The opening four days of the 2016 Gran Canaria Wind & Waves Festival saw the next generation of windsurfers battling it out and they showed that the sport is in safe hands with several exciting performances from potentially the next world champions. After patiently waiting their turn the pros were finally unleashed on Day 5 in what proved to be one of the windiest days of competition ever with gusts of well over 50 knots being recorded, which saw the world’s most radical sailors reaching for their smallest equipments as the action on the water went off. Come the end of the event it was Daida Moreno (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins) and Victor Fernandez (Fanatic / NorthSails / MFC) who had rightfully claimed their places on the top of the podium and they take the early lead in the battle for the 2016 world titles.
Women’s Daida Moreno proved unbeatable in Pozo Izquierdo once again as the multiple time world champion produced an outstanding performance to claim an emphatic victory in the opening contest of 2016. Daida has only lost here once in her career and she used her local knowledge, while oozing style and flair to defeat Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / NeilPryde / Maui Ultra Fins) in the final. On her way to victory Daida landed an amazing tabletop forward, stalled forward and a stylish backloop, while also looking hugely impressive on the wave with frontside airs and takas. Daida looks a formidable force and it’s hard to see her being beat going into the next event in Tenerife, since she has won there for the past 3 seasons.
Sarah-Quita Offringa headed to Pozo early this year to make sure she was in tune with the conditions and her move paid dividends as she recorded her best result to date on the PWA Wave World Tour. The lady from Aruba claims a superb 2nd place in Pozo after landing radical pushloops and a perfectly executed taka to earn a 9 point wave ride. Offringa finished 3rd overall in the waves last year and she’ll now try and build on this result heading into Tenerife.
Iballa Moreno (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins) was unfortunate in her semifinal against Offringa as the reigning world champion broke her board during the heat and never quite looked as comfortable on a different board. However, Iballa, deserves great credit for the way she put the disappointment of missing out on the final by producing a fantastic display against Amanda Beenen (99NoveNove / Point-7) to secure 3rd place and she’ll be back challenging for the top in Tenerife.
Amanda Beenen improves by one place on her performance here last year to walk away with 4th. The 29 year old landed several tabletop forwards to inflict the damage in the quarterfinals against Steffi Wahl (Patrik / Sailloft Hamburg). Beenen will be more dangerous in Tenerife having spent several years training there in the past.
Four women share joint 5th in the opening contest of the year — Steffi Wahl, who once again impressed with her wave riding, Justyna Sniady (Simmer / Simmer / Mystic), Alice Arutkin (Fanatic / NorthSails) and Lina Erpenstein (Patrik / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins), who records her best result to date.
Men’s Victor Fernandez again showed why he hasn’t finished outside the top 3 in Pozo since 2006 to claim a hugely deserved victory. The Spaniard used all of his local knowledge to hunt out the best waves in difficult conditions and his wave riding proved to be the difference between him and Philip Köster (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins) for the top spot on the podium. Fernandez sailed brilliantly throughout — landing perfect double forwards, as well as one of the biggest stalled forwards of the event, together with Klei’s and goiters on the wave — and he takes an early season lead in the race for the 2016 title.
There were fears on the penultimate day that reigning world champion — Philip Köster — may not even be able to sail after injuring his back while warming up. However, by the way he came out sailing you’d never have thought he had been injured. Köster stomped a fully planing double forward and the only pushloop forward of the day as he gave another jumping masterclass, but couldn’t find the wave score he needed to defeat Fernandez in the final as he went down by just 0.25 of a point.
Jaeger Stone (Starboard / Severne) walks away from the opening wave event of the year with his best result in Pozo so far — 3rd. The Australian finished 9th here in 2011 before finishing in 4th and 6th place respectively in 2014 and 2015. Stone has made no secret that he is aiming to win a world title and a 3rd place keeps him firmly in the hunt at this early stage. The 25 year olds aggressive approach to wave riding again scored well with the judges and he’ll be an even bigger threat at the upcoming events with more emphasis on wave riding.
Alex Mussolini (RRD / RRD) missed out on back-to-back podiums in Pozo after losing the battle for 3rd and 4th by just half a point, but will still be happy with a solid start to the year. The Spaniard again impressed with his fluid wave riding as he effortlessly spun through trademark frontside 3s and takas to achieve some of the highest wave scores of the contest — and Mussolini even launched himself into double forwards, which you rarely see.
Thomas Traversa (Tabou / GA Sails) arrived in Pozo early this year to ensure he was ready for the start of the season and he walks away with joint 5th place alongside Robby Swift (JP / NeilPryde / Mystic / SWOX), Marcilio Browne (Goya Windsurfing / MFC) — both of whom classed this year’s contest as the windiest that they’ve ever sailed Pozo — and Dany Bruch (Starboard / Flight Sails / AL360), who was disappointed with the way he sailed his quarterfinal against Jaeger Stone, but looked incredibly dangerous up until that point and all four sailors will be in contention going into Tenerife.
With only a single elimination being completed 8 sailors tie for 9th place in the opening event of the year. However, Alessio Stillrich (Fanatic / NorthSails), was one of the standout sailors of the event launching himself into a gravity defying backloop and also landing the first ever Klei in competition — a move invented by Alex Mussolini — the 21 year old couldn’t land his last minute double forward to defeat Jaeger Stone in Heat 9, but showed that he is certainly one to watch over the remainder of the season.
Also sharing joint 9th is local boy Josep Pons Casanovas (Simmer / Simmer), Florian Jung (RRD / Gun Sails / Maui Ultra Fins), Camille Juban (Quatro / Simmer / MFC), Adam Lewis (Fanatic / NorthSails / SWOX) and teammates Jules Denel (JP / NeilPryde), Leon Jamaer (JP / NeilPryde) and Antoine Martin (JP / NeilPryde / MFC) — who was the first man to land a pushloop forward of the week.
