It's been a dramatic day of insane freestyle action here at the Bonaire PWA freestyle finals.
As the light finally faded at 6.30 pm Matt Pritchard (Gaastra, AHD) and Douglas Diaz (North, Fanatic) finished the day neck and neck in the men's double elimination and will have to sail one more heat tomorrow to determine the winner. Pritchard had come through from the losers and managed to beat Diaz in the first double elimination final and as a result has put himself on track for the overall title!
Seventeen-year-old Diaz from Margarita was the surprise winner of this mornings single elimination after beating local hot shot Tonki Frans (Gaastra, AHD) in a riveting head to head. Diaz caused a major early upset in the second round by clearly taking down title contender Ricardo Campello (JP, Neil Pryde). He then went on to defeat Orjan Jensen (Proof, North), Remko de Weerd (Gaastra, AHD) and Nik Baker (Mistral, North) on route to the final. Diaz won the favor of the judges with a sensational routine, which included clew first flaka's, the Toucan (reverse willy skipper) and one-legged flat-water forwards.
On the other side of the draw Tonki Frans fluid style took him through heats against Jonas Ceballos (Gaastra, Fanatic), Antoine Albeau (AHD, Neil Pryde), Vidar Jensen (North) and Matt Pritchard (AHD, Gaastra). In the final against Diaz, Tonki failed to nail two attempts at the Chacho whilst the young Venezuelan sailed a rock solid heat to clinch victory.
In the double elimination it was Matt Pritchard who found form and won through with gritted determination against Kauli Seadi (Naish Boards, Naish Sails), Robby Swift (JP, Neil Pryde) and Tonki Frans (Gaastra, AHD). With the light fading fast Pritchard and Diaz managed to complete the first double elimination head to head before competition was forced to be abandoned. Weary from three tough back-to-back heats Pritchard was running on adrenaline as he busted out a superb action packed repertoire to take the first blood.
I am very happy! This was my first single elimination victory and only my second ever PWA event. I am from Margarita and have been training hard with Ricardo Campello. I learned everything from Ricardo.
That was my kind of light. I like it kinda dark and stormy because it scares the little kids! I kinda got into a routine and that helped me in the final. I have been training hard for this and I know I have got the goods. It is just a matter of putting it all together in those six minutes!
In the women's competition Colette Guadagnino (JP, Neil Pryde) was today's winner ahead of Karin Jaggi (F2, Arrows) after coming out on top of the three ladies finals. Despite some slick moves form Karin Jaggi, Colette's routine, which included spocks, grubby's and some incredible transitions proved enough to win the favor of the judges.
One day down here in Bonaire and we have already seen some of the most amazing freestyle competition in the history of the PWA. With five more days of competition remaining there are still plenty of scores to be settled. Pritchard is on track for the title but as we have seen this year on the freestyle tour…anything can happen!