Action in excess in Lanzarote yesterday afternoon. The spectators were transfixed on the water as the world's best windsurfing freestylers pulled out all the stops to impress the judges on the east coast of Lanzarote at the 2004 PWA Freestyle Grand Slam.
After the success of Thursday's single elimination, yesterday saw the event continue straight in to the double elimination.
The early rounds saw an awesome display of cutting edge freestyle from some of the youngest sailors on the PWA World Tour. Kiri THODE (Starboard/Gaastra) from Bonaire out sailed two of his fellow countrymen to advance to the second round of the double elimination. His progress was halted when he came up against an on form Kristoffer LIVING (AHD/North). France's young hotshot Anthony RUENES (Naish) was knocked out in the first round of the single elimination yesterday and so today, was on a mission to make a dent on the world rankings as he took down some of the World's highest ranked windsurfers. First he did away with local freestyle guru Antxon OTAEGUI (JP/Pryde) then he moved on and slayed E-42 Victor Fernandez (Fanatic) not being content with this he moved on to dispense with Robby SWIFT (JP/Neil Pryde). His stampede was finally stopped by NC-4 Colin SIFFERLEN (Starboard).
Robby SWIFT was unlucky to break his mast in the countdown to his heat. He was picked up by the rescue boat crew, who where determined to take him back to the beach, when all he really wanted was a lift upwind to his caddy. The boat driver was having none of it so Swifty jumped out the back of the boat as it sped past his caddy who was lying in the water with his spare equipment. Baywatch eat your heart out!
By mid afternoon we were down to the top 5 sailors. Konan LANG (Naish), Colin SIFFERLEN, Ricardo CAMPELLO (JP/Neil Pryde), Thomas TRAVERSA (North) and Diony GUADAGNINO (Neil Pryde)who were left to do battle to decide who would go up against the single elimination champion Kauli SEADI (AHD/Naish).
Campello was finding form and despite Traversa's efforts he could not stop the charge of the Brazilian. Colin SIFFERLEN had been sailing well all day, mixing big air with sliding freestyle moves and did more than enough to take down Lang, and advance. He was to meet his match in the next heat though against Campello.
Campello was now on a role and in the next heat started to step it up. Landing an almost perfect double forward he wasted no time in dispensing with Sifferlen.
So we were down to a Campello v Guadagnino semi final. Guadagnino sailed well landing a number of big ponchs, switch stance spocks and forward loops. Ricardo had a shaky start and after the first couple of minutes was defiantly lacking points. Ricardo knew this and started to fill up his score sheet with switch stance spocks, chachos, forwards and his newest aerial move a push loop into tweaked table top! This was enough for him to draw level and in the closing minute of the heat he managed to nail another 3 manoeuvres that gave him the edge over his friend and sailing buddy Guadagnino.
In the ladies fleet we saw spocks, Forwards, Flakas and Push Loops being pulled off. A radical display of sailing skills, which a couple of years ago would have only been possible by the top male competitors. After her nasty crash yesterday Iballa MORENO (Mistral/North) was not sailing but instead was nursing an injury to her foot. The final of the women saw Karin JAGGI (F2/Arrows) attempt to consolidate her lead but she didn't reckon on the Flakas of the other Moreno, Daida (Mistral/North). After a tense six-minute battle it was Daida who came out as the winner. Jaggi was right on her heels but dropped a couple of big moves. Time will tell if Jaggi can come back fighting.
The men's final was an all Brazilian affair with an on form Campello fighting it out for victory over yesterdays champion Kauli SEADI.
Ricardo sailed out of his skin landing more moves in the 6 minute heat than most windsurfers would do in a whole session. Seadi wasn't slacking either pulling off smooth Flakas and contorted Ponchs, it wasn't enough though and Campello took the win.
The rules of the double elimination state that to win the double you have to beat the single elimination winner twice, so it was back out onto the water to contest the grand final. Campello wasn't going to miss this opportunity to get one up on his countryman and unleashed a barrage of moves including a perfectly landed double forward loop, which received a huge cheer from the crowd that had amassed on the beach. Seadi answered back with clean Chachos but couldn't match the variety of Campello. The judge's decision went in favor of Campello relegating yesterday's winner Seadi to second.
With two days left to go of the freestyle (before the start of the Super X) anything could happen.