In addition to the main seeds, a trio of ANGULO's compatriots represented a significant outside threat, with their intimate knowledge of the point breaks characteristics.
Mitu MONTEIRO (CPV), Djo SILVA (CPV) and Titik LOPES (CPV) had some top names worried with their courageous and stylish approach as the clock ticked down to the opening ceremony.
Also arriving early to warm up were 2005 World Champion Kauli SEADI (BRA) and Julian TABOULET (FRA). But apart from that time paying off in competition it merely got them excited. 'I just couldn't resist buying an apartment here,' said TABOULET, now addicted to the Islands rhythms and potential. 'This place is just perfect,' commented SEADI.
The event was a big deal to this small Atlantic republic too. An impressive infrastructure by the organizers, and the level of crowds coming to support their nation were a testament to the importance of windsurfing to Cabo Verdian tourism development, and their resolve to manage and protect their resources by attracting such clean living and environmentally conscious visitors as windsurfers.
With the early heats completed on day one, the second day dawned with surf of epic proportions. Sets approaching double-mast high thundered seemingly inches away from the shore, and you could almost touch the riders as they flew past on the rollercoaster ride of a lifetime.
Testing conditions with super offshore winds limited the vertical attack seen at more side shore spots. Nevertheless the standouts dug deep to edge turns of quality and power. Some massive hits by Phil HORROCKS (GBR) and Alex MUSSOLINI (ESP) on the thick-lipped peak were outstandingly high. 'I thought...if I let go I'll probably die...and if I hold on I might still die,' said HORROCKS on the terror he felt, looking down 40 ft above the pit! 'These have been the best few days of my life!' explained MUSSOLINI.
|Josh ANGULO in the pit
© PWA/John Carter
'Kauli's has been on fire since the day he got here,' said ANGULO, 'It's a very tiring place to sail, especially during a heat where trying to connect a wave all the way through is demanding'.
'I just let it come to me… and tried not to worry about the risks involved,' spoke SEADI on his intuitive approach to victory.
No time was wasted in getting the double elimination underway on day three, with several riders champing at the bit to claw their way back up the rankings on this, their second and last chance.
A cautious approach had so far been wise, but for the double elimination only a make or break attitude would pay dividends, despite the risks being stacked in the reefs favour. A record amount of equipment was destroyed on the rocks as the stakes were raised in the savage natural amphitheatre.
Without doubt the most impressive fight back came from Jason POLAKOW (AUS), who trashed six complete rigs on the rocks to surge up the ladder. Eventually exhaustion and a solid performance from PRITCHARD halted his progress beyond a credible fourth place overall.
2006 World Champion PRITCHARD then showed spirit and flair to challenge ANGULO in a last shot to face SEADI in the final. However ANGULO had other plans, and the years he has spent living here paid off as he selected the peachiest set waves that he proceeded to tear apart, punting huge airs, including an outrageous back-arched example, that left PRITCHARD in third position overall.
As if by magic, some staggering set waves arrived for the final against SEADI. But a gamble on taking a small sail cost Florianapolis' finest dearly as he became a victim of the imposing shore break once more! Two breathtaking rides in the dying seconds were not quite enough to outscore ANGULO, granting the local spectators breathe a sigh of relief.
|Josh ANGULO goes big
© PWA/John Carter
The double eliminations re-sail was SEADI's absolute last chance to defend himself, as even more massive sets connected down the race track to match the occasion.
Of the two waves each to count, no one could have predicted it would be this close. Both riders highest scoring rides involved back-dooring the peak before making massive hits on the thick pitching section which projected them incomprehensibly skywards. SEADI consolidated the early smack with unique lines of tight and flowing turns in the pocket - his twin fin set up helping his flowing, linking lines.
ANGULO's decisive wave, after the late, under the lip punt, had more variation with snaps, one-handed cutbacks, vertical hooks and two powerful aerials on the inside bowl.
The beachside carnival was silenced as the judge's scores were tabulated. A tight 4 to 3 verdict awarded ANGULO's more powerful assault the victory and jubilation erupted like wildfire throughout the adoring throng.
Carried by a tidal wave of fans, Cabo Verdes newest icon was mobbed at the waters edge to be swept towards the podium in a frenzy of drums, whistles and unabated elation.
The largest sporting event and athletic achievement to ever have graced these shores was celebrated long through the night with cavalcades and parties spilling onto the streets. ANGULO's reward for dedication and commitment to his adopted home was worthy, precious and vital for this countries future. Future stars have doubtlessly been inspired, and it is just a matter of time before Cabo produces more stars.
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.
For all the new from the PWA World Tour CLICK HERE.