The brand new PWA Gran Canaria Wind & Waves Festival proved to be a huge success as waves and nuclear winds, gusting to 60 knots, hit the shores of Pozo.
The epic competition was completed over five enthralling days. By the end of the week Iballa Ruano Moreno (Starboard / Severne) had re-written the record book, with a breathtaking display, as she became the first person in thirteen years to steal the Pozo title away from her sister, Daida Ruano Moreno (Starboard / Severne). Meanwhile Philip Köster (Starboard / NeilPryde / Maui Ultra Fins) successfully defended his Pozo crown with a quite brilliant display of his own, as he defeated Victor Fernandez (Fanatic / North) in the men's winners' final.
Men's Single Elimination
The opening winners' final of the 2012 PWA Wave World Tour saw a re-match between last year's finalists Philip Köster and Victor Fernandez. Both sailors excelled in the extreme conditions and Köster opened the heat with a humungous stalled forward before going on to land one of his trademark double forwards and a massive wave 360. Fernandez sailed a brilliant heat too and the Spaniard soon landed a double forward of his own as well as an amazing one-handed goiter to fight back. However it wasn't enough, as the judges' scores were tallied up it was revealed that Köster had made the perfect start to the competition by securing the victory.
Köster said, "I was fully powered up on my 3.7 and the conditions were crazy. I crashed a double forward and a pushloop forward but I'd landed some big jumps by that point. I feel really happy, it was a great final against Victor. Now I will wait for the double elimination and see what happens."
Dario Ojeda (Tabou / Gaastra / MFC) was able to defeat Dany Bruch (Starboard / Severne / AL360) in the losers' final as the Canarian clinched third place with an astronomical backloop and an unbelievable stalled forward to cancel out Bruch's silky smooth wave riding skills.
Earlier in the single elimination Klaas Voget (Fanatic / Simmer / MFC) lost out to Bruch by half a point in one of the closest heats of the entire competition. Ross Williams (Tabou / Gaastra) was in fine form and the Brit advanced into the quarterfinals after taking down the three times World Champion Kauli Seadi (JP / NeilPryde) in the third round. Williams' wave riding in particular was outstanding as he effortlessly linked his front and backside turns to dispatch of the Brazilian. Marcilio Browne (Goya / MFC) also made it to the fourth round after defeating his training partner Robby Swift (JP / NeilPryde / Mystic / Maui Ultra Fins) with a double forward, which scored a perfect ten from the judges. Brawzinho was then super unlucky in his quarterfinal against Fernandez. The pair were evenly matched but in the end Browne lost out to Fernandez based on the Spaniard receiving the higher wave score.
Köster and Fernandez went head-to-head once more in the double elimination winners' final but the Spaniard was unable to force a super final, Köster sailed his heat of the competition to make the perfect start to his title defense. The victory now means that Köster has won the last four events on the PWA Wave Tour as the wonder kids incredible form continues into the new season. Köster delivered the performance we were all expecting, and know he is capable of, in the final that left Fernandez defenseless. The eighteen year old was in irresistible form as he landed his trademark ankle dry double forwards, an amazing double backside 360 and monstrous frontside wave 360s to wow both the crowd and the judges.
Philip Koster speaking after defending his Pozo title, "I'm super stoked to win in Pozo for the third time of my life. Luckily for me I sailed my best heat of the competition in the final against Victor. He was pulling off great moves and trying some crazy stuff like goiter-takas. I'm also really grateful to Iballa and Daida Moreno for making the event happen because without them we wouldn't be here today."
Alex Mussolini (Gaastra / Tabou) had been the sailor of the day on Thursday after showcasing both his jumping and wave-riding repertoire. The Spaniard scored eleven points for a single wave ride, as he demolished the wave with a taka, wave 360 and a couple of outstanding backside hits. However on Friday morning his progress was halted by an on fire Marcilio Browne. The Brazilian's joy didn't last long though as his training partner, Robby Swift, exacted revenge for his earlier defeat in the single elimination. Swift proved to be the form man of the double elimination as he won five successive heats to move up to fourth place overall, before Dario Ojeda managed stop him. Prior to his clash with Ojeda, Swift scored the highest scoring jump of the entire contest with an astonishing pushloop forward, which earned him twelve points from the judges. The Brit also landed amazing double forwards, takas and radical wave 360s as he pulled off everything he went for. The result is even more impressive seeing as all of the above were performed with a broken toe as he battled through the pain.
