Unpredictable weather once again took competitors by surprise yesterday with 15-18 knot side onshore winds and a 2-3 feet beach break providing suitable wave conditions to continue the men's and women's wave double eliminations. Due to the tricky conditions heats were extended to fifteen minute duration with three waves counting and additional points factored on the judges sheets for overall impression.
The first big shock of the day was the elimination of Brazilian wave sensation Kauli SEADI (AHD, Naish) by veteran German tour competitor Bernd FLESSNER (F2, Neil Pryde). Kauli had been ripping during the warm up but broke a mast early in the heat, totally lost his rhythm and was convincingly beaten by Flessner who was tearing apart the waves in his local spot. In the top half of the draw Jonas CEBALLOS (Fanatic, Gaastra) blew his chances of the world title after going down to Greg ALLAWAY (JP, Neil Pryde) of Australia. Ceballos arrived late for his heat and spent most of its duration sailing outside the contest area failing to clock up any points.
Bjorn DUNKERBECK (Neil Pryde) sailed brilliantly, advancing through heats against Julien TABOULET (JP, Neil Pryde), Bernd FLESSNER (F2, Neil Pryde), Vidar JENSEN (North) and Matt PRITCHARD (Gaastra) on his way to the crucial head to head with Angulo when competition was eventually abandoned.
Perhaps the most vital heat of the day was the battle between Dunks and Vidar Jensen, with both sailors fighting it tooth and nail for the event victory and the overall title. Dunkerbeck opened up his heat by working a three foot set wave upwind and riding it with aggressive power all the way to the beach. Jensen replies by carving hard on the following wave but failed to connect all the way through to the inside. The twelve times world champion then pulled out his trump card on the next wave in the shape of a perfectly executed wave 360 landed onto the back of the wave. With the stakes high, Jensen fought back with a superb slash off the top on a hollow section and then a one handed cutback on the very next wave. Dunkerbeck's years of competition experience prevailed as he milked each wave systematically into the beach. Jensen was defeated, a sad moment in his career as he was only one heat away from becoming world champion!
On the top half of the draw 30 year old Californian sailor Matt PRITCHARD (Gaastra), advanced though vital heats against Orjan JENSEN (North) Greg ALLAWAY (JP, Neil Pryde) and Victor FERNANDEZ before going down to Dunkerbeck in heat 64. His progress yesterday has moved him into fourth overall in this years overall rankings.
We are now only three heats away from deciding the winner here in Sylt and the overall world champion for 2003. With three days of possible competition remaining here in Sylt who knows what will happen? The title chase is balanced on a knife-edge between Angulo and Dunkerbeck…let's hope the conditions prevail so we can see an explosive finish to the 2003 PWA wave world tour.
In the women's double elimination Anne Marie REICHMAN (Naish boards, Naish sails) of Holland advanced against fellow Dutch sailor Cilia SWINKELS before losing to Iballa MORENO (Mistral, North) in heat 31b. On the other half of the draw Nayra ALONSO of Gran Canaria charged through heats against Camilla FRENCH (Fanatic) and Uli HÖLZL (F2, Arrows) before meeting up with Iballa MORENO in the finals women's heat of the day. Both girls battled it out aggressively charging the shore break and with Iballa and Nayra smacking close out sections right in front of the crowds. The judge's decision went to Nayra who will now face Karin JAGGI (F2, arrows) in the next to see who will go through into the double elimination final against Daida MORENO (Mistral, North).
Last night the wind dropped to a mere breeze here in Sylt after one of the most intense days of PWA wave competition of the 2003 season. With three days remaining here in Sylt there are still many scores to be settled both in race and wave disciplines. Stay tuned to the PWA web site for daily updates of all the news, results and pictures as the 2003 PWA race and wave tours draw to their conclusion.
Quotes of the Day
"Everyone keeps telling me I am number one at the moment. Obviously that is good news for me but we still have three more days of competition remaining. I am taking it easy; if I need to sail again, then I will and if I don't I will celebrate when the fat lady sings. The heat against me and Bjorn will be a big heat when it happens; it is basically for the world title. I will have to sail well but I feel that it what I have been doing. I feel pretty strong here. My sailing feels good right now. I am confident that I can beat Bjorn but he can beat me too. We are both two of the best! I am OK with where I am at. It is definitely a bit funny being in first position right now especially with three days to go of the year. I am just enjoying the moment right now and concentrating on what comes my way."
"It was a very good day. It was close but I guess it is always close when it is this light and this small. The next heat is the deciding one so I hope we are going to get a little more wind than we had today. I felt bad about knocking out Vidar and taking away his chance of the title. He would not have felt bad about knocking me out. I would have rather had somebody else do it though. It had to be one of us that went out, in the end I am a little sad for Vidar…it was tough!"
Mens Wave Results After One Single And Up To Heat 64 Of The Double Elimination.
|1||Kevin PRITCHARD (Gaastra, Starboard)||USA|
|3||Bjorn DUNKERBECK (Neil Pryde)||NED|
|4||Matt PRITCHARD (Gaastra)||USA|
|5||Vidar JENSEN (North)||DEN|
|5||Victor FERNANDEZ (Fanatic)||ESP|
Women's Wave Results After One Single Elimination And Up To Heat 64 Of The Double Elimination.
|1||Daida MORENO (Mistral, North)||ESP|
|2||Karin JAGGI (F2, Arrows)||SUI|
|4||Iballa MORENO (Mistral, North)||ESP|
|5||Anne Marie REICHMAN (Naish Boards, Naish Sails)||NED|
|5||Uli HÖLZL (F2, Arrows)||AUT|