The PWA world tour has arrived on the sun-drenched beaches of Spanish Mediterranean coastline for the 2003 Catalunya, Costa Brava, PWA freestyle qualifier.
Based in the water sports paradise of The Bay of Roses, the event is scheduled to officially kick off tomorrow, 21 May and run through until Sunday 25 May. Against the imposing backdrop of the Pyrenees, the world-class fleet of sailors will be taking to the surf flecked water of the Mediterranean to compete for the 25,000 Euro prize fund, which is up for grabs.
The impressive list of entrants, who have registered today, form a mixture of experienced tour regulars alongside several newcomers, who are here for their first taste of PWA competition. Vidar Jensen (North), a past winner here in Costa Brava is the top seed and will be hoping for strong winds once action is underway. Jensen, hails from Gran Canaria and although he is probably better know for his radical wave sailing, his freestyle skills can also be spectacular. Other big names to watch out for here in Costa Brava include Vidar's brother, Orjan Jensen (North, Proof), Remko De Weerd (Gaastra, Fanatic), Julien Taboulet (JP, Neil Pryde), Christian Sammer (F2, Arrows) and Jonas Ceballos (Gaastra, Fanatic). The youngest competitor in the fleet is local twelve-year-old Oliver Tom Schliemann (Starboard, Naish). Oliver is better known for his racing skills but is hoping to cause some upsets against the best in the world this week here on his home waters.
Sails are now rigged, boards strapped up and the correct fins for the conditions attached. With the possibility of breezy onshore thermal winds or howling offshore Tramontana winds sailors here in Costa Brava have to be prepared for all eventualities and have virtually their whole quivers of equipment on standby.
The hand selected PWA, international judging panel here in Costa Brava will be making their decisions based on "Overall Impression" during the heats. The judges will be noting down different moves pulled off on each tack. At the end of the heat, they will then decide their scores for Diversity, Technical Skill and Style. The judges then give a score for Overall Impression, which are multiplied by a factor of 3. The scores are then totalled and the sailor with the highest score will win the heat.
Vidar JENSEN (North)
I think it is going to be windy this year. It is a nice place to visit. Everything is right on the beach and the area is very relaxing. There are so many new guys coming to these events who learn all the moves really quickly. It is going to be tough - I think we have to watch out for these up and coming guys!
Remko De WEERD (Gaastra, Fanatic)
This is my first time here in Costa Brava. I am looking forwards to a good week of sailing. I guess Vidar and Orjan are two of the guys to watch out for but there are lots of guys here who are not very well known yet but could cause some upsets. Yesterday the wind was blowing and I managed to get out on the water. Some of the French guys were ripping - who knows who will win, we will have to wait and see!
Julien TABOULET (JP, Neil Pryde)
I have been to all the previous events here in Costa Brava. I just live one hour from here. Sometimes when the Tramontana is blowing, I come here because there are good waves. I think it is possible there will be some good wind this week. There are a lot of good guys here, Vidar, Orjan, Remko Christian Sammer and a lot of hot French sailors. I think it is going to be good on the water!