Day 1: The world’s greatest freestyle sailors descend on to the golden sands of Costa Teguise in Lanzarote, however fluctuating conditions led to a gentle start to competition.

The opening day of competition in Lanzarote kicked off to a relaxing start, allowing the sailors to prepare their equipment and focus their minds on the challenges ahead. Once the formalities of registration and the skippers meeting were completed the trade winds had risen to around 15-20 knots allowing the competitors to hit the water at 2pm on the dot and the action to unfold.

On sails around 5.3m, the sailors ploughed their way through the opening nineteen heats of the single elimination. However as the afternoon progressed the wind retreated forcing competition on hold until the riders were ultimately released at 5pm.

The initial rounds of the competition saw many of the top sailors display their most mind-blowing tricks to dispose of their opponent’s and to express their dominance on the Canary Islands. Belgian freestyle extraordinaire Steven Van Broeckhoven (F2 / Gaastra) quickly defeated Jakub Kosmowski (RRD / Simmer) and Quincy Offringa (Starboard) with his enormous Culos and Konos. Kiri Thode (Starboard / Gaastra) also looked to be on great form, filling his score sheet in record time against Edvan De Souza Pedro (RRD / Simmer) granting his pass into the semi-finals. Fellow Bonaire superstar Taty Frans (Starboard / MauiSails / Mystic) also looked to be comfortable in the difficult conditions sailing an unbelievable heat to defeat Andy Chambers (JP / NeilPryde), landing almost every move in his book of tricks to secure his access into the third round.

Round two saw a close heat between rivals, Davy Scheffers (Tabou / Gaastra) and Dieter Van Der Eyken (Starboard / Severne). Van Der Eyken opened the heat on fine form delivering a colossal kono and a shaka whilst Scheffers struggled to fit his big moves in. The second half of the heat saw the tables turn, Van Der Eyken had run out of steam, whilst Scheffers was on the way up as he performed a perfect air bob and double spock in the choppy waters. Leaving the judges with a tough decision, ultimately Scheffers was the chosen one seeing him secure his place in the next round.

The big upset of the day came between Anthony Ruenes (Tabou / Simmer) and Tonky Frans (Tabou / Gaastra). The sailors each sailed an exceptional heat, landing all the big moves with faultless precision. Tonky separated the pair with the first back loop of the competition; however Ruenes quickly fought back with a gigantic one-handed shaka, and a no-handed funnel. It came down to a 2-1 decision from the judges and just half a point separating the sailors in favor of Ruenes.

The final heat in the second round featuring, Israel’s Yarden Meir (Fanatic / Simmer) vs. four times world champion Jose Estredo (Fanatic / North) and Yegor Popretinskiy (JP / NeilPryde / MFC) vs. Brazil’s Ian Mouro Lemos (JP / NeilPryde) was run twice but was cancelled due to fading winds.

The action will continue tomorrow with skipper’s meeting commencing at 10:30 am first possible start to competition at 11am.

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Photo credit: PWA John/Carter