Dutch sailor Remko De Weerd (Gaastra, AHD) and local girl, Daida Moreno (Mistral, North) have taken first round victories in their respective men’s and women’s freestyle eliminations at the PWA, Gran Canaria Grand Slam.
In the men's final De Weerd defeated British sailor Nik Baker (Mistral, North) in the thrilling battle, which was held this afternoon in ridiculously windy conditions. The women's final was equally exciting and it took Daida Moreno's (Mistral, North) best efforts to thwart the challenge of Anne Marie Reichman (Naish boards, Naish sails) from Holland.
De Weerd was on fire today; somehow managing to pull off extremely technical moves in Pozo's relentless winds which were blowing anywhere between 30-40knots. His repertoire included tweaked shuv-its, slick one handed spock 540's and sizzling swayzies! On route to the final the Dutch freestyle specialist overcame challenges from the likes of Christian Dammers (Gaastra, AHD), Eric Girard (Starboard), Peter Volwater (F2, Arrows), Robby Swift (JP, Neil Pryde) and Victor Fernandez (Fanatic). Baker meanwhile had an equally tough battle to make it through to the final and took down Kristoffer Living (North/AHD) of Sweden, Martin Van Geenhoven (North, AHD), Matt Pritchard (AHD, Gaastra) and Ricardo Campello (JP, Neil Pryde). The action packed final saw Nik Baker open up the heat with a Crazy Pete and Remko replying with a huge contorted Shuv-it. As the heat progressed De Weerd edged ahead after Baker failed to nail his trademark clew first spock. With both sailors on 3.3m sails in what would best be described as survival conditions the level of sailing throughout the final was incredible.
Remko De Weerd
"It was ballistic out there, I am super happy. I guess things went my way today because I can only do two jumps…the shuv-it and a forward loop. Nik had a lot more weapons than me and all I can remember was him flying through the air. In the final I pulled off most of my tricks and I think I saw Nik fall a couple of times. It was so windy today a lot of the time we were just hanging on!"
Victor Fernandez (Fanatic) an unranked local sailor caused the biggest surprise of the day after making it all the way through to the losers final. In the early rounds Fernandez took down highly ranked PWA sailors Vidar Jensen (North), Gregg Allaway (JP, Neil Pryde) and Julien Taboulet (JP, Neil Pryde) largely due to his incredible jumping ability. In the battle for third and fourth it took the extraordinary skills of young Venezuelan sailor Ricardo Campello (JP, Neil Pryde) to halt his progress.
Other shock results today included John Skye (F2, Arrows) of Britain defeating world number two freestyler, Josh Stone (JP, Neil Pryde) and the Mathieu Bonno of France taking down Brazilian samba sensation Kauli Seadi (Naish).
In the women's competition it was Daida Moreno (Mistral, North) who came out on top after a winning closely fought final against Anne Marie Reichman (Naish boards, Naish sails) of Holland. Moreno who was pulling off a variety of explosive jumps throughout the day had managed to defeat Swiss sailor Karin Jaggi (F2, Arrows) in the semis. In the final she nailed a back loop and push loop, which proved enough to give her the edge over Reichman who had sailed brilliantly in her semi final heat where she upstaged Colette Guadagnino (JP, Neil Pryde) of Venezuela.
The day began dramatically when Iballa Moreno (North, Mistral) was rushed to hospital after breaking her foot in three places after awkwardly landing a table top in the warm ups. She is due to have surgery tomorrow morning and will be out of action for at least two months.
The wind is still howling here in Gran Canaria and the forecast is more of the same! Tonight sailors will be resting aching muscles and contemplating their days performances. There are still eight days of competition remaining and if today is anything to go by the show has only just started!