With Antoine ALBEAU (FRA) forced to withdraw after sustaining minor injuries at a recent speed sailing event, all eyes were on current World Champion, PRITCHARD and last years number three ranked sailor, Robby SWIFT (GBR) to see if they could maintain the form that led them to glory last year.
There was massive potential for upsets from Super X newcomers Josh ANGULO (USA), Micah BUZIANIS (USA) and wildman Robert TERIITEHAU (FRA). Whilst they may be new to Super X, they are of course no strangers to windsurfing and with ANGULO and BUZIANIS both former World Champions in their respective specialties, anything was possible.
As the first eight sailors dashed across down the sand and into the Mediterranean waters, the 2005 PWA Super X World Tour was underway.
The early heats of round one saw no major surprises, with diehards of Super X such as Nik BAKER (GBR) and Cyril MOUSSILMANI (FRA) winning their first round heats alongside former Overall World Champion Kevin PRITCHARD (USA) to slip easily into the semis.
Former Wave Champion ANGULO, just missed out on a place in the finals in a first round heat that SWIFT controlled ahead of fellow JP, Neil Pryde rider and Leucate local Julien TABOULET (FRA). Current Freestyle World Champion, Ricardo CAMPELLO (BRA) fell short of the final eight along with the Dutch rubberman, Remko DE WEERD.
Into the final of round one and all round ability dominated, with MOUSSILMANI, and both PRITCHARDs taking clear leads over the first obstacles. Despite the enormous combined experience of the USA's finest, MOUSSILMANI demonstrated excellent control combined with extreme speed to take the first round honours with confidence.
After a short break for lunch and recuperation, the fleet reassembled for the start of round two. The wind, by now, was gusting over thirty knots and the course had taken on an entirely new personality.
The preliminary rounds once again sorted the men from the boys and the final line up looked like the who's who of Super X. TABOULET, MOUSSILMANI, BAKER, SWIFT and the PRITCHARDs stood shoulder to shoulder on the final line up alongside Peter VOLWATER (NED) and local boy Nicholas AKGAZCIYAN (FRA).
Years of experience and outright professionalism paid off in the final of round two as Matt PRITCHARD blasted away from the beach. SWIFT and TABOULET were in close pursuit, but there was simply no catching the champ. PRITCHARD was back in the game.
By round three it was blowing! During the short break after round two many sailors had rigged smaller sails often opting for 4.0 sq. m. in the powerful winds.
John SKYE (GBR) had to settle for the bridesmaid slot once more, missing out on the final by just a few seconds but finishing consistently once again in the top 3 of the losers final. CAMPELLO finally made it through to start in his first final of the event and Vidar JENSEN (NOR) returned to the top eight for the second time.
After tasting glory in round one, MOUSSILMANI was hungry for more and flew round the first two legs of the course leaving Matt PRITCHARD out of contention in sixth. However you do not become a World Champion by giving up and PRITCHARD continued to fight the good fight. At the penultimate mark, the 31 year old American slipped cleanly through the tightest gap with an incredible racing duck gybe, to overtake four sailors in one move and slip into second just behind MOUSSILMANI. The professional focus of 13 years pro competition kept PRITCHARD's head firmly above water as MOUSSILMANI struggled through the last two maneuvers, slipping into second place in round three and in the overall results.
With two wins and a second place, PRITCHARD is sitting pretty going into day two but, with more wind forecast for tomorrow, there is no time for complacency.