Ricardo CAMPELLO (JP, Neil Pryde) and Karin JAGGI (F2, Arrows) have clinched the vital first blood in the opening double elimination at the PWA Bonaire Freestyle finals.
Eighteen year old, Campello of Brazil had to beat last years King of the Caribbean Tonky FRANS (Gaastra, AHD) twice yesterday afternoon in a sensational climax to a dramatic day on the water. In the women's final Karin JAGGI also had to sail twice to overcome Daida MORENO (Mistral North) of Spain in a closely fought battle late in the afternoon.
Lac Bay firmly lived up to its reputation as a freestyle paradise by providing perfect conditions for the opening day of action of the 2003 PWA freestyle finals. 10-20 knot trades, 80 degrees, crystal clear flat water and blue skies were the order of the day as the sailors took to the water for an intense day of high-level action. Once again the level of freestyle has been raised to a new platform with incredible moves such as Toucan 360's, Chachos, switch stance one-handed flakas and shuvits into spocks.
The mornings single elimination saw Ricardo CAMPELLO fly through heats against Javier SINT JAGO, Christian DAMMERS (Gaastra, Starboard), Diony GUADAGNINO (Neil Pryde) and Taty FRANS (AHD, Gaastra) on his road to the final. On the bottom half of the draw Tonky FRANS was also on the warpath and took down Kiri THODE, Kevin MEVISSEN (Neil Pryde, JP), Remko De WEERD (Fanatic, Gaastra) and Douglas DIaz (Fanatic, North).
The other main runner in the race for the title, Robby SWIFT (JP, Neil Pryde) had a disappointing opening round, going down against a mind blowing performance from Taty FRANS (Gaastra, AHD) in the quarter finals. Kauli SEADI (Naish, AHD) of Brazil also suffered an early exit in the quarterfinals against Douglas DIAZ (Fanatic, North) but Seadi was sailing on borrowed gear as his baggage failed to arrive in Bonaire on time.
The men's single elimination final saw local hero Tonky FRANS take the opening victory of the day after a rousing display of slick freestyle moves. The Chacho seemed to be the vital move of the day and when Frans nailed a flawless version, minutes into the heat he immediately left Campello with his work cut out. Frans continued to sail the rest of the heat with meticulous precision despite Campello digging deep into his repertoire and fighting all the way.
The men's double elimination saw a change in fortune for Kauli SEADI (AHD, Naish) with the arrival of his equipment on the morning flight into Bonaire. Seadi immediately stepped up his level and won through heats against Martin VAN GEENHOVEN (North), Kiri THODE (Starboard), Taty FRANS and Douglas DIAZ before going down to Ricardo Campello in the battle for a place in the final. Disappointment continued for Britain's Robby Swift who finished in ninth today after going down to Kevin Mevissen (JP, Neil Pryde) of Holland. The young Dutch sailor nailed a perfect chacho while Swift seemed to be struggling with his landings and sailed a heat well below his normal standards.
With Campello advancing into the final after defeating fellow Brazilian Kauli SEADI, only Tonky FRANS was in his way for the first double elimination victory of the competition. Over two closely run finals; Campello's consistency and technical expertise just gave him the upper edge over the slick style of Tonky FRANS. The second final saw Campello nail thirteen moves in the five-minute duration with his superior performance earning him a 5-0 decision from the judges. Once again the judges score sheets revealed it was a chacho that made the vital difference and this time it had been Campello's turn to nail a perfect example.
Yesterday's early defeat could prove to be a devastating blow to Robby SWIFT'S chances in the title race but it is still early days here at the PWA freestyle finals. Ricardo CAMPELLO now has one victory in the bag and is definitely looking like the strong favourite to win the overall title.
In the women's competition the morning final was an all Moreno (Mistral, North) affair with Daida just edging ahead of Iballa who had taken down last years champion in the semi final. When battle resumed in the afternoon Jaggi stepped up her game and advanced over Femke VAN DER VALK, Tanja Emig and the Iballa MORENO in the fight for the coveted place in the first double elimination final. Determined to hold onto to her Caribbean Queen status it was Jaggi who won the favour of the judges in two finals despite a concerted effort from Moreno. As it stands the race for the women's championship remains wide open since we still have six days of competition remaining in Bonaire.
The forecast for today is the pretty much the same as usual in the Caribbean, steady trades, blue skies and another day of hot action on the cards.
Stay tuned to the PWA web site for the news, results and photos updated daily.
I had a really nice day although my first heat was terrible. I guess I was a bit worried. My equipment helped me out a great deal, my new boards and sails are really working well. Everything worked out well, the conditions were nice and it looks like my dreams are coming true!
The day didn't start that well for me. I guess I got kind of lucky that it ended up being a double. I did so many heats I can't remember, it was hard work. I felt I sailed better and better as the heats went on. Winning against Daida is a job well done so I am pretty happy with that. I guess the race for the title is really on now!