Fuerteventura lived up to its reputation on the opening day to deliver a showing of world class freestyle in winds in excess of 40 knots. With the elite of the world’s freestylers on display there was plenty of radical action consisting of the latest power and combination moves as well as an extensive array of jumping, while the howling winds and choppy waters made things extremely challenging leading to a few, inevitable, big crashes. By the end of the first day just over half the men’s single elimination and the opening round of the women’s single has been completed.
The opening women’s heat saw Olya Raskina (JP / NeilPryde) in action against Maxime van Gent (JP / NeilPryde / Maui Ultra Fins) and Lisa Kloster (Patrik / Sailloft Hamburg / Maui Ultra Fins) versus Birgit Rieger. Raskina, who was making her first appearance since 2014 didn’t produce her best heat and a result took an early exit and van Gent linked together the moves necessary to advance, while Rieger used her competition experience to defeat Kloster, who was making her debut on the world tour.
Heat 19 saw Arrianne Aukes (Fanatic / NorthSails) take on 14 year old Alexa Escherich and Aukes produced a professional display to safely advance into the next round where she will now face Yoli Freites de Brendt, who easily dispatched of Stefania Fumagalli (JP / NeilPryde) on the b-side of the draw.
The final women’s heat of the day saw Jazzy Zwerus (JP / NeilPryde) negotiate her way past Lene Kyte (Fanatic / NorthSails) to set up a tie against the 8-time freestyle world champion — Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / NeilPryde / Maui Ultra Fins).
The opening round of the men’s single elimination saw the 2011 world champion — Steven Van Broeckhoven (JP / NeilPryde / Shamal Sunglasses ) — in action after the Belgian missed last year’s contest due to injury. As you’d expect Van Broeckhoven had no problems advancing as he ended Loick Spicher’s hopes (RRD / RRD).
The remainder of the opening round all went to plan for most sailors, except Max Matissek (Fanatic / NorthSails) with the Austrian suffering a slightly surprising defeat to Marco Vinante (Starboard / Point-7), who sailed an excellent heat. Meanwhile, Tony Mottus (JP / NeilPryde), sailed through the pain barrier, after dislocating his toe earlier this week, to knock out Yuma Kobayashi (Starboard / Severne).
The second round saw the top seeds in action for the first time and most survived unscathed. However, there was one major upset as Davy Scheffers (Tabou / GA Sails) suffered a defeat at the hands of Francesco Cappuzzo (RRD / RRD / AL360). The 19 year old Italian was in fine form in the challenging conditions landing one-handed ponches and a spock into culo, which was the best of the bunch. The b-side of Heat 15b saw a very close battle between Phil Soltysiak (Starboard / Sailworks) and Max Rowe (Simmer / Simmer) with the two sailors matching each other move for move throughout the heat. However, Soltysiak just managed to gain the upper hand towards the end of the heat to progress.
The biggest battle of round two saw two former world champions going head-to-head as Steven Van Broeckhoven faced Kiri Thode (Starboard / GA Sails) in Heat 12b. Both sailors pulled off some exceptional moves with Van Broeckhoven landing a double burner, but he met an on fire Thode who stomped a sick air skopu and a double air funnel diablo to advance into the last 16. The Bonairean then produced the highest scoring heat of the day against Julien Mas (JP / Avanti) amassing a huge 120.9 points with a stunning performance and he clearly means business after a slightly slower start to the year in Austria than usual.
Reigning world champion — Dieter Van der Eyken (Starboard / Severne) — looked sharp in his sole performance of the day against Tony Mottus. The Belgian excels in tricky conditions and today was no different as he landed spock culos, skopus and a radical air skopu on the way out, which is extremely difficult here. Van der Eyken will now face Jacopo Testa (RRD / RRD / AL360).
Balz Müller (Patrik / Severne) continued his fine start to the season as he ended the hopes of Taty Frans (Starboard / GA Sails / Mystic / Maui Ultra Fins) in the opening heat of the third round. Müller’s radical and fearless approach once again proved popular, with both the crowd and the judges, and the Swiss will now face Amado Vrieswijk (JP / Severne) in Heat 21a after the Bonairean came out on top against fellow countryman Youp Schmit (99NoveNove / Avanti).
6-time freestyle world champion — Jose ‘Gollito’ Estredo (Fanatic / NorthSails / MFC) — looked on song in both of the heats he sailed today as he firstly ended the hopes of Mattia Fabrizi (Fanatic / NorthSails) before also conquering Tonky Frans (Patrik / Sailloft Hamburg) in what proved to be one of the most entertaining heats of the day with both sailors throwing themselves into big stalled forwards, air chachoos and backloops. However, Tonky, will now have to wait until the double elimination to try and exact revenge.
Elsewhere, Yentel Caers’ (JP / NeilPryde), produced a powerful display to knock out Adrian Beholz (Patrik / Sailloft Hamburg / Maui Ultra Fins) and he’ll be one to watch again tomorrow after being one of the standout sailors of the day. Next up he will face Antony Ruenes (Tabou / GA Sails), who dispatched of Jeremy Plüss (Tabou / GA Sails), and the Frenchman was still able to land a trademark no-handed burner — even in the nuclear winds, while fellow countrymen Adrien Bosson (Fanatic / NorthSails / Maui Ultra Fins) and Nicolas Akgazciyan (99NoveNove / Challenger Sails / Maui Ultra Fins) are also in the last 16 after claiming victories over Giovanni Passani (Tabou / GA Sails) and Nic Hibdige (Tabou / GA Sails), respectively.
The forecast predicts excellent conditions again tomorrow with the trademark strong winds and swell still present, which should see the single eliminations completed in spectacular conditions. With this in mind the skippers’ meeting has been called for 9am — with the action commencing from 9:30am (GMT+1). Make sure you tune into www.pwaworldtour.com to follow the amazing action as it happens via the PWA live stream.