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12 December 2002, 11:04 am
The Heat is On
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PWA Freestyle King of the Caribbean

A new event, and one likely to become a classic part of the PWA World tour starts today from the sun kissed beaches of Bonhaire in the Caribbean.
Crystal clear water, wall-to-wall sunshine and 15 - 20-knot trades are the order of the day down at Lac Bay at the competition headquarters. Yesterday was registration day and a last chance for sailors to practice and refine the latest hot moves before battle commences over the forthcoming week. Judging from the standard of sailing during the warm up sessions it looks like we are in store for a mind-blowing week of insane freestyle action! . Since the last PWA event in Canada it seems every sailor has been on the freestyle program and the level out on the water has once again risen to a new high.

This is the first time the tropical Island of Bonaire has played host to a major international windsurfing event and the arrival of the PWA world tour sailors has been stirring up major interest around the local community. Windsurfing has become extremely popular here on the island especially amongst the youngsters who have been taking to the water as early as the age of three years old. With steady trades blowing year round and warm water as a playground, the net result has produced a cauldron of extremely talented sailors. Tonki and Tati Frans have been the two most outstanding sailors to emerge from Bonaire and stormed onto the world tour circuit this year and causing some major upsets along the way!

In the men's division it's anybody's guess over who will walk away with the coveted PWA freestyle title. Three contenders…Matt Pritchard (Gaastra, AHD), Ricardo Campello (JP, Neil Pryde) and Nik Baker (Mistral, North) all could win, depending on their performances here in the Caribbean. The tension between the three sailors is obvious although they will have plenty of other opposition to worry about apart from themselves.

I don't feel any tension, I know what I have got to do and I am here to do my best. Whatever happens, happens…you can't change that. The conditions here are perfect for freestyle and there are a lot of guys out there ripping. It's going to come down to the wire that's for sure!

I am just relaxed and not even thinking about the world championship. I will try my best to win and hopefully I will do it. I have trained a lot so I feel as prepared as I can be. I am not worrying about the results too much and am just going to go for it!

We arrived here in Bonaire four days early but our equipment still hasn't turned up. It's a beautiful place; an awesome freestyle location and the people are friendly. Hopefully my gear will turn up later this afternoon. To be honest looking at the ways the guys are sailing I am years behind and I am just going to be playing catch up all week realistically. I'll try my best and see how it goes.

A recent family bereavement has meant that top Mistral, North riders Daida and Iballa Moreno have been forced to pull out of the women's freestyle finals. Karin Jaggi (F2, Arrows) and Colette Guadagnino (JP, Neil Pryde) are now the two main contenders for the title and both have been here on the island for the last week acclimatizing to the local conditions.

Its freestyle paradise here. The wind is 5.3m or 5m for me, which is absolutely perfect. No wonder the kids are so good. I am feeling very sorry for the twins. I don't even know what to say.

I love it here. It's a great place, the water is warm and super blue. It makes you want to sail and never get out of the water. I am certainly going to do my best to win the title. It all depends who wins this event out of Karin and myself. I think that is the scenario!
Vivienne Masters/ISAF News Editor
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