Robby Swift (JP/Pryde) upheld the reputation of the new skool brat pack today at Sotavento by taking top honours in the Mens freestyle discipline.
Robby dominated throughout all his heats and was earmarked for the top slot from the moment he hit the water. Robby so often has shown flashes of brilliance in previous contests, but would then go for the most radical move invariably crash and hence lose the heat. Today was different, he sailed through all his heats like a past master of competition, hiding the fact he is only 17!. His repetoire included Spocks, Ponchs, Grubby's, McTwists and Shuv Its(one handed!!). Robby was ecstatic after his victory and immediately got on the phone and informed the world about his good news! Robby was as ever modest and pleased just to have made some of the moves in the contest that he only learnt how to do 2 days ago!. Obviously a fast learner!!!. On his road to victory Robby defeated lots of top seeded sailors including Frank Lewisch, Greg Allaway and Michael Viscovich.
Second place honours went to Matt Pritchard (AHD/Gaastra) who is having an amazing year after returning from injury after breaking his leg last year. Matt like Robby had a faultless day fending of stiff opposition from Prince of the Lake Johannes Markthaler, Andy Pusch and Richie Foster. Matt's forte is in his variation of tricks, it is more evident that to win a freestyle event you must do more than just Spock!. Matt combined all old skool tricks like carving 360's with the new moves like Lollipops and Spock 540's.
The losers final saw Richie Foster (Fanatic/Naish) and Vidar Jensen (North) battling for the final podium slot. Vidar stole the show with a fine display of jumps and tricks, topping it all of with his trademark one handed forward loop which he landed going faster than when he went into it!. Richie did his overall ranking no harm either by coming fourth, Richie is so consistent with his sailing and rarely falls off except of course when he has a semi final against Matt Pritchard!!
So what happened to the freestyle champion Josh Stone(JP/Pryde)?. Josh as ever looked capable of reaching the final especially after a tough heat against the Brazillian style master Kauli Seadi(Naish/Naish) in which the crowd were treated to the most action packed heat of the day. Maybe it was Josh's victory over the Brazilian that caused him to become complacent in his next heat with bottom seed Rick Fiddicke (Fanatic/Arrows). Josh did not help his cause by making a perfect Spock outside of the contest area in the first 10 seconds of the heat, on hearing this after the heat he was not to pleased to say the least! This is to take nothing away from Rick who sailed the heat of his life to take out the World Champion.
Nik Baker(Mistral/North) saw the whole of his day as a complete bonus as he made his way through each heat. Nik of course was confined to crutches only a few days ago but thanks to PWA phsyio Graeme Saxbys' healing hands Nik was able to battle on abliet with a lot of pain!
The standard of the mens sailing is truly amazing proving that windsurfing is a sport that can have no limitations, these guys are inventing new moves on a daily basis keeping the judges entertained as well as the event commentator who was left speechless quite a few times!!
The womans fleet were also in action today, Karin Jaggi(F2/Arrows) won an epic battle against World Champion Iballa Ruano Moreno (Mistral/North). The two girls showed that they are a match for the men by landing moves that some of the guys only were capable of this time last year. Karin put together a more varied heat than Iballa showing that variation in a heat is the key to victory.
Daida Ruano Moreno (Mistral/North) took third ahead of Toni Frey(RRD/Gun).
So it was the end to a perfect day for Robby Swift(JP/Pryde) who was absolutely on top of the Freestyle world, 17 years old and leading the biggest freestyle event of the year, just as well he cannot drink alcohol or he might have been out celebrating tonight!!
Tomorrow is looking good for more action with the possibility of some swell arriving to spice things up. As usual we will be here to keep you posted on what so far has been a true 'balls to the wall' contest!!