PWA Pozo Grand Prix
Day 4 - Three times Pozo champion Victor Fernandez claims victory in the men’s fleet in an epic double elimination showdown to add a fourth trophy to his cabinet, whilst Daida Ruano Moreno takes home her twelfth consecutive women’s title!
With the forecast calling for the renowned nuclear winds, Pozo turned into a hive of world-class competition from the word go on the fourth and final day in Gran Canaria. Many sailors were intent on making amends for their previous mistakes, whilst others were insistent on stopping them in order to safeguard their own finishing spot from the single elimination.
Strong winds meant that 4.5s were the weapons of choice early in the morning, but these were quickly replaced with 4.2s or even 4.0s in the men’s fleet, and 3.7s for the women as the wind increased further. The waves weren’t the biggest Pozo had ever seen, but were more than enough for the world’s best wave sailors to perform some of the most radical tricks to score bucket loads of points with the international judging panel.
Following on from day three, the men kicked off with the third round of their double elimination, which went all the way through to heat 52, which is only sailed if the winner of the single elimination goes down.
Early in the morning, 2009 Sylt wave runner up, Klaas Voget (Fanatic, Simmer, MFC) began to lead the charge. Amongst his armoury were some awesome one handed back loops, and double forwards, but the real move of the moment that won him many a heat was his perfectly executed wave 360. Voget hit the critical section with precision time after time which pleased the judges again and again. Voget looked to be unstoppable, but an on form Dany Bruch (Patrik, Severne) knocked him out.
With a shock performance in the single, former world wave champion, Kauli Seadi (JP, NeilPryde, MFC) had plenty of work to do if he wanted a better result. As if by magic, as soon as the green flag went up, he was back on form. His jumps were incredible, and his riding improving with every wave. When he met former overall world champion, Kevin Pritchard (Starboard, Gaastra, Dakine) he pulled out an awesome double forward right on cue. Not only that, but he also nailed it inches from Pritchard, which surely must have shaken the Americans confidence. However, it wasn’t long before the Brazilian sensation was stopped dead in his tracks by an on form Marcos Perez (Exocet, Gun) who claimed victory by the narrowest of margins.
Another early standout was French featherweight, Thomas Traversa (Tabou, Gaastra) whose radical riding saw him through a few heats. Traversa’s backside aerials were some of the best of the day, right in the section, and always accompanied by an enormous tweak.
Britain’s Robby Swift (JP, NeilPryde) was also on fire, mixing huge doubles and tabletop push loops with an excellent selection of waves, often busting out backside aerials, takas, and forwards off the lip back onto the face. A slight discrepancy over a wave he shared with fellow Brit, John Skye (RRD boards, MFC) caused a bit of a stir, but after a re-sail, Swift carried on, only to go out to team mate Ricardo Campello (JP, NeilPryde, MFC).
Campello was on his own little rampage, and raised the bar with huge double forwards, and one footed back loops. His slick repertoire was well rehearsed, and with it, he took down many top seeds, including port tack maestro, Dany Bruch and local legend, Dario Ojeda (Tabou, Simmer). The only man in his way from fighting Victor Fernandez (Fanatic, North, MFC) for full glory was 2009 Pozo champion, Philip Koster (Starboard, NeilPryde, Dakine). However, this is where it ended for Campello. He may have raised the level of jumping earlier in the day, but Koster pushed it up to another planet. Every head turned on the beach as Koster flew into orbit, waited a few moments, and then spun round an ankle dry double. As if this wasn’t enough, he then proceeded to wow the crowds with a pushloop forward - the only one seen in this competition - which proved to be the final nail in Campello’s coffin.
Following a faultless display in the single, three times Pozo champion, Victor Fernandez spent much of the day watching the water to find out who would challenge him. It was clear from Campello’s early charge that defending his position wasn’t going to be the easiest of tasks, and when Koster entered the water it began to look impossible.
