos who have consistently performed well at previous events in Gran Canaria. Our local spy has also informed us that the main contenders will be 15 year old Alessio Stillrich (Fanatic, North), Omar Sanchez (RRD), Jose Romero (JP, NeilPryde), 14 year old Moritz Mauch, and of course last years Pozo world cup champion Philip Koster. Romero, Koster, Ojeda, Ceballos, and Sanchez have a spot in the main competition already, but the others will be battling it out in the trials today.
The Moreno twins have dominated the event in Pozo for the past century. Eight times PWA wave world title holder Daida (Starboard, Severne) has claimed first place every single year in Pozo since 1999, and former wave world champion Iballa (Starboard, Severne) has finished second countless times too. Daida’s jumping is so strong at her home spot that she’d give most of the guys a run for their money, and her sister Iballa is also more than capable of throwing down some seriously high stunts. Daida is without a doubt the favourite to win the event for a record eleventh time.
However, if the conditions favour riding, which is pretty unusual in Pozo, then it’s worth keeping an eye on another local, Nayra Alonso (Fanatic, Severne). She’s beaten the Moreno’s before in Sylt, but never on their home turf – it could happen this time though if the conditions favour her. It’s also worth watching the fearless former world champion, Karin Jaggi (Patrik, Severne). She’s probably the most successful female windsurfer ever, and still has what it takes to compete against the best of them in waves.
In it to win it
With a €45,000 prize purse up for grabs (€30,000 for the men’s fleet, and €15,000 for the women), expect the very best sailors in the world to be pushing the limits with insane jumps such as double forwards, and pushloop forwards on the way out, and silky smooth wave riding on the way in.