THE GRAN CANARIA PWA GRAND SLAM, 2001

It is absolutely cranking here at the Gran Canaria, PWA Grand Slam! With ballistic
winds blowing a constant 45-50 knots and up to mast high waves rolling into
the bay crowds were treated to yet another day of epic action. Pozo simply doesn’t
get much better than this! It was balls to the wall all day. The action was,
completely and utterly RADICAL!

Once again, it was Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Proof, Neil Pryde) and Daida Moreno (Mistral,
North) who emerged as winners in the second rounds of their respective men’s
and women’s single elimination’s.

The men’s final was a carbon copy of yesterday’s double elimination final with
ex -world champion, Bjorn Dunkerbeck once again facing the challenge of America’s
Kevin Pritchard (Bic, Gaastra). When the green flag went up for the start of
the heat the wind seemed to turn up yet another notch. With gusts screaming
through up to 60 knots the battle turned into a matter of survival. Both sailors
were forced to hang on with all their might. Even the Terminator himself was
having difficulty staying attached to his rig and it took him several attempts
before he managed to nail one of his monster back loops. The ever-consistent
Pritchard battled hard. This time the margin was even closer but in the end
the decision was narrowly given in favour of Dunkerebeck.

In the men’s losers final Norwegian wild flyer, Vidar Jensen (Drops, North)
picked up third place by defeating Antoine Albeau (AHD, Neil Pryde) of France.
Jensen, who had been beaten by Dunkerbeck in the semi’s, had earlier taken the
scalps of Michael Viscovich (Proof, Simmer) in the quarters and Jason Polakow
(JP, Neil Pryde) in the third round. Albeau meanwhile had fought his way through
against Nik Baker (Mistral, North) and Peter Volwater (F2, Arrows) before eventually
losing to Kevin Pritchard in the other semi.

The women’s final was also a repeat of yesterday’s battle between Daida Moreno
(Mistral, North) and Switzerland’s Karin Jaggi (F2, Arrows). Both women still
managed to pull off push loops and forward loops despite the fact they were
competing in logo to mast high waves and winds gusting up to 55 knots. Moreno
just managed to do enough in the survival conditions to win the favour of the
judges. She is the only women sailor to remain unbeaten in the waves! Dunkerbeck
holds the same claim in the men’s competition.

Biggest jump of the day has to go to Kevin Pritchard who boosted an enormous
back loop in his third round heat against Orjan Jensen (Proof, North). Hanging
on to his 3.4m sail just as a 45 knot gust came through Pritchard hit a logo
high ramp at full speed. He was launched ridiculously high but stayed committed
to his intended manoeuvre. Some are saying he was over 50 feet at the apex.
He came down from the back loop with massive momentum almost totally submerging
himself and his rig as he hit the water.

Francisco Goya (Fanatic, Arrows) had another disappointing day! Matt Pritchard
(AHD, Gaastra) eliminated him in the third round. Goya has failed to find his
rhythm so far here in Pozo. The Argentinean wave guru has shown flashes of brilliance
but has not been able to put together consistent enough performances during
his heats.

Josh Stone (JP, Neil Pryde) also took an even earlier exit today after being
taken out by David Bart (Neil Pryde) of Tenerife in the first round. Bart basically
had nothing to lose. He decided to for it and busted out a huge table top forward,
an insane double loop and ripped the waves. Stone was taken by surprise and
will now have to wait for the double elimination to redeem himself.

Is it ever going to stop nuking here in Pozo? We have already had five days
of intensive and thrilling competition, all in winds between 35 and 60 knots.
If conditions continue the wave results could be decided tomorrow. Bjorn Dunkerbeck
and Daida Moreno are both in strong positions to take victory. There are lots
of other scores to settle further down the ranks however. The sailors are all
fired up now, there are scores to settle and battles to be won and lost!

BJORN DUNKERBECK (PROOF, NEIL PRYDE)
"The wind picked up when we were out there in the end. It was really
good in the heats before and then in the final all of a sudden it went up an
extra five or ten knots! It was really hard to hold on, I had trouble myself
a couple of times. We were just getting blown away. The again I would rather
have these kind of conditions to what we had last year. I have had a clean sheet
of victories so far and that’s the way I intend to keep it!"

KEVIN PRITCHARD (BIC, GAASTRA)
"It wasn’t too bad out there. I was on a small sail so I was in control.
The waves kind of dropped off a little in the final. I did not get as big jumps
that I was hoping for. The heat before had good conditions. I had a really good
heat against Antoine. I was pretty excited about that. I had one big back loop
today that sticks out in my mind. It was pretty fun to go up there and be so
high up and drift down. I dont know how high it was but it felt pretty high!"

DAIDA MORENO (MISTRAL, NORTH)
"It was howling out there! The first two heats I had were kind of fun
and then in the last ones I was too much overpowered. It was low tide and the
waves were breaking everywhere. It was difficult to sail. I am glad I won, I
did not feel that I sailed that well in the final"

KAREN JAGGI (F2, ARROWS)
"It was fun out there. It was as windy as yesterday, maybe even more but
then the waves were much bigger. When you were behind the waves you were covered
with your small, tiny little sail. That made it super hard to sail. I was going
from total underpowered from the waves to totally overpowered! It definitely
looked good out there. I could not time my jumps so well. If we go again tomorrow
I will try my best again"

For the overall event rankings for the men click
here

For the overall event rankings for the women click
here