Spectacular wave competition commenced yesterday here in Gran Canaria although in rather unexpected circumstances.
Yesterday morning the wind was still blowing from the south at Vargas and too offshore and flat to compete. Scouts were sent out from the race crew to check out the conditions further round the coast of the island. When logo high waves and side shore winds were discovered on the North Shore the decision was made to move the competition venue. The logistical side of moving over seventy-five contestants and all of their equipment ran surprisingly smoothly and by midday the first PWA wave action of the season was underway.
In side shore gusty winds blowing anywhere between 15 and 35 knots combined with up to mast high waves two radical rounds of the men¹s single elimination were completed. The majority of sailors here in Gran Canaria were expecting to be competing in cross onshore jumping biased conditions, so today¹s unexpected twist of circumstances provided a whole new ball game out on the water.
Amongst those advancing to the last sixteen was Hawaiian wave specialist Scott Carvill (Naish boards, Naish sails). The Oahu based sailor was obviously well suited to the conditions and throwing some incredible vertical gauging cutbacks. Scott Carvill (Naish boards, Naish Sails) "These are not the conditions we were expecting thank God, this suite me much better! Its fun out there, the waves are setting up for one bang and are definitely hittable. I had a fun time out there, it is nice to bottom turn"
Last years overall wave champion Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Proof, Neil Pryde) advanced comfortably and will face Xavier Huart (Mistral, North) of France in the third round.
Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Proof, Neil Pryde) "This low pressure has just changed everything and lucky enough we are on an island so we have been able to move around. Wave wise it has been really good although the wind has been pretty up and down. My heats were not particularly good because the wind was really light but in the warm up I had a really good time."
Nik Baker (Mistral, North) was sailing with power and aggression during his heats today and advanced over Arne Andreassen of Norway and then over fellow British sailor John Skye (F2, Arrows).
Nik Baker (Mistral, North) "I have been on 4.2 today up to 5.3 so the wind has been pretty up and down. Sadly the wind in Vargas was too offshore so we have had to move; at least we are getting through the competition. I never imaged we would come to Gran Canaria and be sailing side shore down the line port tack it has been awesome!"
Aussie wave guru¹s Jason Polakow (JP, Neil Pryde) and Scotty Mckercher (Starboard, Naish) stole the show this morning during the warm up. Both sailors were smacking the waves deep in the pocket throwing huge sprays as they hit the lip. Polakow will face Scott Carvill in the last sixteen whilst Mckercher has been drawn against Marcos Perez of Spain.
Jason Polakow (JP, Neil Pryde) "I have had a couple of bad heats but I managed to get through. The wind went a bit onshore later on. I had some good waves this morning."
Scott McKercher (Starboard, Naish) "Its not bad out there. I am quite liking it. This morning was sick when it was windy. The waves were very smackable, very hittable and not too dredgy. I am getting through, I wasn¹t too stoked with my last heat so I want to be more on top of my game for the next one."
Other sailors advancing today into the last sixteen were Kauli Seadi (Naish boards, Naish sails), Antoine Albeau (AHD, Neil Pryde), Vidar Jensen (North), Ty Bodycoat (Starboard), Peter Volwater (F2, Arrows), Francisco Goya (Fanatic, Arrows), Kevin Pritchard (Gaastra, Bic), Greg Allaway (JP, Neil Pryde) and Josh Angulo.
The forecast for tomorrow is uncertain at this stage but organizers have indicated that it is possible that we could be moving away from Vargas again if conditions dictate. The action today was insane and with all nearly the big guns still in the competition the stage is all set of a dramatic conclusion to the single elimination in both men¹s and women¹s divisions.