Rolex China Sea Race 2014
21 Apr 14
For the second time in four years, Neil Pryde's Welbourne 52 Hi Fi from Hong Kong has won the Rolex China Sea Race, Asia's principal offshore event.
Single Elimination - Winners' Final
Jose 'Gollito' Estredo and Kiri Thode (Starboard / Gaastra) came face-to-face once more as the pair continued their duel for the top spot. The reigning world champion successfully defeated Steven Van Broeckhoven (JP / NeilPryde / Different) in the semi-finals to secure his place in the opening winners final of the year, whilst Thode stopped an on form Anthony Ruenes (Tabou / Gaastra) to book his place in the final. Gollito set the tone right from the word go as he launched into a massive shaka, only to see Thode respond with an equally good shaka of his own. With the final remaining evenly poised the Venezuelan stepped up his game as he landed a super smooth skopu followed by a radical full speed ponch, to transfer the pressure on to the man from Bonaire. Thode responded with a huge culo and a brilliant air funnel, but after flaming his final move the decision went in Gollito's favor.
Elsewhere in the single elimination Adrian Beholz (Fanatic / Sailloft Hamburg / Maui Ultra Fins) was the man to watch as he enjoyed his best finish to date by claiming joint seventh. The German knocked out several big names along the way, with the first upset of the day coming when he clinically dispatched of Nicolas Akgazciyan (Starboard / Point-7 / Maui Ultra Fins), before defeating Dutch maestro Davy Scheffers (Tabou / Gaastra). Beholz was only stopped when he bumped into the formidable force of Jose 'Gollito' Estredo.
Double Elimination - Winners' Final
Steven Van Broeckhoven showed he's a man on a mission as he battled back in the double elimination to book a place in the second winners' final of the day. In the semi-finals the Belgian produced a near perfect heat - receiving several tens for diversity and style from the judges - to set up a mouth-watering battle with Gollito, having defeated Kiri Thode.
The final was a spectacle to behold as both sailors threw caution to the wind and unleashed their most explosive repertoire of tricks. The Belgian supremo announced his arrival in the final with a superb one handed air funnel before also landing a stunning planing culo and a perfect shuvit spock. Unfortunately for him, the reigning world champion was in no mood to be beaten and the twenty-four year old soon responded with a plethora of mind-blowing tricks. Gollito turned on the style factor as he delivered an incredible one-handed burner, in a style that only he can, before popping an outstanding one-handed flaka. Knowing that the battle was not over yet, Estredo didn't rest on his laurels as he exploded into a divine one-handed shaka before finishing off the heat with a one-handed bob. Gollito did also try an audacious no-handed shaka, but even he couldn't pull it off this time around. Despite a close final, the five-time world champion had done enough to convince the judges that he was the worthy winner as he successfully defended his single elimination crown.
Jose 'Gollito' Estredo speaking after winning the double elimination: "I'm super happy to have won the double elimination. It was a long day, but the conditions were really good and I'm pleased with how I sailed and the result. Lets see what happens for the rest of the week."
Man on the Move
After a, somewhat, disappointing performance in the single elimination Davy Scheffers had a point to prove, and that is exactly what the Dutchman managed to do. The twenty-one-year-old came rampaging back through the double elimination in phenomenal form as he won five successive heats, before eventually finishing in fifth place, as Anthony Ruenes proved too strong to defeat. On his way to sixth Scheffers defeated Andy Lachauer (JP / NeilPryde), the super talented Youp Schmit (JP / NeilPryde), before taking two Bonaire scalps in the form of Taty Frans (Starboard / MauiSails / Mystic / Maui Ultra Fins) and Bjorn Saragoza (Starboard / Hot Sails Maui). Scheffers was simply on fire as he reveled in the evening winds, the Dutchman consistently landed radical culos and konos, huge air funnels and amazing no-handed burners. Scheffers could have continued his rampage through the double, but unfortunately for him in his final heat against Ruenes he landed a couple of moves outside of the competition area, which proved crucial as his French rival came out on top.
Taty Frans and Amado Vrieswijk (Starboard / Severne) enjoyed a close fought battle in heat forty-five as Frans eventually just edged to competition after a 2:1 decision in his favor. A ridiculous backloop and a powerful, clean one-handed ponch were the separating factors as Frans marched on.
The forecast for Sunday is for lighter wind, but Austria is an unpredictable location, so anything can happen. With today's competition last well into the evening, the European tow-in event was postponed, which means that the first round may be run during the day tomorrow, so they'll still be plenty going on
Scope The Action
For information on all the entrants, and to keep up to date with every piece of the action, navigate to www.pwaworldtour.com