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Date:  22-30th July 2000
Location: Sotavento/Fuerteventura
Status:   Grand Slam
Discipline: Freestyle/Race/Slalom
Prizemoney: 140.000 US $

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The competition has got off to an explosive start. The wind from the last few days has remained and the water flattened off this morning to provide excellent conditions for freestyle sailing.

The women took to the water for the first round of freestyle and quickly demonstrated their intentions to impress the judges and amaze the crowds of spectators who had gathered on the beach. The first round created two intense semi finals.

In the first Tony Frey GR1 (F2, Arrows) met with Barbara Strasser G1(Mistral, North) Daida Moreno E64 (Mistral,North) and Cornelia Van Der Schilden H95. Tony pushed through with Daida who completed a body drag right on the horn to signify the end of the heat. In the second semi Daida's sister Iballa landed several clean forward loops and went through with Colette Guadagnino V711(Neil Pryde) to the first final of the contest.

The wind picked up as the final got under way, leading to extra gusty conditions. All the finalists were keen to record an early victory and on several runs all four sailors headed towards the beach together, fighting for the judge's attention. In the end Daida sealed victory with a clean forward loop, again showing perfect timing landing it right on the final horn. Colette took second, Tony third and Iballa fourth. After the announcement Daida was pleased by realistic about the early victory.

Daida,"I feel really good about winning, but we have a week to go and lots more competition."

After a short break the men's sailing begun.

Following a series of tightly packed first heats the second set delivered some upsets with some big names going out early. Vidar Jensen N44 (Drops, North) went out to Richie Foster K101(Mistral, Naish) who set out with clear intentions of making his way to the final. Dionicio Guadagnino V69 (JP Australia, Neil Pryde) also went out eliminating a major threat to the established sailors in the remainder of the round.

Jason Stone USA7 (Neil Pryde) and Jason Polakow KA1111 (JP Australia, Neil Pryde) sailed a high-octane heat. Jason Stone looked strong all the way through, completing a nice opening forward and delivering a series of willy skippers, forwards and one handed spocks. JP saved up a barrage of moves for the last minute of the heat, completing a push loop and a ponch to seal the end and take a place in the next round. Brian Talmer KBA8 (F2,Arrows) was surprised to go through to the third round.

Brian, " I went through? I feel like a pro!"

Despite sailing another top set Brian was in a tough heat. Chris Audsley K505 was sailing alongside Brian after knocking out Web Pedrick US002 (AHD, Neil Pryde). Chris now faced an even bigger challenge sailing against Mr. Freestyle, Josh Stone USA6 (JP Australia, Neil Pryde). Chris and Brian went out, whilst Josh and Michi Schweiger AUT 54 (Mistral,Arrows ), who has found good form here in Fuerteventura, went through.

This produced a quarter final with the freestyle one and two sailors, Peter Volwater H24 (F2, Arrows) and Josh Stone up against Nik Baker K66 (Mistral, North) and Michi. Despite going out Chris was pleased with his performance, after making it in as a wildcard entry to the contest.

Chris," I went in with no expectations. I just sailed my best and I was super stoked to get through. The next heat with Josh was a lot tougher, but I've had a great day!" In the quarter finals Kevin Pritchard US3 (Bic, Gaastra) was still going strong. He had completed three heats, knocking out Levi Siver USA0 (F2, North) and now faced Andy Wolf G9 (F2, Neil Pryde). Undetered he moved on yet again, obviously deciding that winning race events was not enough! He made it through to the semi final with Richie Foster K101(Mistral, Naish) who was competing on a production 8'2" Naish.

Current overall freestyle one and two Peter and Josh also went through to the semi final. Kevin was on great form and completed a number of clean forwards, shove its and heli tacks. Richie opened his routine with a body drag moving in closer to the shore to complete a spock 540. Josh Stone was looking for every gust and ramp to maximise his display to the judges and crowds. Peter drove hard making a strong challenge against the world champion. Eventually it was Josh who won through together with Richie, whilst Kevin and Peter lined up to decide third and fourth.

In the losers final Kevin showed real consistency and completed a full routine. Peter battled on with a head injury and brought the action close to the beach, making the most of every wave on the way in. On the beach before the final Josh and Richie watched Kevin and Peter, joking with each other and wishing each other luck before their showdown.

As they launched both looked focused and made their way out for the approach run and the start of their final. Josh opened with a clean forward loop, Rich with a body drag. They met each other move for move in the opening minute. The swell was building and the gusts increased. Josh took full advantage of the bigger swell now building and completed a forward, followed by a spock and a nice gu screw. After a good battle the world champion took the first round of the men's contest.

Josh, "I feel great. It's gonna be a long week but that 's one down! Tonight I'm gonna have a beer and relax but there's a lot more gonna happen here!"

It was great sailing with Rich, we're going to see a lot more of him in freestyle Grand Slams."

The action just kept on coming in the first day of competition here in Fuerteventura. After the men's final another round of women's sailing was announced.

With bigger waves and more wind than earlier in the day the second round got off to a good start. Colette Guadagnino V711(Neil Pryde) made a strong start but was beaten by Karin Jaggi Z-14 (F2, Arrows) for a place in the final. The twins, Daida and Iballa both made it through producing a dynamic and action pumping final at the end of the day. Daida continued her excellent performance from this morning taking another first place, followed by Tony Frey in second, Iballa third and Karin Jaggi fourth.

The first day has been jam packed with action, barely a moment in the day when there hasn't been world class competition happening off the shores of Sotovento Beach.

If today is a prelude to the week we are in for a huge event in PWA competition history. Tomorrow could see the start of race competition, both men's and women's fleets hitting the water with plenty to prove and plenty to be gained.

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last updated: 30/07/00