The seventeen-year-old, Alessio Stillrich (Fanatic / North / AL360), won the youngsters competition earlier in the week but he also progressed to the fourth round of the double elimination as he knocked out two Brits in quick succession, firstly Adam Lewis (Patrik / Point-7) and then the vastly experienced John Skye (RRD / Mystic / MFC) as he impressed with his super tweaked pushloops. Stillrich showed that he is a major a threat and definitely a sailor to watch out for in the future.
Women's Single Elimination
The legendary Moreno twins continued their dominance of the Pozo event as Iballa Ruano Moreno and Daida Ruano Moreno lined up in the final yet again. For once though Daida didn't have it all her own way as Iballa produced an amazing performance. It looked as though Daida was ahead, but in the dying moments of the final Iballa picked up a wave and delivered an astonishing wave 360 to turn the tie on its head. With no time left for Daida to respond, Iballa was awarded the victory by way of a 3-2 judges decision to take the opening winners' final of the year.
Iballa Ruano Moreno speaking after winning the women's single elimination, "I'm feeling really good, this is one of the first times that anyone has beaten Daida in Pozo. I was really lucky with my final wave, I managed to pull off a wave 360 and link together a couple of nice turns, which I think made a difference to the points. We still have the double to run, where I expect to be waiting for Daida, so we will have to wait and see."
The all Swiss duel between Karin Jaggi (Patrik / Severne) and Laure Treboux (Fanatic / North) was the fight for third place in the losers' final. Treboux was looking for her first podium finish ever in the waves, but unfortunately she will have to wait a little longer as Jaggi used all of her experience to secure third place. The former World Champion landed a crazy end over end forward loop and linked several fantastic front and backside hits to defeat Treboux.
Women's Double Elimination
The Moreno twins faced each other again in the final of the double elimination and Daida performed like a true champion to force the competition into a super final. Daida put on the sort of display we have come to expect from her over the years, as she landed brilliant stalled forward and a super tweaked pushloop to put the pressure on her sister. Despite landing a superb table top forward Iballa couldn't do enough to claim the event victory, yet.
The third and final battle between the Moreno twins at the 2012 PWA Gran Canaria Wind & Waves Festival saw Iballa Ruano Moreno create her own piece of windsurfing history, as she became the first person since 1999 to prevent her sister, Daida, from being crowned the Queen of Pozo. Both of the women kept their composure magnificently as the pressure both on the beach and on the water intensified. Iballa made the perfect start to her heat as she landed a perfect pushloop to settle her nerves, whilst Daida landed an amazing backloop. Iballa then took her sailing to the next level as she launched into an amazing frontside aerial, which was the best turn of the day, bar none, to edge ahead in an otherwise inseparable encounter. Despite her best efforts Daida couldn't quite match her sisters level and Iballa stole the title with an unbelievable display of sailing.
Iballa Ruano Moreno speaking after her monumental victory, "I'm really really, happy. I feel like I sailed a really good heat, I was maybe a little lucky and Daida was sailing amazing as always, but when I'm on the water I don't compete against her, I compete against myself. I think it was incredibly close and maybe things would've been different if Daida had landed the pushloop tabletop."
Steffi Wahl (Patrik / Sailloft Hamburg) sailed fantastically earlier in the double elimination to move all the way up to fourth place, after she managed navigate her way past Fanny Aubet (JP / NeilPryde), Carmen Afonso Martin, Astrid Muldoon (Fanatic / North) and most impressively Laure Treboux. The German demonstrated her amazing wave riding skills time and time again to advance past her opponents.
The next stop on the PWA Slalom World Tour will see the Canaries tour continue as the wave fleet head to Tenerife between 12-18 July.
Results After Double Elimination - Men's Wave
1. Philip Köster (Starboard / NeilPryde / Maui Ultra Fins)
2. Victor Fernandez Lopez (Fanatic / North)
3. Dario Ojeda (Tabou / Gaastra / MFC)
4. Robby Swift (JP / NeilPryde / Mystic / Maui Ultra Fins)
5. Dany Bruch (Starboard / Severne / AL360)
6. Marcilio Browne (Goya / MFC)
7. Alex Mussolini (Tabou / Gaastra)
8. Klaas Voget (Fanatic / Simmer / MFC)
9. Ricardo Campello (JP / NeilPryde / MFC)
9. Kauli Seadi (JP / NeilPryde)
9. Thomas Traversa (Tabou / Gaastra)
9. Ross Williams (Tabou / Gaastra)
Results After Double Elimination - Women's Wave
1. Iballa Ruano Moreno (Starboard / Severne)
2. Daida Ruano Moreno (Starboard / Severne)
3. Karin Jaggi (Patrik / Severne)
4. Steffi Wahl (Patrik / Sailloft Hamburg)
5. Laure Treboux (Fanatic / North)