Matt PRITCHARD (Tabou, Gaastra) sailed out of his skin today showing up his younger brother Kevin (Starboard, MauiSails) with wave 360's and high push loops. He took out Josh STONE and Keith TEBOUL in this round.
The next heat saw Kevin PRITCHARD the younger against Kauli SEADI (Naish), Francisco GOYA and Baptiste GOSSEIN (Neil Pryde, JP). It was a close affair between GOYA and SEADI and althoug PRITCHARD did a one-footed back loop, his wave riding scores just were not enough and along with GOSSEIN, he was out. Jason POLAKOW (Neil Pryde, JP) versus Scott McKERCHER (Starboard) was another nail-biting heat but POLAKOW has those wave 360's nailed and that racked up the points for him and took him into the last eight.
Eyal SHELEF (Neil Pryde, JP) from Israel has had the competition of his life and made it through to the last eight. All he had to do was beat Matt PRITCHARD, Kauli SEADI and Francisco GOYA to progress - not an easy task! PRITCHARD was ahead very quickly and GOYA spotted this and started throwing wave 360's and big cutbacks. SEADI started off badly, but got his act together and just had more tricks up his rash vest than GOYA, like the magical goiter and the spellbinding planing wave 360!
The other heat was just as exciting with plenty of snappy cut-backs and wave 360's. POLAKOW (Neil Pryde, JP) clearly beat Levi SIVER (North, Starboard) whilst Sean ORDONEZ spent the last five minutes of the heat arguing with the infamous Hookipa rocks after he broke his mast. ANGULO, however, was just warming up for the final and kept pushing out one-handed aerials, one-handed back loops.
In the semi finals ANGULO beat POLAKOW fairly convincingly. KAULI then beat Matt PRITCHARD who had finally run out of steam. KAULI's fan club was hollering from the beach as it came apparent that he would be progressing to his first ever PWA Wave Final at Hookipa.
The final was a showdown between the old and the new school. KAULI looked tired and just could not bring himself to do yet another wave 360. He did not have the best heat, but then how could you, when ANGULO pulled off a stunning and almost perfect wave heat. He rode the largest waves and got the biggest air. By the time he pulled off a sweet 360, the beach knew who had won hands down.
Now ANGULO has to hang out on the beach for the next two days while everyone else goes back into the draw to compete in the double elimination. Everyone does it all again and the winner has to beat ANGULO twice to win overall. That is what happened last year when POLAKOW did just that. Could history repeat itself?
All the women sailed beautifully today with plenty of ripping and slashing on the biggest sets with some nice stalled forwards and tabletops.
Anne-Marie REICHMANN (Naish) was sailing solid all day: big waves and nice aggressive turns. She scored well on waves but in the jumping, the MORENO sisters excelled. Daida (North, Mistral) did a one-footed forward and Iballa (North, Mistral) executed huge stalled forwards. The other girls just cannot beat these moves.
REICHMANN made it to the top four along with Jennifer ELLEFSON who is a local standout and really does rip up the waves, and of course the MORENO twins made it as well.
The MORENOs won their respective places in the final and it was very close. But Daida came out top again with Iballa in second. REICHMANN finished off a good day with third in the loser's final with ELLEFSON in fourth.
The forecast for the next day of competition is more wind, but with more rain as well. Everyone gets a second chance, so expect great things from Robby SWIFT (Neil Pryde, JP), Pete VOLWATER (F2), Ross WILLIAMS (Gaastra, Starboard) and Robert TERIITEHAU and many more sailors who want a chance to meet Josh ANGULO in the final.