THE GRAN CANARIA ­ VARGAS, AGUIMES PWA WAVE GRAND PRIX 2002

Spectacular wave competition commenced today here in Gran Canaria althoughin
rather unexpected circumstances. This morning the wind was still blowing from
the south at Vargas and too offshore and flat to compete. Scouts were sent out
from the race crew to check out the conditions further round the coast of the
island. When logo high waves and side shore winds were discovered on the North
Shore the decision was made to move the competition venue. The logistical side
of moving over seventy-five contestants and all of their equipment ran surprisingly
smoothly and by midday the first PWA wave action of the season was under way.

In side shore gusty winds blowing anywhere between 15 and 35 knots combined
with up to mast high waves two radical rounds of the men’s single elimination
were completed. The majority of sailors here in Gran Canaria were expecting
to be competing in cross onshore jumping biased conditions, so today’s unexpected
twist of circumstances provided a whole new ball game out on the water.

Amongst those advancing to the last sixteen was Hawaiian wave specialist Scott
Carvill (Naish boards, Naish sails). The Oahu based sailor was obviously well
suited to the conditions and throwing some incredible vertical gauging cutbacks.

Scott Carvill (Naish boards, Naish Sails)
"These are not the conditions we were expecting thank God, this suits me
much better! Its fun out there, the waves are setting up for one bang and are
definitely hittable. I had a fun time out there, it is nice to bottom turn…"

Last years overall wave champion Bjorn Dunkerbeck advanced comfortably and
will face Xavier Huart (Mistral, North) of France in the third round.

Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Proof, Neil Pryde)
"This low pressure has just changed everything and lucky enough we are
on an island so we have been able to move around. Wave wise it has been really
good although the wind has been pretty up and down. My heats were not particularly
good because the wind was really light but in the warm up I had a really good
time"

Nik Baker was sailing with power and aggression during his heats today and
advanced over Arne Andreassen of Norway and then over fellow British sailor
John Skye (F2, Arrows).

Nik Baker (Mistral, North)
"I have been on 4.2 today up to 5.3 so the wind has been pretty up and
down. Sadly the wind in Vargas was too offshore so we have had to move; at least
we are getting through the competition. I never imagined we would come to Gran
Canaria and be sailing side shore down the line port tack – it has been awesome!"

Aussie wave gurus Jason Polakow and Scotty Mckercher stole the show this morning
during the warm up. Both sailors were smacking the waves deep in the pocket
throwing huge sprays as they hit the lip. Polakow will face Scott Carvill in
the last sixteen whilst Mckercher has been drawn against Marcos Perez of Spain.

Jason Polakow (JP, Neil Pryde)
"I have had a couple of bad heats but I managed to get through. The
wind went a bit onshore later on. I had some good waves this morning"

Scott McKercher (Starboard, Naish)
"Its not bad out there. I am quite liking it. This morning was sick when
it was windy. The waves were very smackable, very hittable and not too dredgy.
I am getting through, I wasn’t too stoked with my last heat so I want to be
more on top of my game for the next one"

Other sailors advancing today into the last sixteen were Kauli Seadi (Naish
boards, Naish sails), Antoine Albeau (AHD, Neil Pryde), Vidar Jensen (North),
Ty Bodycoat (Starboard), Peter Volwater (F2, Arrows), Francisco Goya (Fanatic,
Arrows), Kevin Pritchard (Gaastra, Bic), Greg Allaway (JP, Neil Pryde) and Josh
Angulo.

The forecast for tomorrow is uncertain at this stage but organizers have indicated
that it is possible that we could be moving away from Vargas again if conditions
dictate. The action today was insane and with all nearly the big guns still
in the competition the stage is all set of a dramatic conclusion to the single
elimination in both men’s and women’s divisions.