Despite huge waves and a promising forecast the PWA wave final held in Brandon Bay, on the west coast of Ireland failed to deliver a result.
This means that 26-year-old Californian sailor, Kevin Pritchard (Gaastra, Bic) has added this years PWA overall wave title to his constantly growing list of windsurfing achievements.
Pritchard's victory this season was largely a result of his performances during the two events in the Canary Islands…the home waters of last years champion Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Proof, Neil Pryde). The tour opened up in style with an awesome event in Vargas held in uncharacteristic mast high, down the line conditions. Following a memorable epic day of riveting action the wind then refused to play ball, leaving Pritchard amongst the sixteen sailors who made it through the opening two rounds to share the overall event victory.
Two months later, the tour was back in the Canaries for the Pozo, Izquierdo Grand Slam. The decisive heat of the season turned out to be the final between Pritchard and Dunkerbeck. Held in strong winds and logo high waves the head to head was truly a battle of the titans. With the heat all square and approaching the closing stages Pritchard busted out an innovative one legged, one handed back loop, which gave him the edge over Dunkerbeck. Apparently Pritchard had perfected the move earlier in the year in Hawaii but kept it under wraps as his trump card for such an occasion. In the losers final Britain's Nik Baker (Mistral, North) pulled out all the stops against Hawaiian wave guru Josh Angulo to take the remaining podium position.
With the wind failing to co-operate at the last two events in Sylt and Ireland, Kevin Pritchard's performances in the Canaries turned out to be enough to clinch him the title. With Kevin also in the running for this years Formula race title and his brother Matt in strong contention for the freestyle crown it could be a year of Pritchard domination in all disciplines of the PWA world tour! Last years wave champion Bjorn Dunkerbeck will have to settle for second place overall this year but no doubt he will be out to put the record straight next season.
Rookie of the year was awarded to Ty Bodycoat (Starboard) of Australia. The young Aussie who until the beginning of the season was working on a Cray fishing boat in Lancelin, burst on to the scene in Vargas and finishing in joint first place. While comeback of the year goes to Kauli Seadi (Naish) who placed 26th in 2001 and 7th in 2002.
"This has always been a dream of mine to take the wave title. I have been close in 2nd twice before and have been focusing this year on winning. My equipment has been working well all year long. The wave discipline is the hardest one to win, and to actually do it, what a dream! I couldn't have done it without the support of my family and friends, The Team, my sponsors, Bic Sport, Gaastra Sails, Fiberspar, Kaenon Sunglasses, thanks to everyone who has believed in me and supported me in my quest for Championship Titles!"
MEN'S OVERALL WAVE RANKINGS 2002
1. Kevin Pritchard (Gaastra, Bic)
2. Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Proof, Neil Pryde)
3. Nik Baker (North, Mistral)
4. Josh Angulo
5. Scott McKercher (Starboard, Naish)
The women's tour wave tour was also decided in Gran Canaria. In the ballistic winds of Pozo Daida Moreno (Mistral, North) raised her level in the final against Karin Jaggi (F2, Arrows) of Switzerland. Despite Jaggi nailing some impressive maneuvers, Moreno won the favor of the judges with a radical display of push loops, back loops and aggressive wave riding. Anne Marie Reichman (Naish boards, Naish sails) of Holland had an excellent event and deservedly took the third place slot after defeating Colette Guadagnino (JP, Neil Pryde) of Venezuela.
"Another year with the title under my arm. It wasn't easy to keep it as Karin has been pushing really hard. Iballa could not make it because of her injury in Gran Canaria right before her heat. It wasn't a really easy year for any of us, but we made it one more time and I am really happy. Now I am really looking forward for the last freestyle contest of the year in Bonaire!"
WOMEN'S OVERALL WAVE RANKINGS 2002
1. Daida Moreno (Mistral, North)
2. Karin Jaggi (F2, Arrows)
3. Anne Marie Reichman (Naish boards, Naish sails)