|THE GRAN CANARIA - VARGAS PWA WAVE GRAND PRIX 2002
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9th APRIL 2002
The draw for the men’s and women’s single eliminations has produced some interesting encounters. Young Aussie newcomer to the PWA tour Ty Bodycoat (Starboard) will face local hotshot Jonas Ceballos (Proof Gaastra). Ty’s travelling partner Luke Walmsley (Starboard) will face another Gran Canarian local Orjan Jensen (Proof, North). Ty and Luke who carry the reputation as two of the hottest sailors from Western Australian wave have been given PWA wildcards here in Vargas.
This afternoon few sailors managed to squeeze in a late session after hearing of wind and waves just up the coast from Vargas. Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Proof, Neil Pryde) Jason Polakow (JP, Neil Pryde) Scott Carvill (Naish boards, Naish sails) and Vidar (Jensen North) were amongst the lucky ones to unexpectedly discover a rare Gran Canaria down the line wave riding session.
10th APRIL 2002
Gran Canaria is going off! Spectacular wave competition commenced today here in Gran Canaria although in 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 underway.
In side shore gusty winds blowing anywhere between 15 and 35 knots combined with up to mast high waves two radical rounds of the men¹s single elimination were completed. The majority of sailors here in Gran Canaria were expecting to be competing in cross onshore jumping biased conditions, so today¹s 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 suite 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 (Proof, Neil Pryde) 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 (Mistral, North) 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 imaged we would come to Gran Canaria and be sailing side shore down the line port tack it has been awesome!"
Aussie wave guru¹s Jason Polakow (JP, Neil Pryde) and Scotty Mckercher (Starboard, Naish) 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 wasn¹t 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 men¹s and women¹s divisions.
Spanish sailor Marcos Perez is always a force to be reckoned with on his home waters in Gran Canaria. Perez took down French sailor Julian Taboulet (JP, Neil Pryde) in the second round after stringing together several solid waves in the heat. His next encounter will be against Aussie wave guru Scottie McKercher, which promises to be an interesting confrontation.
Marcos Perez: “I am really happy. I had never sailed in that spot before. The conditions were really different than what we are used to seeing in Gran Canaria. I have Scott McKercher in the next round. It is always tough because all the people on the world tour are really good sailors. Everybody is here to win. Scott McKercher is a good wave rider so I hope the next part of the competition is jumping conditions back in Vargas. I think that I am better than him in the jumping!”
TV Images from this event will be broadcast to over 100 countries world-wide. Sportshows TV, the PWA’s new media partners, are covering this first leg of the world tour as part of their new eight programme TV series dedicated to the PWA World Tour. Two half hour programmes on the Vargas event are scheduled for broadcast later in the year, but a special version is being cut for a Channel 4 program in the UK, which will air at the end of May.
14th APRIL 2002
Despite 15-25 knot winds here in Vargas this afternoon the waves failed to materialize and no official competition took place. The race crew stayed on standby until last possible light in hope that the surf would pick up on the dropping tide but unfortunately the conditions did not co-operate. Four days ago the contest fired into spectacular action on the North shore of Gran Canaria in epic side shore conditions. Normally at a PWA event the contest venue remains in one place. Fortunately due to the flexibility of the City Hall of Aguimes in agreement with the tourism board Gran Canaria and the organizers Pozo Compass, we were given the option to move.
According to the PWA rules the sixteen sailors in the men’s single elimination who advanced through to the third round all will share equal first place. These are Antoine Albeau (AHD, Neil Pryde), Greg Allaway (Neil Pryde, JP), Josh Angulo, Nik Baker (Mistral, North), Ty Bodycoat (Starboard), Scott Carvill (Naish boards, Naish sails), Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Proof, Neil Pryde), Francisco Goya (Fanatic, Arrows), Xavier Huart (Mistral, North), Vidar Jensen (North), Scott McKercher (Starboard, Naish), Marcos Perez, Jason Polakow (Neil Pryde, JP) Kevin Pritchard (Bic, Gaastra) and Peter Volwater (F2, Arrows).
Current overall wave champion Bjorn Dunkerbeck was amongst the favourites to win here in Vargas. His campaign to retain his wave crown will continue here in Gran Canaria at Pozo Izquierdo in July at the next wave event on the PWA tour.
Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Neil Pryde, Proof): “We sail quite frequently on the north when we have west wind or south west wind. The North has more waves than the east coast. It was a very good decision that we moved and hopefully that could be something we can consider for the future. It was great that we were allowed the flexibility of moving, on an island like this it would be a shame not to use the other shores. At least we secured a result for all the competitors that came here from all over the world to compete. We had some very different conditions to what everybody was expecting and the day we competed was going off!”
Many will remember the epic day of competition on the north of Gran Canaria for its excellent conditions. Most sailors came here expecting a largely jump biased event and the down the line aspect was an unexpected bonus.
Next stop on the PWA world tour is a Freestyle Qualifier in Leucate, France, this is followed by more qualifiers in Austria and then on east coast of America before the first official freestyle event of the tour which will be in Costa Brava, Spain. PHOTOS:
Reinhard Müller / IMAGE FACTORY
PWA / John Carter
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