The 2006 Gran Canaria PWA Grand Slam Day Nine
Daida Moreno (E-64, Mistral/ North Sails) reigns supreme and wins the second single elimination of Womenâ€™s Freestyle to keep the event lead. The reigning 28 year old freestyle world champion, beat Karin Jaggi (Z-14, F2/ North Sails) in one of the closest finals ever seen in womenâ€™s freestyle. Antoine Albeau (F192 Starboard / Neil Pryde Sails) is un-beatable in the Slalom 42 racing, as the focus shifts to the battle for second place between Bjorn Dunkerbeck (E-11 T-1/ North Sails) and Kevin Pritchard (US-3 Starboard / Maui Sails).
Todayâ€™s action started with the semi-finals of the womenâ€™s second single elimination. First to sail were Treboux and Jaggi. Treboux was pulling impressive tricks such as Spock 540â€™s and one-handed Spocks in the lighter than normal Pozo conditions. Jaggi however showed more diversity in her scores, making more tricks on both port and starboard tack, as she pulled off clean spocks, grubbies and willy skippers. Jaggi advanced to the final and Treboux got to fight for third and fourth place in the losers final.
The second semi-final was between Iballa and Daida Moreno. Daida looked smooth as she made forwards, a one-handed spock and a spock 540. Iballa meanwhile landed a one-footed forward loop, a spock and a switch stance vulcan before falling on a puneta and some additional spock attempts. Daida sealed the win with an excellent flaka, and with more completed moves.
The loserâ€™s final was watched with a lot of interest by the large weekend crowds. Treboux has made a real impact on this her debut year, and many were keen to see her perform under pressure against Iballaâ€™s experience. Iballa made an excellent forward loop but Treboux, although strongly biased to starboard tack, made a series of impressive manoeuvres. Iballa was clearly suffering in the lighter winds than she is used to and, without the opportunity to score high jumps along with sliding tricks, she crashed too much and Treboux won by a majority score.
The crowd got a treat for the final when Daida Moreno and Jaggi demonstrated how high the level of womenâ€™s freestyle is. Karin showed a full range of old skool tricks along with the usual spocks and grubbies. Daida was sailing fluidly and had pulled an amazingly clean grubby to back up her style ratings. It looked like Jaggi had lost despite her stronger diversity of tricks, but her technical score was boosted in the dying seconds as she made a super clean flaka heading out. The judges said it was one of the tightest finals they had ever judged but it was Daida who won narrowly on the style category.
Late in the day the call was to re-run Race 10 of the Slalom 42 after an earlier cancellation. This was a full fleet long distance race with a long reach from out to sea coming back towards the beach with a series of increasingly shorter reaches towards the finish.
There was no clear leader from the start but it was Bjorn Dunkerbeck (E-11, North Sails) who lead the pack along the extended first reach. At the first mark however, Albeau steamed wide around Dunkerbeck who was also being passed inside by Matt Pritchard (US-10 Tabou / Gaastra), and Micah Buzianis (US-34 JP / NeilPryde), before planing away into the lead entering the second reach. By the 3rd reach Albeau had stretched his lead by a massive margin and won by nearly a leg, with Pritchard in second and Buzianis in third.
In race 11 Finian Maynard (KV-11 F2 / NeilPryde) won heat one and Albeau won heat two as it started to look like another day for the heavyweight sailors. Micah Buzianis (US-34 JP / NeilPryde) and Gonzalo Costa Hoevel (ARG-3, F2/ Neil Pryde) had a battle to win the losers final, but Costa Hoevel won leaving Buzianis in second.
The final finally got underway after Matt Pritchard, Kevin Pritchard (US-3 Starboard / Maui Sails) and Patrick Diethelm (ITA-120 F2 / North) had been sent back to the beach and disqualified for starting too early. Maynard was first to get away from the restart, as Albeau started in the middle of the pack and Dunkerbeck downwind. Albeau reached the mark first, but Dunkerbeck gybed inside Albeau to go into first while Maynard rounded the in third and Cyril Moussilmani (F-71, Fanatic/ North Sails) in fourth. By the third reach Albeau extended his lead over Dunkerbeck, whilst Maynard tried desperately to pass him without success. Albeau won with Dunkerbeck second and Maynard third.
Another full fleet long distance race was called. Most sailors were overpowered on 6.5 to 7.0 sqm sails as the wind increased just before the starting sequence. Matt Pritchard was at the upwind end of the start while Albeau chose the downwind, pin end, with Dunkerbeck straight down the middle. Albeau lead to the first mark, chased by Matt Pritchard and Arnon Dagan (ISR-1, Fanatic / Neil Pryde). On the second reach Dunkerbeck sped past Dagan, before gybing around Pritchard at the third mark to take second. At the fourth mark Pritchard gave everything he had to try and regain second by gybing inside Dunkerbeck but just didnâ€™t have the exit speed as Dunkerbeck accelerated away. Albeau won and a photo finish awarded Dunkerbeck second and Pritchard third, as competition was ended for the day.
With 11 wins out of 12 Albeau has done enough to win this event already. The Frenchman has displayed not only outstanding board speed, but incredible starting and gybing skill to take his winning opportunities. Tomorrow is the last day of this event and all eyes are on Pritchard and Dunkerbeck and the race for second position.
You can follow all the progress at www.pwaworldtour.comthroughout the day with live updates.