The smoothest water of the event so far was perfect for the start of the first freestyle single elimination.
Some big names fell early in the heavyweight qualifying rounds. First to crash-out was Canary Islander Antxon OTAEGUI (JP / NeilPryde) who was axed by Nicholas AKGAZCIYAN (Starboard) in the second round. OTAEGUI was amongst the favorites for this event title, especially as he can boast a third overall ranking from 2006.
Next to suffer was 3-times world champion Ricardo CAMPELLO (JP / NeilPryde) who rocked-up here in 3rd overall and looking resurgent in Lanzarote after a disappointing season in 2006. He was the victim of French stylist Anthony RUENES (Tabou / Gaastra) who sailed his way right up to the semi-finals before having to settle for a loser's final slot against Tonky FRANS (F2 / Gaastra).
The trend continued for top-ranked riders to bow-out when a much improved performance from Tine SLABE (F2 / Naish) accounted for Germany's Normen GÜNZLEIN (JP / NeilPryde).
But the biggest shock of the day was the exit of world champion 'Gollito' ESTREDO (Fanatic / North) when he was comprehensively defeated by 'Brawzinho' BROWNE (Mistral / Gaastra) on his route to the final. BROWNE really gave Gollito a hard time, although he'd landed less tricks, he hardly fell and executed super- polished moves such as one-handed ponches and air-flakas. Gollito also suffered by crashing his trademark burner.
Anthony RUENES also took another massive scalp in the quarterfinals when he slapped-down number 2 ranked rider Kiri THODE (Starboard / Gaastra). THODE is the busiest heat sailor by far and despite landing a clew-first shuvit-spock he lost out on a 2-1 decision by the judging panel. TRAVERSA also pulled off the clew-first shuvit Spock on his first ever attempt of the stunt in his semi-final heat against Tonky FRANS. FRANS however was entertaining the crowds on the beachside grandstand as usual rather than solely focusing on his heat!
The final was certainly not as intense as the semi's but the there was still a barrage of top-drawer tricks to be seen. TRAVERSA fell a little more than the Brazilian youngster who threw down clew-first ponches, and punch flakas amongst the standard repertoire the elite sailors all possess. The victory visibly helped the youngster find relief from all the pressure of expectation that's heaped on his shoulders. Today BRAWZINHO took a big step towards living up to the hype that surrounds him, on a day that cements his footprint in windsurfing's elite.
Tonky FRANS' Goytas and shuvit Spocks just inches from the sand in super-shallow water won him the loser's final against RUENES.
The flatter water conditions brought the standard of the women's competition to a higher level than earlier in the season. This was predicted to favor the freestyle specialist like Laure TREBOUX (Naish / Naish) and Sarah-Quita OFFRINGA (Starboard / NeilPryde), but no one expected Moreno to find the lack of ramps suitable for success either.
The first round heats inevitably favored the higher seeds but the going got tough in the second round and first to make a breakthrough was Silvia Alba when she defeated Iballa MORENO (North) for a shot at the semi-finals.
Things got serious at the semis though when world number 3 Laure TREBOUX was crushed by joint tour leader and 2006 world champ Daida MORENO (North). TREBOUX was billed as a hot-favorite here in conditions ideal for her style but MORENO found the smoother water to her advantage too when she showed she's got more than just air-moves to brag about.
OFFRINGA beat ALBA fairly easily in the other semi with her wide range of switch moves and flakas.
The final started out looking better for OFFRINGA as MORENO fell a few times at the start. Meanwhile the 16-yr old Aruban was racking-up points by opening with a flaka, a perfect Spock, an e-slider and Puneta in the first minute or so. But MORENO hit back and gained momentum. She pulled a T-Bone, a one-footed forward, and a flaka Diablo while OFFRINGA disappeared off downwind, running out of room in the official competition area that judging is limited to.
It was close call, and a switch chacho made it even closer for OFFRINGA but by MORENO had nearly matched all of OFFRINGA's earlier moves. Neither competitor looked certain of victory before the prize-giving announcement, and MORENO certainly looked grateful for the win.
The first rounds of the double elimination were completed late in the afternoon.
Antxon OTAEGUI's bad day got worse after a surge in performance from Quincy OFFRINGA (Starboard / Severne) saw him past the Lanzarote rider. OFFRINGA is a fine example of an outstanding sailor who's been suppressed by the incredible standard of PWA freestyle.
But the double is always about the fight backs, and as the shadows got longer today a couple of names emerged from the settling dust of the single. Ricardo CAMPELLO came into form late in the day, obviously loving the lighter and flukier conditions that his opponents found harder to handle.
But the most impressive claw-back came from someone who's not frequented the scene for some time and whom many thought had fallen by the wayside. Colin SIFFERLEN (Starboard / Simmer) of New Caledonia however had other ideas and showed he's far from being a written-off just yet. The French-based rider bolted out of the blocks in the double after an early single elimination exit.
Tomorrow sees SIFFERLEN line-up against CAMPELLO, whilst world numbers one and two, Estredo and THODE compete for the right to advance towards the top four.
Professional Windsurfers Association (PWA) Events are designated as ISAF Special Events. There are five main disciplines that are held on the PWA World Tour: Wave, Freestyle, Race (Slalom 42), Super X and Indoor. Competitors at each World Tour event score points towards the PWA Annual Ranking list. At the end of the season, the sailor with the highest total score in each discipline is the PWA World Champion for that year. For more information on the PWA, the events and the sailors visit the PWA website - www.pwaworldtour.com.
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