A perfect start to the 2004 PWA Gran Canaria Super Grand Slam in Pozo. The action started yesterday morning with the first single elimination of the men's freestyle.
Spocks, Grubbys, Flakas, Chachos, you name it and it was being busted out by the world's elite freestylers.
Looking good in the early rounds were Campello (JP/Neil Pryde), Robby SWIFT (JP/Neil Pryde), Tonky FRANS (F2/Gaastra) and Cheo DIAZ (Fanatic/North).
As the day progressed the wind settled in at around 20 - 25 knots with most sailors using sails from 4.7 - 5.4m. The sea conditions were about as good as it gets for freestyle here in Pozo, some small waves and some nice flat spots on the inside for sliding trickery!
Campello won through to the semi final beating Cyril MOUSSILMANI (Fanatic), John SKYE (F2/Arrows) and Colin SIFFERLEN (Starboard), he was looking composed and concentrated as he slid trough all manner of tricks, maximizing his point scoring potential by completing a huge range of tricks on both tacks. Cheo DIAZ beat Regis BOURON, Jose ESTREDO (Fanatic/North Sails) and Kevin MEVISSEN (JP/Neil Pryde). Robby SWIFT beat Orjan JENSEN (North Sails) and Konan LANG (Naish) on his way to the quarter finals and was looking good for a place in the semi finals when out of nowhere Taty FRANS found the 'ON' switch and started to bust out some really smooth tricks adding his own relaxed style to proceedings.
Once Taty was up and running there was no stopping him as he went on to beat Kauli SEADI in the Semi Finals with one of the latest moves a Gonzada Diablo! Which goes something like this - Switch stance, back to sail Spock with a sail duck half way through the Spock?! Probably one of the most difficult moves to pull off and Taty just seemed to pull it off with ease! Ricardo looked in control in his semi final against friend and fellow Margarita resident Cheo DIAZ, he was looking smooth and pulled of a string of clew first/switch stance moves to secure his place in the final.
The 16 strong ladies fleet was out on the water by mid afternoon. Iballa MORENO (Mistral/North Sails) was back in action after sustaining an ankle injury at the Lanzarote PWA event in July. She cruised through her early heats beating Sonia PAVELIN (Naish/Naish Sails) and Ania OSTROWSKA from Poland but then came unstuck in the semi final when Karin JAGGI (F2/Arrows) stole the show with nice forwards and Flakas. Daida MORENO (Mistral/North) was looking every bit the world champion she is as she beat Frida WIRAEUS from Sweden and Anne-Marie REICHMAN (Naish/Naish Sails) on her way to the semi final where she used her clew first Spocks to great effect to overcome a gutsy performance from fellow Gran Canarian Nayra ALONSO (Fanatic). The final was D Moreno v Jaggi. Karin looked like she might take the win as she cruised through some nice spocks and forwards and just when we thought she had caught Daida off guard the Pozo local came back with all guns blazing and launched an aerial and spock attack that some of the men would have been happy with. So the ladies results saw Daida MORENO first, Karin JAGGI second, Iballa MORENO third and Nayra ALONSO fourth.
Back to the men's and it was a Campello v Frans (Taty) final and a Diaz v Seadi loser's final. Seadi lost some ground downwind early on in the losers final, which meant he had to use valuable time of the 6-minute heat heading back upwind to position properly for the judges. Diaz was on form and held perfect position right in front of the judge's tower and did more than enough to take 3rd overall leaving Kauli SEADI in fourth.
The men's final saw Taty FRANS step it up a notch as he slid through his repertoire of radical freestyle moves. Looking as relaxed as ever he caught Campello sleeping and landed clean move after clean move. Campello looked a little off the pace as he crashed a few crucial moves. He knew he hadn't done enough and sailed off over the horizon at the end of the heat! He made it back to the beach ten minutes later to receive the news he already suspected… Taty FRANS first Ricardo CAMPELLO second.
It isn't over until it's over and if there is one person who can come back and take victory in the double elimination it is Ricardo CAMPELLO. He lost today but don't write him off, he'll be back strong tomorrow and eager to take his 3rd consecutive event win.
The forecast is looking good for wind and swell so with everything still to play for here in Pozo the event will move into its second day, with fire in their eyes the sailors will be back at the beach early to prepare for the next round of extreme windsurfing here at The 2004 PWA Gran Canaria Super Grand Slam.