The Gran Canaria PWA World Cup had been a bit unlucky with the forecast and prevailing conditions over the past couple of years, so it seemed like it was about time that the luck changed for this year’s Gran Canaria Wind & Waves Festival - and change it certainly did as Pozo produced some of the best conditions witnessed in its event history. The event began with a bang as 50 knot winds and punchy waves battered Pozo over the opening two days of the contest - creating the perfect platform for the world’s most radical sailors, to throw down their most radical stunts. There were several outstanding performances, but none more so than either Philip Köster (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins) or Daida Moreno (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins), who remained unbeaten with emphatic displays to guarantee themselves an early season lead at the top of the world rankings. Men’s Philip Köster may have had a slight point to prove in Pozo this year - having finished joint fifth in 2014 - but most people still thought that if the conditions were firing then he would still very much be the man to beat and that’s exactly how things developed. Köster had already been crowned champion in Pozo three times and he looked every bit the champion he is this year with clinical victories in the single and double elimination. The twenty-one year old really was in a league of his own - or perhaps even on another planet - as he landed trademark, ankle-dry, planing double forwards and outstanding pushloops to keep his rivals at bay. With confidence and conditions flowing Köster even pulled the triple loop trigger in the single elimination final - and it looks well within his means to land it in the future as he continues to take the sport forward. Tenerife is up next for Köster and it looks an ominous task for anyone to beat him there given the fact he’s never lost in El Medano and is clearly in fantastic form. Philip Köster reacts to remaining unbeaten in Pozo this year and becoming the champion: "I’m super stoked to win again today - I want to say thanks to Iballa and Daida for making the event possible. It’s been an amazing event with great conditions and I always enjoy competing here. The final was very tough with Victor, who had been on fire. I was nervous before the final, but thankfully things went my way and I’m very happy to win it.”
Vice-world champion - Victor Fernandez (Fanatic / North / MFC) - was Köster’s closest rival come the end of the double elimination, but things weren’t plain sailing for the Spaniard, who had to battle back from joint fifth in the single elimination to ensure his place on the prestigious podium. Some may have written Fernandez off after the single, but he was back to his impeccable best as he won six consecutive heats. Alessio Stillrich (Fanatic / North) was his first victim followed by Antoine Martin (JP / NeilPryde), Jaeger Stone (Starboard / Severne), Thomas Traversa (Tabou / GA Sails), Dany Bruch (Starboard / Challenger Sails / AL360) and finally Alex Mussolini (RRD / RRD) as he rotated though perfect double forwards, monster backloops and text-book one-handed goiters. Fernandez will now be hoping for another top three finish in Tenerife.
Alex Mussolini (RRD / RRD) joined RRD over the winter and made an immediate impact on the world scene again as he secured the final place on the heralded podium. The Spaniard was sailing with his usual effortless looking flow, whilst busting out trademark frontside 3s and huge backloops to take down his opponents and he’ll be an even bigger threat in the next contest when sailing his home break.
Dany Bruch (Starboard / Challenger Sails / AL360) will be delighted with his start to the season as he takes home fourth place after the first event of 2015. Bruch endured a bit of mixed bag of results last year, but he came out all guns blazing in the season opener by throwing huge stalled forwards, doubles and super technical one-handed, one-footed backloops. Fourth place will have Bruch even more fired up for the next event and he’ll be a massive threat in Tenerife - especially on the back of a confidence building result.
Pozo was probably expected to be Thomas Traversa’s (Tabou / GA Sails) hardest stop of this year’s world tour, but the reigning world champion still came out shining. TT took home fourth place in the single elimination before finishing fifth overall, making him the highest ranked sailor who doesn’t live in the Canary Island, as he showed no-fear by throwing himself into big double forwards, whilst his wave riding was at it’s effortless, fluid best. At the start of the year Traversa would probably have taken fifth place in Pozo and the Frenchman will now be looking to build upon his solid start to the season, which as he attempts to defend his world title.
Jaeger Stone (Starboard / Severne) came out firing on all cylinders in the double elimination after a second round exit in the single as the Aussie ripper won four heats on the bounce to fight back into sixth place overall. Stone thought he was being a little conservative in the single, but that certainly can’t be said about his performance in the double as he landed huge one-footed backloops and stalled forwards, whilst also busting out a perfect double forward in the dying moments of heat 27 to defeat Marcilio Browne (Goya Windsurfing / MFC) - before going on to also beat Robby Swift (JP / NeilPryde / Mystic / Maui Ultra Fins / SWOX) and Ricardo Campello (Patrik / Point-7 / MFC) with his radical approach to wave riding doing plenty of damage.