Elsewhere, the PWA Youth Wave World Champion — Moritz Mauch (Severne / Severne / MFC) — consistently produced some of the highest scoring waves of the contest, but couldn’t find the jumps he needed to do more damage and he’ll be a bigger threat at the upcoming events — especially if there is more than one wave to count. The German finishes in joint 17th here.
Meanwhile, Marc Paré (99NoveNove / Simmer / Maui Ultra Fins), was a little unlucky that the second round of the double elimination could not be completed. The 18 year old had begun his comeback in the double with brilliant victories over the more experienced John Skye (RRD / RRD / MFC) and Flo Jung and looked set for a top ten finish, but unfortunately with the second round not being completed his result against Jung does not stand. However, the future looks bright for Paré and he’s another one to watch carefully for the rest of 2016.
Youth’s The next generation also battled it out for the first time this season in Pozo and at this early stage Marino Gil (Goya Windsurfing) leads the 12-13 year old with a superb display consisting of tabletop forwards, planing backloops and fluid wave riding, while Valentino Pasquale (Fanatic / NorthSails) heads the top of 14-15 year old division with his wave riding really setting him apart. Meanwhile, the battle for the 16-18 year old fleet currently sees Noah Vocker Roche (Fanatic / NorthSails / Maui Ultra Fins) and Loick Lesauvage (Goya Windsurfing) tied for top spot after recording one victory each in the two eliminations completed. You’ll be able to see the Youth’s in action again in Tenerife and the contest will once again see separate age categories if the number of entrants allows.
The Moreno twins once again pulled off a fantastic event in Gran Canaria as Pozo once again show cased itself as one of the windiest place in Europe, if not the world and the level of action on the water was superb with the level on the tour currently sky high. It proved to be a week of close calls and radical action and the world’s best wave sailors will be in action in just under a months time when they head to Tenerife between the 1st-7th August.
To see all the latest from the event — including, elimination ladders, entry list, images and live ticker simply click HERE and scroll to the bottom of the page. Where’s Next on the PWA World Tour? Next up is the Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam — sponsored by Rene Egli — which takes place between the 22nd-31st July. The opening 5 days will see the men’s and women’s fleets competing in the freestyle with the men competing for the second time this season, while the women will be battling it out for the world title. The second half of the contest will see the third instalment of warp speed slalom for the men with their world title race gathering momentum. Make sure you tune into www.pwaworldtour.com to stay up to date for what promises to be another fantastic event. Overall Result Gran Canaria Wind & Waves Festival — Women’s 1st Daida Moreno (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins) 2nd Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / NeilPryde / Maui Ultra Fins) 3rd Iballa Moreno (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins) 4th Amanda Beenen (99NoveNove / Point-7) 5th Alice Arutkin (Fanatic / NorthSails) 5th Lina Erpenstein (Patrik / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins) 5th Steffi Wahl (Patrik / Sailloft Hamburg) 5th Justyna Sniady (Simmer / Simmer / Mystic) Overall Result Gran Canaria Wind & Waves Festival - Men’s 1st Victor Fernández (Fanatic / NorthSails / MFC) 2nd Philip Köster (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins) 3rd Jaeger Stone (Starboard / Severne) 4th Alex Mussolini (RRD / RRD) 5th Marcilio Browne (Goya Windsurfing / MFC) 5th Dany Bruch (Starboard / Challenger Sails / AL360) 5th Robby Swift (JP / NeilPryde / SWOX) 5th Thomas Traversa (Tabou / GA Sails) 9th Jules Denel (JP / NeilPryde) 9th Leon Jamaer (JP / NeilPryde) 9th Camille Juban (Quatro / Simmer / MFC) 9th Florian Jung (RRD / Gun Sails / Maui Ultra Fins / SWOX) 9th Adam Lewis (Fanatic / NorthSails / SWOX) 9th Antoine Martin Windsurf (JP / NeilPryde / MFC) 9th Josep Pons (Simmer / Simmer) 9th Alessio Stillrich (Fanatic / NorthSails) Overall Result Gran Canaria Wind & Waves Festival - 12-13 Year Olds 1st Marino Gil (Goya Windsurfing) 2nd Takuma Sugi (Naish) 3rd Jose Antonio Casanova Perez (Fanatic / NorthSails) 3rd Liam Dunkerbeck (Starboard / Severne) 5th Adrian Antiles (Goya Windsurfing) 5th Z Schettewi (JP / Hot Sails Maui) Overall Result Gran Canaria Wind & Waves Festival — 14-15 Year Olds 1st Valentino Pasquale (Fanatic / NorthSails) 2nd Miguel Chapuis (JP / NeilPryde) 3rd Henri Golberg (Hot Sails Maui) 3rd Mike Friedl (Goya Windsurfing) 5th Adam Warchol (Goya Windsurfing) 5th Jake Schettewi (JP / Hot Sails Maui) 7th Niklas Herrera Matissen (Goya Windsurfing) 8th Takara Ishii (RRD / RRD) 9th David Batlle (Point-7) 9th Oliver Rodriguez (GA Sails) Overall Result Gran Canaria Wind & Waves Festival - 16-18 Year Olds 1st Noah Vocker Roche (Fanatic / NorthSails / Maui Ultra Fins) 1st Loick Lesauvage (Goya Windsurfing) 3rd Max Honchgrassl (JP / NeilPryde) 4th Max Schettewi (JP / Hot Sails Maui) 4th Tim van dam Sanchidrian (Starboard / Flight Sails) 6th Julian Salmonn (Severne / Severne) 7th Marco Urrestarazu Mouras (Goya Windsurfing) 7th Nicole Bandini (Fanatic / NorthSails / Maui Ultra Fins)