LA COUPE DES ISLES PWA FREESTYLE GRAND PRIX, DAY 1
The heat is on in the Madeleines!
Monday September 2, 2002
Six sailors remain in the battle for the first single elimination of the
men s freestyle here at La coupe Des Isles PWA, 2002 Freestyle Grand Prix.
Nik Baker (North, Mistral), Matt Pritchard (Gaastra, AHD), Josh Stone (JP,
Neil Pryde), Ricardo Campello (JP, Neil Pryde), Vidar Jensen (North) and
Robby Swift (JP, Neil Pryde) all advanced towards the final before dying
winds early this afternoon lead to the abandonment of competition.
It was a tough day at the office for competitors today as they struggled
with the 12-18 knot winds, which hovered around the borderline of what is
deemed suitable conditions for competition. Head freestyle judge, Klaus
Michael chose to hold competition on the Isle du Havre Aubert at Sandy
Hook the southernmost of point of the Islands. Despite the tricky
conditions today there was still plenty of hot action going down with the
best freestyle sailors in the world performing close to the beach in front
of the Canadian crowds.
In the top half of the draw England s Nik Baker and Matt Pritchard of
America both advanced through to the first semi final. Baker was on fine
form today and pulled of his usual array of technical wizardry whilst
defeating the likes of Christian Sammer (F2, Arrows) in the second round
and Diony Guadagnino (JP, Neil Pryde) in first of the quarterfinals. Matt
Pritchard had to pull out all the stops in his quarterfinal bout against
Brazilian Samba sensation Kauli Seadi (Naish boards, Naish sails). Nailing
several spock variations and a slick grubby right in front of the judges,
Pritchard managed to hold off the challenge from Seadi who failed to live
up to his potential in the light winds.
NIK BAKER (North, Mistral)
It was light out there today. Matt and I were on 7m and 6.9m in the last
heat. You had to use the swell to help get planning and as soon as you
were in the straps you had to bust out your maneuver. It was difficult but
the same for everybody. Every guy in this competition is shit hot and
considering how difficult the conditions are people were doing fantastic
stuff left right and centre&It was amazing! I am stoked to still be in the
contest, this is only the first day so there is still a long way to go
The bottom half of the draw is poised at the quarter final stage with
Britain s Robby Swift lined up to face Hawaiian freestyle guru Josh Stone
and Norwegian high flyer, Vidar Jensen ready to take on current world tour
leader Ricardo Campello. Robby Swift opened up his account here in Canada
today by taking down hot American freestyle specialist Web Pedrick (AHD,
North). Swift made better of the conditions and is now fired up for his
impending battle with Josh Stone. Stone meanwhile, was responsible for
taking down Caribbean trick maestro Tati Frans in the second round.
Despite the inclement weather Tati still managed to impress the chicks on
the beach by sailing his heat in his shorts (Most other competitors were
using 3 x 2mm long legged wetsuits!).
JOSH STONE (JP, Neil Pryde)
I have got old Swifty in my next heat. I love the kid so could never have
a battle against him. I will just tie him up to a stake instead! He is
sailing very good and has been practicing hard. I am feeling very relaxed
over here and I have a very positive vibe going
Ricardo Campello is still on track to take this years overall freestyle
today title after defeating Brazilian PWA newcomer Konan Lang (Naish
Boards, Naish sails). His next battle against Vidar Jensen, who took down
Britain s Chris Audsley in the second round, could be a vital heat in his
campaign to take the title and no doubt tension will be running high when
RICARDO CAMPELLO (JP, Neil Pryde)
Right now I am first place in the rankings and I want to get past Vidar
and do my best to make the final. I am going to go for it!
The day started badly for John Skye of England who was beaten in the
opening heat of the day by Nathan Mershon (Naish Boards, Naish sails) of
America. Skyboy who is currently lying second overall in the world tour
freestyle rankings failed to sail a consistent heat in the tricky
conditions and will now have to wait for the double elimination for a
JOHN SKYE (F2, Arrows)
I am broken. I had a shocker today, I looked at my watch with about three
minutes to go and I thought to myself So far, I have crashed everything! I
managed to nail three moves in the last two minutes but that is not enough
to win a world cup heat. It is not over yet&I hope!
The forecast for tomorrow is for south winds and it looks like we could
well be changing location to one of the more northerly of the Madeleine