Fernandez put together an amazing heat, which would normally have blown every other sailor straight from the water. However, this was kid Koster, not any other. Koster wowed the crowds once again with slick rides and sky high jumps, matching Fernandez move for move in the heat. It was a very close call, but Koster claimed victory, meaning the three times Pozo champion would have to battle with him once more to find the true 2010 winner.
The second final was another epic showdown of jumping talent and wave riding expertise, with both sailors scoring huge double forwards, and perfect tabletop push loops. Their jumping scores were almost identical, so it went down to the wire on the waves. Koster was busting out all of the moves including takas, goitas, and 360s, all on the same wave, but so was Fernandez. What Koster lacked however were the smooth transitions that Fernandez had dialled, which impressed the judges as much as the moves, and allowed the Spaniard to claim his well-deserved victory.
The women also had their chance to fight their way back up the rankings, with a full double elimination in the howling Pozo winds. Everyone gave it their best shot, but no one managed to steal the show from the top four, who guarded their places with an excellent display of jumping and riding.
The multi talented French youth champion, Alice Arutkin (Starboard, North) showed plenty of promise, with excellent backside and frontside hits in the jaws of the waves. When she learns more jumps, she’ll be a force to be reckoned with.
Stefi Wahl (Patrik, Gaastra) and Junko Nagoshi (Tabou, Simmer, Dakine) also rode the waves with plenty of style, but also backed it up with some impressive forward loops. Nagoshi, on occasion, stalling them for the crowds, gaining her bonus points. And, Wahl hitting some chunky sections.
Nayra Alonso (Fanatic, Severne) and Karin Jaggi (Patrik, Severne) held the fort and defended their positions. Alonso racked up points with some stylish waves, whereas Jaggi stared fear right in the face, boosting into the air with some huge push loops.
When the Moreno twins hit the water, the level of women’s sailing went through the roof yet again. Daida Ruano Moreno (Starboard, Severne) defended her single elimination victory in fine style at her home break against the challenge of her sister Iballa (Starboard, Severne). Daida landed some huge jumps to steal the show early on, but Iballa pushed hard throughout the heat, with an awesome back loop and some brilliant riding, making it too close to call before the scores had been counted. In the end, the eleven times Pozo champion claimed it once more with some impressive stunts and radical riding that would take down most of the men.
“I feel incredible right now, it hasn’t really sunk in yet, but I’m sure it will later. All of my friends on the beach told me when I came off the water that I’d won, but you can never be sure until it’s been announced. I tried to get my jumps in within the first few minutes, and then concentrate on my riding, but if the right ramp came along, I’d go for another jump, and it worked out really well. I landed a goita, and a backside 360 on the same wave, which I was really pleased with.
Over the next few weeks I’ve got a few more Spanish events in the Canaries, in fact one of them begins tomorrow! So, it’s a bit of a long week for me. Then I’m off to Tenerife for another Spanish contest. After that, I’m going to head home to recover, and recharge my batteries in time for Klitmoller.”
Daida Ruano Moreno:
“It feels really good winning here once again, it’s my home spot, where I enjoy to sail, and the place where I fell in love with windsurfing. This is a very special event for me, so it’s great to have won it again this year. I found it tough in the single elimination final, but the result showed that I’d claimed victory. In the double, I was trying to concentrate on my riding because I know my sister is very strong there. I also tried to jump the best I could, and it all came together. I’m just super stoked to have won the Pozo title for another year.”
1st Victor Fernandez (Fanatic, North, MFC)
2nd Philip Koster (Starboard, NeilPryde, Dakine)
3rd Ricardo Campello (JP, NeilPryde, MFC)
4th Dario Ojeda (Tabou, Simmer)
5th Marcilio Browne (Fanatic, North, MFC)
6th Robby Swift (JP, NeilPryde)
7th = Dany Bruch (Patrik, Severne)
7th = Marcos Perez (Exocet, Gun)
1st Daida Ruano Moreno (Starboard, Severne)
2nd Iballa Ruano Moreno (Starboard, Severne)
3rd Karin Jaggi (Patrik, Severne)
4th Nayra Alonso (Fanatic, Severne)
5th Stefi Wahl (Patrik, Gaastra)