Nik Baker (Mistral, North) and Ricardo Campello (JP, Neil Pryde) have made it through to the first single elimination final here at La Coupe des Isles, PWA, 2002, Freestyle Grand Prix.
Two thrilling heats were completed this morning before dying winds spoilt the show and competition was left on standby for the rest of the day.
Today¹s location at La Cuesta on the island of Havre Au Maisons offered a change of conditions with the action being held in smooth, flat water and a steady breeze, gusting between 15-18 knots. The opening heat, which saw Vidar Jensen (North) challenge Ricardo Campello and Robby Swift (JP, Neil Pryde) take on Josh Stone (JP, Neil Pryde) was a freestyle frenzy. Current world number one Ricardo Campello was hungry to continue towards the final and put together a slick heat comprising of Swayzes, grubbys, a clew first spock and several tack variations. Jensen replied with a solid repertoire of moves but failed to match Campello¹s polished routine. Next up, Britain¹s Robby Swift disposed of his senior teammate in a sensational battle. Stone pulled out all the stops but was unable to match the consistency of his younger counterpart.
Action continued with Baker v Pritchard and Campello v Swift semi final showdowns. In front of a back drop of green hills, dotted with colorful island houses, Nik Baker once again banged out a solid performance, which seemed to push Pritchard into making a couple of unforced errors. Meanwhile, Brazilian wiz kid Ricardo Campello, kept his cool and sailed a flawless heat against Robby Swift who looked to be slightly underpowered and as a consequence failed to pull off several key moves.
NIK BAKER (Mistral, North) It was a long day, just for seven minutes of competing but to be honest I was pretty happy. Matt is a great competitor and we had a very close heat. The wind was still a bit light which made it challenging. I had good fun out there!
RICARDO CAMPELLO (JP, Neil Pryde) I am pretty happy to make it through to the final. I hope for some more wind tomorrow. I did not feel that I sailed that well today but luckily I made it through
MATT PRITCHARD (AHD, Gaastra) I was really disappointed not to make the final. I knew I needed to have a solid performance out there against Baker but I got stuck downwind and could not get planing. Everything went downhill for me and I kind of got a bit flustered. Baker turned it up in the end and at this level I had no chance!
ROBBY SWIFT (JP, Neil Pryde) I was happy with the first heat but didn¹t really do it in the second one. I thought I could of made it through but it was not really windy enough and I should of used a bigger sail. There is always the double tomorrow. Normally I am happy to make it this far but I am pretty confident at the moment and thought I could have made it all the way
Baker and Campello looked to be both fired up for their head to head confrontation in the final but unfortunately the wind refused to play ball. The crew and finalists patiently waited for the rest of the day but the conditions failed to materialize.
Kauli Seadi (Naish boards, Naish sails) took to the skies today! The Brazilian sailor was treated to a thrilling VIP tandem session in a micro plane over the islands from local instructor Jean Madgin. Check out the PWA event photo gallery for his shot!
KAULI SEADI (Naish boards, Naish sails) That was incredible! The pilot was crazy and we did a few stunts that had me very worried. It was fantastic to see the islands from above. I am stoked!
With four days remaining here in the beautiful Madeleine¹s there is still plenty of time to complete several rounds of competition. The forecast is calling for a front to come through the islands, which could mean some big winds and of course more balls to the wall action!