Fuerteventura PWA Super-X Exhibition Day 1
Super-X rocks the PWA Tour!
The world premiere of the new Super-X windsurfing discipline proved to be
an epic spectacle and competition format, and the expected dangers that
necessitated body amour and crash helmets proved to be vital during the
high impact wipeouts and collisions.
In eight man heats competitors had to beach start, blast out to sea
jumping over two inflatable obstacles, duck gybe around a buoy, forward
loop on the way back to the beach, duck gybe round another buoy, complete
an upwind 360 or flaka before another duck gybe, and a spock and another
jump over another obstacle on the way back to the finish line.
Heats lasted about three minutes and every sailor wiped out at least once
per heat, partly because in winds gusting over forty knots they were using
between 4.5 and 6m sails on their standard freestyle boards and traveling
at speeds up to 60 kph! With all the chaos and wake from the other sailors
around the gybes, most sailors crashed here on at least one occasion; much
to the delight of the spectators and fellow windsurfers who were ecstatic
about Super-X combining freestyle and slalom.
Some of the most hair-raising action was just after the start when racing
at about 50 kph sailors had to jump over the two inflatable obstacles only
seconds apart. Kauli Seadi (AHD / Naish) explained I was lining up with a
piece of chop to launch me over the buoy, but then I had to swerve upwind
to avoid another sailor and I no longer had a ramp! I had to just bounce
over the buoy catching my fin and so nearly crashing!He was one of very
few sailors who didnt wipe out over the obstacles but in the first round
hardly managed a duck gybe (which is kind of ironic considering he can do
air cha-chas and other mega stunts!)
I think Super-X is a really, really good idea, and the spectators can see
who wins instantly, unlike in freestyle. But its so funny how nobody can
duck gybe!Kauli was the master of the running beach start today,
accelerating in most of his heats to a huge lead even by the first mark
and after three rounds today lies in second place overall.
Robby Swift (JP / Neil Pryde), current PWA Freestyle World Tour leader
said, This is radical! But its really scary with eight other people around
you doing forward loops!Unfortunately Swifty seriously crashed and burned
out of competition today with torn ligaments, but not before he showed his
potential lying fourth overall after two rounds, with blistering speed and
all the tricks.
Ricardo Campello (JP / Neil Pryde) probably had the worst starts of
anyone, yet his smooth moves and planing forward loops pulled him into two
finals, in fact in one semi final the 70 kilo skinny Brazilian over took
the 95 kilo giant Frenchman Antoine Albeau (AHD / Neil Pryde) for speed!
In one of his forward loops he spun so fast his crash helmet was whipped
off spinning about fifteen meters high into the air!
All was going to plan for Ricardo, but a collision with Britains John Skye
(F2 / Arrows) when Skyboy landed a forward loop almost on top of Ricardo
totally wiped him out! Skyboy enters history books today receiving the
first disqualification for dangerous sailing of the Super-X discipline.
Being a new format, no one new who was going to be the favorite to win.
Would it be a young gun from freestyle background or someone with a racing
By the end of the first finals, in first place was the oldest, heaviest
sailor, weighing in at 95 kilos using a 5.7m sail, and in second place was
the youngest, lightest sailor at only 60 kilos on a 4.5m! So it wasnt
until the day progressed that any particular favorites were shining through!
After three rounds a master was found though, Antoine Albeau, the 2001 PWA
Freestyle World Champion and one the worlds most successful racers was on
fire with Super-X. Winning most of his heats comfortably and both the
first two finals using his extra speed and racing line around the corners.
In the third final though as he jumped the inflatable with the pack hot on
his heels, Albeau took a huge catapult then almost got run over by seven
other sailors, swerving in all directions to avoid him. Antoine leads over
all after three rounds with an incredible two firsts and a second place,
but his lead is far from secure as the competition format or conditions
could easily switch to be more freestyle orientated tomorrow.
Australias Greg Allaway (JP / Neil Pryde) and Skyboy were the only two
other sailors (apart from Kauli and Antoine) to make every final and now
lie in fourth and fifth respectively.
But a big star of the day is sixteen year old Venezuelan Douglas Diaz
(Fanatic / North), who is the very opposite of the assumed average build
of a slalom racer weighing only 60 kilos. Clocking up 2nd, 5th and 9th
places today with smooth flakas at full speed and all the other stunts,
Diaz stunned everyone with his performance and the very likable kid had a
heros welcome to the beach by his mates after his second place result! He
lies in third overall behind Kauli who was absolutely ripping with this
format and is definitely one of the favorites to win overall.
The forecast for wind is fantastic, so watch this space for all the bump
and grind in Super-X tomorrow.