Ricardo Campello was disappointed with his joint seventh place in Pozo, but he showed glimpses of his brilliant best in his heats as he landed massive stalled double forwards and pushloop forwards. Campello will no doubt be raring to go again in a few weeks time and we can expect to see an even bigger performance. Antoine Martin (JP / NeilPryde / MFC) also finished in joint seventh and the twenty-one year old will be delighted with his efforts, with this being his second best result yet on the PWA Wave World Tour. Martin is quickly becoming known as one of the most radical jumpers in the world with his absolutely no-fear attitude.
The top ten was completed by Frenchman Jules Denel (JP / NeilPryde), Spaniard Omar Sanchez (Angulo / KA Sail / Dunkerbeck Eyewear), Gran Canaria’s very own Alessio Stillrich (Fanatic / North) and Britain’s Robby Swift.
Women’s As predicted the formidable force of the Moreno twins proved too much as Daida (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins) and Iballa (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins) dominated the top two again. The twins guided their way into the finals without an issue, so it was really a question of who would come out on top of the podium. Daida was determined to add another victory to her Pozo selection and this time around Iballa could do nothing to stop her sister from doing just that. There was very little to choose between the two on the wave, but Daida dominated in the air as she landed a huge stalled forward and an amazing completely one-handed backloop to successfully defend her Pozo crown.
Daida Moreno speaks after winning the 2015 Gran Canaria Wind & Waves Festival: "I’m really stoked, this is a really special place for me, even though people might think I’m winning all the time. For me it’s just the proof that I push really hard and my training and all my hours on the water have paid off. This year is also really special to me because I finished university and now i’ll have much more time for training. Me and Iballa have great support from out sponsors - especially Anfi, Severne and Starboard, so we can go ahead and compete on the whole tour and try to get the best results in the world. Last year I managed to win here and in Tenerife, but that doesn’t mean that I can win the overall title as last year proved, but it’s a really a good start and like I said this place is special to me, which makes it more special.”
Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / NeilPryde / Mystic / Maui Ultra Fins) collected her second podium finish on the PWA Wave World Tour as the Aruban gem continues to progress her wave sailing skills. Offringa is well known for being the Queen of freestyle, but she is quickly becoming known for her wave sailing too as she landed countless pushloops and slashy turns to defeat Steffi Wahl (Patrik / Sailloft Hamburg) in the battle for third and fourth place overall.
Amanda Beenen (99NoveNove / Point-7) had to settle for fifth place in Pozo, but you can expect to see her pushing for the top four and beyond in Tenerife - where she has spent a lot of time training - whilst Caterina Stenta (RRD / RRD / Maui Ultra Fins) enjoyed her best result since making her debut in 2013 - sixth.
Pozo once again delivered the world class conditions everyone knows it can produce and the show that the world’s most radical sailors produced was nothing short of exceptional, perfectly illustrating windsurfing to be the wonderful, dynamic sport that it was. Everyone one from the PWA would like to extend their thanks to the Moreno twins and their fantastic team for making this fantastic event possible and we look forward to returning next year. Where’s Next on the PWA World Tour? Next up is the Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam as the male freestyle and slalom fleets prepare for their next fascinating battle of the year. The event kicks off on the 24th July and runs until the 2nd of August. Make sure you tune into www.pwaworldtour.com to follow all of the amazing action live as this promises to be another intriguing event as the title race begin to gather pace. Overall Men's Results Gran Canaria Wind & Waves Festival Festival PWA World Cup: 1st Philip Köster (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins) 2nd Victor Fernández (Fanatic / North / MFC) 3rd Alex Mussolini (RRD / RRD) 4th Dany Bruch (Starboard / Challenger Sails / AL360) 5th Thomas Traversa (Tabou / GA Sails) 6th Jaeger Stone (Starboard / Severne) 7th Ricardo Campello (Patrik / Point-7 / MFC) 7th Antoine Martin (JP / NeilPryde / MFC) 9th Robby Swift (JP / NeilPryde / Mystic / Maui Ultra Fins / SWOX) 9th Alessio Stillrich (Fanatic / North) 9th Omar Sánchez (Angulo / KA Sail / Dunkerbeck Eyewear) 9th Jules Denel (JP / NeilPryde) Overall Women's Results Gran Canaria Wind & Waves Festival PWA World Cup: 1st Daida Moreno (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins) 2nd Iballa Moreno (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins) 3rd Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / NeilPryde / Mystic / Maui Ultra Fins) 4th Steffi Wahl (Patrik / Sailloft Hamburg) 5th Amanda Beenen (99NoveNove / Point-7) 6th Caterina Stenta (RRD / RRD / Maui Ultra Fins)
Scope The Action For information on all the entrants, and to keep up to date with every piece of the action, navigate to www.pwaworldtour.com