The first stop on the Canary Island bout of competition saw the world’s elite freestylers take to the crystal clear waters of Lanzarote for a four day freestyle clash.
The magnificent town of Costa Teguise played host for the competition and delivered exceptional conditions. Four days of wind blowing around 15-20 knots, combined with small waves ensured the thirty one man freestyle fleet were tested to the limits of their talent, and they had to perform their largest aerial maneuvers to make it through the heats.
The opening day of competition kicked off to a flying start, seeing eighteen heats of the single elimination completed. As expected, Belgian freestyle icon Steven Van Broeckhoven (F2 / Gaastra), Bonaire superstar Kiri Thode (Starboard / Gaastra) and Taty Frans (Starboard / MauiSails / Mystic) quickly disposed of their opponents guaranteeing their positions in the semi-finals.
The big upset of the day arrived in heat 19, when Anthony Ruenes (Tabou / Simmer) and the style master Tonky Frans (Tabou / Gaastra) went head to head. Tonky sailed an exceptional heat landing his moves with faultless precision, however Ruenes was on fire and caught the judge’s attention with his colossal one handed shaka and his no-handed funnel. Ruenes stole the win with a 2-1 decision from the judges.
Light winds placed the sailors on hold throughout the majority of the second day, until a final flurry of wind allowed three heats to be completed and some last minute drama to unfold.
Davy Scheffers (Tabou / Gaastra) sailed the heat of his life landing clean burners and culos, leading to an early exit from Thode. Meanwhile, Van Broeckhoven was going about landing his perfect power moves in the challenging conditions, taking down Phil Soltysiak (Starboard / Dakine).
Ruenes continued his path of destruction destroying Tonky’s brother Taty, with his carefully polished maneuvers.
The single elimination continued into the third day, picking up the action at heat 23, the sailors were shuffled into their respective finals. Scheffers buckled under the pressure of Van Broeckhoven. Simultaneously Jose Estredo (Fanatic / North) granted his pass into the winners final defeating Ruenes with his powerful ponchs and super high shakas.
The final saw Estredo and Van Broeckhoven enter the water to battle it out for first place. Estredo was on fine form throughout the heat, taking advantage of the stronger winds and the small waves. He opened with a future and quickly flew through a succession of extreme moves including a fully planning push loop and an air chachoo. Van Broeckhoven crashed his initial move and spent the remainder of the heat playing catch up. Despite the Steven’s best efforts Estredo was back in his element capitalizing on the ramps and big air maneuvers. After a tense wait while the judges calculated the score sheets, Estredo was awarded first place in front of a large crowd on the beach.
Once the victor was crowned, competition continued directly into the double elimination, allowing ten of the eighteen heats to be completed. With the opportunity to improve their overall score, the sailors hit the water with full force ready to take on their opponents.
Ian Mouro Lemos (JP / NeilPryde) worked his way through two close heats, claiming victory over super technical Nicolas Akgazciyan (Starboard / Gun) and explosive Quincy Offringa (Starboard) with his textbook burners and smooth switch chachoos.
The two Brits Phil Richards (Fanatic / Severne) and Andy Chambers (JP / NeilPryde) both delivered exceptional heats against the style master Tonky. However Tonky was living up to his reputation, landing clean culos and even a bonka to seal the deal, seeing him advance past both challengers.
Israel’s Yarden Meir (Fanatic / Simmer) looked to be on a mission, successfully beating Bryan Metcalf-Perez (JP / NeilPryde / Dakine) and Yegor Popretinskiy (JP / NeilPryde / MFC) and advanced into the top eight.
The final day of competition saw just twelve sailors remaining, wanting to make use of the best wind’s head judge Duncan Coombes, delayed proceeding until mid-day allowing the crowds to flood in and the tension to rise.
Thode started his rampage through the ranks, determined to improve his overall score by squeezing past Tonky in a really close heat that resulted in a two to one decision from the judges in favor of Thode.
Meir hit the water ready to shake up the results and continue with his previous day’s performance. Meir’s opponent Soltysiak played his consistent card throughout the heat, whilst Meir chose a higher risk strategy, attempting air chachoos and big forward loops to catch the judge’s eye. Meir was rewarded with his efforts and granted access into the next round.
Thode’s charge through the double elimination continued as he stormed past Scheffers and Ruenes in two incredible heats. Thode managed to sail his way to victory with his gravity defying kabikutchis and spock culos.
With only one more heat between him and the final, Thode went on to face his arch nemesis Van Broeckhoven. The two sailors matched each other move for move, in what turned out to be astoundingly close heat. Van Broeckhoven’s bonka, and mind blowing no handed burner separated the pair seeing him snatch the win by just half a point on the judges score sheets.
The crowds on the beach were treated to an exceptional display of talent as the previous day’s duo Estredo and Van Broeckhoven took to the water for the final. Estredo delivered a colossal air chachoo providing him with the edge, shortly followed by a succession of enormous air moves. Van Broeckhoven fought hard, however he appeared to be overpowered and crashed a few essential moves in his attempt to slay the four times world champion, allowing Estredo to take advantage and win the event title. The victors were crowned at the awards ceremony on the beach, where each sailor was presented with a novelty trophy. Van Broeckhoven’s second place means he now sits at the top of the overall event rankings and Thode moves down into second.
1st Jose Estredo (Fanatic / North)
2nd Steven Van Broeckhoven (F2 / Gaastra)
3rd Kiri Thode (Starboard / Gaastra)
4th Anthony Ruenes (Tabou / Simmer)
5th Davy Scheffers (Tabou/Gaastra)
6th Bjorn Saragoza (Starboard / Hot Sails)
7th Yarden Meir (Fanatic / Simmer)
8th Dieter Van Der Eyken (Starboard / Severne)
Current overall standings
Men (after 5 events)
1st Steven Van Broeckhoven (F2 / Gaastra)
2nd Kiri Thode (Starboard / Gaastra)
3rd Jose Estredo (Fanatic / North)
4th Taty Frans (Starboard / MauiSails / Mystic)
5TH Davy Scheffers (Tabou / Gaastra)
6th Tonky Frans (Tabou / Gaastra)
7th Dieter Van Der Eyken (Starboard / Severne)
8th Anthony Ruenes (Tabou / Simmer)
9th Philip Soltysiak (Starboard / Dakine)
10th Bjorn Saragoza (Starboard / Hot Sails)
The PWA circus will now head over to the stunning island of Gran Canaria, for the opening event on the men and women’s wave calendar. The Pozo Wave World Cup runs from the 5th- 10th July, and promises unreal action, sky high jumps, slick wave riding and crazy crashes from the world’s most gifted wave sailors. Scope the Action
For more information on all the entrants, and to keep up to date with every piece of the action, click on www.pwaworldtour.com
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- Live ticker service for heat-by-heat bulletins
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photo credit: PWA / John Carter