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THE GRAN CANARIA PWA GRAND SLAM, 2001

23:21 17th July 2001 by
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BJORN DUNKERBECK AND DAIDA MORENO BOTH TAKE VICTORIES IN OUT OF CONTROL, 50-60
KNOT WINDS!

Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Proof, Neil Pryde) and Daida Moreno (Mistral, North) both
held on to their number one positions toady in epic conditions here at the Pozo,
PWA Grand Slam. Winds were off the Richter scale, sometimes blowing in excess
of 60 knots and the scene at the contest site can only be described as out of
control. The relentless winds have ripped most of the sponsorship flags to shreds,
dust storms have blowing around the beach and the sea has turned into a mass
of frothing whitecaps!

The men’s final was a massive battle between the current Overall world Champion
Kevin Pritchard (Bic, Gaastra) and the ex-world Champion Bjorn Dunkerbeck. On
his road to the final Pritchard had to come through heats against Josh Stone
(JP, Neil Pryde), Josh Angulo (RRD), Marcos Perez (Mistral, North) Jonas Cabellos
(Proof, Gaastra), Levi Siver (F2, North), Vidar Jensen (Drops, North) and finally
Nik Baker (Mistral, North). Pritchard fatigued from having already sailed in
seven heats couldn’t quite find the resources to overcome the Terminator but
gave him a dam good run for his money. Dunkerbeck was fresh and strong however
and boosted some massive jumps, which were enough to secure his double elimination
victory.

In the women’s final Karen Jaggi (F2, Arrows) emerged as the challenger to
Daida Moreno (Mistral, North). Jaggi had to beat Anne Reichman (Naish boards,
Naish sails), Colette Guadagnino (JP, Neil Pryde) and Iballa Moreno (Mistral,
North) on her path to the final. Current woman’s Overall world Champion, Daida
Moreno proved to strong in the end and managed to hold down a 3.4m sail in the
40-50 knot winds during the final. Jaggi was using a 2.8m, her smallest sail!
Moreno landed a push loop, a huge stalled forward and shredded several logo
high waves during the final. Jaggi replied with a brave performance but never
seemed to find the right ramps to match the jumps of the World Champion.

Today was a day for monster airs! Vidar Jensen Launched into a jump in his
warm up that just went up and up and up and up! It was massive, those that saw
it have estimated that it was anywhere between fifty and sixty feet! Dunkerbeck
also nailed a few monster airs whilst out practising between heats. It was a
day that has given a whole new meaning to the term ‘rocket air’.

Young Jonas Cabellos had the day of his life today. After disposing of French
sailor Pierrick Wattez (Bic, Neil Pryde) in his first heat Cabellos then found
himself up against Australian wave legend Jason Polakow (JP, Neil Pryde). The
young Spaniard busted out one particular massive, one handed back loop, which
even Polakow could not match. With confidence building Cabellos then challenged
the mighty Argentinean Francisco Goya (Fanatic, Arrows). Cabellos, a Pozo local
repeated his performance, landing jump after jump with clinical precision somehow
managing to hold onto his landings in the ballistic winds. Goya fought hard
but never really found the flowing form which helped him secure victory here
two years ago. Cabellos was finally beaten by his new Gaastra team mate, Kevin
Pritchard but finished the day well contented with his fifth place. There are
not too many nineteen-year-old sailors that can boast they beat two world wave
champions in the same day!

The day was not without it’s casualties. Aussie wave guru, Scott McKercher
(Naish) sailing against French sailor Julien Taboulet (AHD, Neil Pryde) threw
himself into a crazy table top forward at the end of his heat. He landed awkwardly,
the result a badly twisted and sprained knee. McKercher was forced to retire
from competing despite the fact he won the heat.

We still have five more days of official competition remaining and locals are
predicting we are in for bigger waves and even stronger winds. It’s hard to
imagine that the wind can get stronger than it already is. It is already survival
at sea out there! Tomorrow it is possible that we will be starting a second
double elimination of waves if the forecast is correct. One thing that is for
sure…Pozo is going off!

BJORN DUNKERBECK (PROOF, F2)
"The real winds arrived today. It looks like we are in for a couple more
days like this so it is going to be a tough week ahead. It was good today. Some
of the earlier heats had some nice waves but by the final the low tide killed
the good sets. The final was a good heat, it was tough but I am pleased to still
be in number one position"

KEVIN PRITCHARD (BIC, NEIL PRYDE)
"I went through a lot of heats and I am pretty stoked! You don’t really
think about the strength of the wind when you are going out there. I was just
thinking about my heats and going for it. I was on a 3.3m for the whole day
so I reckon it was gusting up to 50 knots or so. It was a good day!"

DAIDA MORENO (MISTRAL, NORTH)
"It is really, really windy. I have seen it worse but not blowing all day
and all night like it has today! I think some of the big guts must be 60 knots.
The conditions were hard-core. I sailed the final on a 3.4m. I rigged it really
flat, for jumping it was OK but the wave riding was really hard. I am really
happy I won though"

KAREN JAGGI (F2, ARROWS)
"It was pretty windy actually. I was on a 2.8m and I don’t know how Daida
held on to a 3.4m. I wanted to start the final with a big forward but there
were absolutely no waves. After that run it got quite good. I was happy with
my performance. If I had of done a little bit better in the waves I could have
even won"

KEVIN PONICHETERA (F2, ARROWS)
"Its windy as shit out there. It is probably like 55 knots maybe…Its
out of control. You can’t even wave ride coming in!"

JONAS CABELLOS (PROOF, GAASTRA)
"The wind was so strong. I was on a 3.3m but that was way too big, it is
crazy out there! I am happy to beat Francisco Goya is a dream for me"

FRANCISCO GOYA (FANATIC, ARROWS)
"Finally we got real Pozo conditions. I have no clue how windy it is out
there!"

TRISTAN BOXFORD (FANATIC, NORTH)
"Its pretty flipping’ windy out there. I was out on a 3.7m. You can jump
as high as you let yourself. Its insane!"