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THE GRAN CANARIA PWA GRAND SLAM, 2001

10:14 16th July 2001 by
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DAY ONE: JULY 13th. INTRODUCING THE STARS…

It’s time to batten down the hatches folks! The PWA world tour has arrived
in windy city…Pozo, Izquierdo, Gran Canaria. During the following nine
days 83 of the world’s elite wave sailors and freestylers will be fighting it
out for over $120,000 in prize money.

WAVES
Over the years Pozo has deservedly earned its reputation as one of the most
radical events on the World Tour. The nuclear winds and rolling swells provide
perfect ammo for rocket airs. Local maestro’s such as Vidar Jensen (Drops, North)
and Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Proof, Neil Pryde) will be out to dominate on their home
waters although the likes of Francisco Goya (Fanatic, Arrows), Jason Polakow
(JP, Neil Pryde), Nik Baker (Mistral, North) and Robert Teriiteahau (Bic, North)
are all on the rampage to spoil their party.

Vidar Jensen the Norwegian jump specialist still has the fresh taste of victory
lingering after his victory in Vargas earlier in the season. Jensen beat ex-world
champion Bjorn Dunkerbeck in a tense final on the very last evening of the contest.
This triumph has given Jensen a very realistic chance to become the Overall
Wave World champion…if he can consolidate his position here at his home
break!

Cisco Goya the current World Wave champion had a disastrous time back in Vargas,
going out in the second round. He will no doubt be anxious to redeem himself
here in Pozo. The Argentinean wave guru won in style here, two years ago after
beating one of his best friends, Josh Stone (JP, Neil Pryde) in the final. Goya
is a member of the MPG Team (Maximum Performance Group) an elite group of sailors
coached by sports fitness professional Scott Sanchez. Former World Wave Champ,
Jason Polakow, is temporarily joining the group here in Pozo. According to rumours
on the beach, Polakow has spent the last two months training with the MPG Team
in Maui. The Australian wave guru is reportedly fitter and stronger than ever.

Other contenders for the waves include the immensely talented local Jonas Ceballos
(Proof, Gaastra), Peter Volwater (F2, Arrows) of Holland and current Overall
World Champion, Kevin Pritchard (Bic, Gaastra).

FREESTYLE
This is the first time Freestyle has been featured as a discipline in Gran
Canaria. The choppy waters and relentless winds should make things interesting
to say the least. Many sailors have arrived in Pozo straight from the last event
in Lake Garda, Italy. Typical conditions can hardly be compared! 7.m sails,
big boards and light thermal winds on the Lake over to 3.m sails, tiny wave
boards and 50 knots here in Pozo.

Matt Pritchard (AHD,Gaastra) who won the King of the Lake crown has been out
on the water practising hard! Last year he was deprived of a shot at the Overall
title after sustaining an injury the day before the Pozo competition. His brother
Kevin (Bic,Gaastra) needless to say managed to keep it in the family and took
the Overall title from Bjorn Dunkerbeck at the last event of the season in Maui
Hawaii.

Today is registration day, the last chance for sailors to last tune and prepare
for competition tomorrow. The forecast is excellent…nuclear winds all week.
Its already blowing 35 knots here today and locals are confident that we will
be in for 60-70 knots by Sunday. Welcome to Pozo the windiest place in the world!

JASON POLAKOW
"They reckon its going to blow 60 knots by the weekend. That’s good for
the locals but not for me. I prefer it like today 35 knots or so, then we have
a chance! The smallest sail I have is a 3.4m although I think I might be needing
a 2.8m!"

FRANCISCO GOYA
"That’s what they say…Its going to go ballistic! I like strong winds
but when it gets that windy it can be out of control. Should be fun though!"