The Pros Come To Town
By Daniel Alcock
The PWA Windsurf Grand Slam, Pozo Izquierdo, 2008: New champions, bigger moves and even the first contest attempt at a Triple Forward Roll, which has rocked the windsurf world...
From 3rd till 12th July, Gran Canaria was host to the very best windsurfers in the world, who were, quite literally making history on our island. Every year, the PWA World Windsurf Tour comes to Pozo Izquierdo (on the coast by Vecindario) to play out one of the most celebrated legs of the world tour, in conditions that many regard as the best in the world for all three categories of the tour. Described as the “Wimbledon” or the “Monte Carlo” of windsurfing, it is a vital event for competitors jostling to become Pozo champions.
However, unlike tennis or motorsport, the windsurf world is dependant on Mother Nature and what she has to offer, during the dates of the contest - a windsurf contest is only as good as the wind and wave conditions that it offers. …and things were not looking that good! One week before the contest started, it was completely flat in Pozo. However, as forecasted, the wind arrived and brought us a week long spectacle of windsurf, with new champions and new moves; even the world's first attempt at a Triple Forward Roll!
The contest week burst into action with live bands and fiesta in the main tent. The atmosphere was fantastic, bordering on a little drunken, courtesy of a free bar provided by Tropical! Onto events in the water: the Canarian twins Daida and Iballa were on form on their home turf. Both of them reached the finals of the wave riding category, with Daida eventually clinching the victory. Spaniard Victor Fernandez continued his incredible statistics in Pozo by winning the men's wave category for the third time in 3 years without a single heat loss!
Pozo Wave Results:
1st - Victor Fernandez
1st - Daida Moreno
2nd - Ricardo Campello
2nd - Iballa Moreno
3rd - Danny Bruch
3rd - Karin Jaggi
4th - Kauli Seadi
4th - Silvia Alba Orozco
One shock of the event occurred when teenager Sarah-Quita Offringa beat local girl Daida in the Freestyle category. I caught up with the ecstatic 17 year old shortly after her win as she took me through the events of her day:
Early am: Super windy! I was really nervous to go out and rigged a 2'5 (small) sail.
In the water: I had some bad falls, I was finding it hard to stick the moves. I saw Daida sailing well so I knew I had to stick some good moves. I watched Daida on a really nice forward but continued to sail a tactical heat.
Out of the water: I am SUPER happy to have won here!!
On the Island: It is really beautiful, I love coming here.
Fantastic in the water and graceful in victory, we wish Sarah the best in her career and look forward to seeing her here again next year to defend her title.
1st - Sarah-Quita Offringa
2nd - Daida Moreno
3rd - Junko Nagoshi
4th - Laure Treboux
In the Salalom category, the world champion Antoine Albeau didn't flinch and clinched the title with Pozo local legend Bjorn Dunkerbeck coming in 3rd.
1st - Albeau
2nd - Pritchard
3rd - Dunkerbeck
4th - Williams
History in Pozo 2008
...And then the final Saturday of the competition. With incredible winds, the organizers ran a ‘Wave Super Session.' Let me set the scene. In the weeks running up to the contest in Pozo, the windsurfing world had been buzzing with the rumour that Ricardo Campello would try the very first triple forward (a massive jump and a mind-boggling three forward spins before landing) here on the island during the contest. This rumour was backed up by JPAustralia and Neil Pryde, offering the 3 times Freestyle World Champion a bonus of $10,000 if he can land a Triple Forward and capture it on film. It is widely thought that Pozo is one of the few beaches in the world where this move might be possible and the final Saturday offered the conditions. As he set out on his heat, all eyes were on Campello as he windsurfed incredibly. Then came the moment - Campello spotted the wall of water ahead of him, took the gust of wind and busted out a huge air, rotating once, twice and just failing to complete the final third roll. The crowd erupted. Gran Canaria had witnessed the first Triple Forward attempt and the future of windsurfing.
With Daida Moreno winning the women's category with an excellent double forward loop, the 2008 contest was done, albeit after a glamorous prize-giving and closing ceremony.
So for now the in-season Pozo waits for next year, enjoying the trade winds and continuing to be the Mecca for the travelling windsurfer. And who knows, maybe we will see the Triple Forward here first. Either way, Pozo and Gran Canaria will continue to be the training ground for the development of the sport.
...So remember, if when you open your car door in Vecindario and a gust of wind grabs it from your hand, or you can't quite stand up straight whilst exiting the Atlantico centre, just towards the coast they are pushing the limits of the entire windsurfing world.