The winds are howling, the flags are flying and the judges tower is being lowered into position, the waiting is over, we are only hours away from the start of the competition here in Lanzarote.
Costa Teguise is the venue for the first major Freestyle event on the 2004 PWA World Tour. We wait to see what new crazy moves the sailors have dreamed up during their pre-season training.
All the big names are in attendance Ricardo CAMPELLO (JP/Neil Pryde), Kauli SEADI (AHD/Naish) Robby SWIFT (JP/Neil Pryde), Tonky FRANS (F2/Gaastra) and Douglas 'Cheo' DIAZ (Fanatic/North) are preparing to do battle in what could be the closest fight on the PWA Tour for a number of years. The freestyle discipline is evolving fast, and new sailors are exploding on to the scene all the time. Look out for relative newcomer Kevin MEVISSEN (JP/Neil Pryde) who, rumor has it, is gunning for a podium position. As always in the Canaries we can expect a strong performance from the local contingent. Antxon OTAEGUI E169 (JP/Neil Pryde) and Frank DIAZ E200 (Starboard) are two such locals who have been delighting the crowds and showing great promise in the run up to the event.
Daida and Iballa MORENO (Mistral, North) have been in Lanzarote for a few days now preparing for the event and Karin JAGGI (Arrows/F2) current world number two has been preparing on the neighbouring island of Fuerteventura. They are sure to be gunning for the top two positions but will have to do battle with a strong women's fleet before they can take home any prizes. Gran Canaria's Nayra ALONSO (Fanatic) has been showing good form at her home break of Pozo and there are competitors from as far away as South Africa all hoping for a good result here. Time will tell if anybody can challenge the dominance of the Moreno's and Jaggi on this year's PWA World Tour.
The forecast for the next few days here in Costa Teguise is for strong wind and some good swell, so expect to see some big air mixed in with a display of freestyle wizardry.
The first four days of the competition will see the freestyle action taking place off the breakwater of Las Chucharas beach. The 11 July will see the start of the 3rd round of the PWA Super X World Tour. This, the newest discipline on the PWA world tour, is proving a massive hit with the sailors and spectators alike. High-speed slalom action mixed with a cocktail of jumps over inflatable obstacles and freestyle tricks make it one of the most adrenaline-fuelled disciplines on the PWA Tour. Close racing and big crashes are a certainty and with only one other Super X event left after Lanzarote, ranking points are in short supply so you can be sure of an aggressive fight for the finish line.
Current rankings leader Antoine ALBEAU (AHD/Neil Pryde) will be revelling in the strong wind conditions but you can be sure that the likes of Robby SWIFT, Cyril MOUSSILMANI (Fanatic), Matt PRITCHARD (Gaastra) and Nik BAKER (Mistral/North) won't be giving up without a fight. A major new threat in the shape of Kevin PRITCHARD (Gaastra/Starboard) will be present at this event. A former PWA world racing champion Kevin has the experience to take on all comers and his speed round the course will be his strength and he will be hoping that his recent Spock training on Maui will pay dividends. Whatever happens, the event will be an explosion of attitude, personalities and pedal to the metal action.
Stay tuned to the event website via the link below for regular updates.