The hottest seats in town Sunday night were right here at the Schroders London International Boat Show, UKWA versus PWA indoor windsurfing championship.
The sold out show was 'The' place to be in London and those fortunate enough to have tickets were treated to a sensational evening of extreme windsurfing. With 25 fans sending 30 knots of wind screaming across the pool, action was fast and furious throughout with slalom, freestyle and jump ramp competitions sending the crowds wild in appreciation at the spectacular display.
Fresh from his triumph in the UKWA finals on Saturday, Nik BAKER (Mistral, North) continued his winning ways by storming his way to victory in the slalom finals against young Douglas DIAZ (Fanatic, North) of Venezuela. Baker, who won a brand new car for his efforts in the UKWA championship, managed to gybe around Diaz who had reached the mark first but fallen and steal the first bullet in their opening bout. In the second final, Baker wrapped it up after leading from the start, romping home across the finish line leaving Diaz stuck in his tracks and struggling to follow his sizzling wake around the pool. In the petit final, Kauli SEADI (AHD, Naish) snitched victory from World Champion Kevin PRITCHARD (Starboard, Gaastra), using his weight advantage to gain the upper hand and win both races with a clear margin.
Against the deafening noise of the 25 huge fans, the non-stop extreme action continued with hot freestyle. Each sailor was given four chances to speed down the pool and pull off a move, with their best two maneuvers counting towards the overall score. The standout sailor was undisputedly Kauli SEADI (AHD, Naish) of Brazil who mesmerized the audience with a slick spock 540, a clean grubby and a stunning willy skipper 540. Hot on his heals in second was Nik BAKER (Mistral, North) followed by Douglas DIAZ (Fanatic, North), third and Oisin Van GELDEREN (JP, Neil Pryde) of Ireland raising his game to take fourth.
The jump ramp show in the evening was the one everybody had been waiting for, with the level literally going through the roof since the first session on Thursday night. Each of the fourteen sailors were given two attempts at the jump ramp with their best jump counting and the top six advancing through to the grand final. After insane jumps from all sailors in the qualifying session the judges voted Oisin Van GELDEREN (JP, Neil Pryde), Steve THORPE (Gaastra, F2), Nik BAKER (Mistral, North), Ricardo CAMPELLO (JP, Neil Pryde), Kevin PRITCHARD (Gaastra, Starboard) and Kauli SEADI (AHD, Naish) as the lucky six to make the final. Brazilian samba sensation, Kauli SEADI was the first to step up the pace, after soaring of the ramp into a huge one footed forward. After a disappointing display in the freestyle, Ricardo CAMPELLO (JP, Neil Pryde) finally managed to pull something out of the bag and hit back with a sensational tweaked out ninja kick. UKWA sailor, Steve THORPE (Gaastra, F2) was also on hot form nailed a huge forward and a tweaked table top whilst Oisin Van GELDEREN (JP, Neil Pryde) was busy keeping the crowds on their feet with a series of massive forwards. Campello's final jump, a push loop eventually sealed the deal for the young Brazilian with, fellow countryman Kauli SEADI pulling out all the stops to take second and Steve Thorpe of England picking up a deserved third.
After a tense wait while the judges totted up the scores from all three disciplines Kauli SEADI (AHD, Naish of Brazil emerged as the overall winner and walked away with a winners check and a brand new motorbike presented by Honda.
The Indoor windsurfing at the London Boat Show has proved to be a huge success and sponsors have already indicated that they want it back bigger and better for next year!
Full results are available on th PWA website at the address below