The Mondial du Vent saw the 2015 PWA World Tour begin with a bang as an explosive double elimination was completed over the course of the last six days. There were several epic battles and performances, but eventually the forty-one man strong fleet was whittled down to leave just one man standing - and on this occasion that proved to be Steven Van Broeckhoven (JP / NeilPryde) as he kept his rivals at bay with a polished display.
Steven Van Broeckhoven claimed an emphatic victory in the opening event of the year as he remained unbeaten in the single and double elimination - defeating reigning world champion - Jose ‘Gollito’ Estredo (Fanatic / North / MFC) - in both finals with a combination of explosive culos and kabikuchis to super technical air funnels-into-burners. SVB will now look to carry his excellent early season form into the second event of the year in Austria, which starts in just four days time.
Steven Van Broeckhoven after claiming victory:
"This is a great way to start the year and this makes me even more motivated than before. Bring on Austria.”
Jose ‘Gollito’ Estredo made a solid start to the season finishing just behind Van Broeckhoven in second place. The six-time world champion was at his brilliant best for most of the contest, but couldn’t quite force a super final as the Belgian maestro successfully defended his single elimination crown by way of a 3:2 decision. Gollito will head into Austria in confident mood though having won there in 2012 and ’13.
Completing the prestigious podium was Kiri Thode (Starboard / GA Sails) - as the top three sailors from 2014 started the new season in dominant form. The Bonairean sailed with his usual exquisite flow and style as he threw trademark double air funnels, air bobs and kabikuchis to halt Dieter Van der Eyken’s (Starboard / Severne) charge through the double elimination, however he couldn’t muster the power to defeat Gollito in heat 50.
Although Thode ended Van der Eyken’s run through the double elimination - the Belgian still enjoyed his best event to date on the PWA World Tour as he broke into the top four for the first time in his career. The twenty-three year old won four successive heats as he defeated local Nicolas Akgazciyan (99NoveNove / Point-7 / AL360 / Maui Ultra Fins), Davy Scheffers (Tabou / GA Sails), Taty Frans (Starboard / GA Sails / Mystic) and finally Amado Vrieswijk (JP / Severne). Van der Eyken impressed throughout with his diversity as he stomped the latest power moves and combinations on both tacks.
The current PWA Youth Freestyle World Champion - Amado Vrieswijk - finished the week in fifth place overall. Vrieswijk showed off a couple of his trademark air kabikuchis, but couldn’t demonstrate his usual consistency against Van der Eyken in the battle for fourth and fifth. Whilst fellow Bonairean - Taty Frans - claimed sixth place - equalling his best result last year already.
Antony Ruenes (Tabou / GA Sails) finished the event as the top ranked Frenchman as he took home joint seventh alongside Dutchman Davy Scheffers (Tabou / GA Sails). Ruenes turned on the style by landing both no-handed flakas and amazing no-handed burners, but Taty Frans proved too strong in heat 46a.
Meanwhile the top ten was completed by Nicolas Akgazciyan, Youp Schmit (99NoveNove / Avanti) - who made a strong comeback on his first appearance since recovering from a serious knee injury - whilst Yentel Caers (JP / NeilPryde) and Romain Pinocheau (F2 / Avanti / Maui Ultra Fins) - both broke into the top ten for the first time - showing that there is plenty of exciting new talent coming through the ranks to challenge the usual suspects.
Elsewhere Switzerland’s Jeremy Plüss (Tabou / GA Sails) and Brazil’s Hugo Sousa (RRD / RRD / Maui Ultra Fins) also earned their best results as they finished in joint thirteenth place respectively.
The Tow-in Final turned out to be the Bonaire show as the prestigious top three places all went to Bonairean’s as they demonstrated their unique island style and flow. It looked for all the world that it would be Tonky Frans (Tabou / GA Sails) taking home top honours after he stomped an amazing double burner on his final run to earn 28.5 points out of a possible thirty - bettering his first run of 28 points for an air funnel into burner. However, a certain Kiri Thode had other things in mind and he found his form just in the nick of time to produce an almost perfect air funnel into burner of his own, which earned an incredible 29.5 points. With only Jose ‘Gollito’ Estredo and France’s very own Julien Mas (JP / Avanti) left to go, it wasn’t long until Thode was celebrating victory. Completing the podium was Bjorn Saragoza (Starboard / Hot Sails Maui), who recovered from the disappointment of his early exit in the double elimination, to land a super stylish triple funnel, which the crowd loved - 27.5 points - meaning Gollito had to settle for fourth.
The Mondial du Vent PWA World Cup proved to be a great way to start to the year as La Franqui provided a range of conditions to challenge the elite of the freestyle world - from tricky choppy water and onshore winds to the offshore, flat water freestyle perfection that Leucate is renowned for. The PWA would like to extend their thanks to the sponsors and organisers, who produced a fantastic event in a race against time - given the last minute nature of the event - and of course the locals for their hospitality.
Where’s Next on the PWA World Tour?
The world’s best freestyler’s will return to action in just four days time as they prepare to return to Podersdorf, Austria, after a one year absence. The Podersdorf PWA Freestyle World Cup will take place between the 29th April to the 3rd May and it promises to be another action packed event - both on and off the water. Don’t miss any of the action by tuning into www.pwaworldtour.com .
Overall Results Mondial du Vent PWA World Cup - Men’s Freestyle
1st Steven Van Broeckhoven (JP / NeilPryde) 2nd Jose 'Gollito' Estredo (Fanatic / North / MFC) 3rd Kiri Thode (Starboard / GA Sails) 4th Dieter Van der Eyken (Starboard / Severne) 5th Amado Vrieswijk (JP / Severne) 6th Taty Frans (Starboard / GA Sails / Mystic) 7th Davy Scheffers (Tabou / GA Sails) 7th Antony Ruenes (Tabou / GA Sails) 9th Yentel Caers (JP / NeilPryde) 9th Youp Schmit (99NoveNove / Avanti) 9th Nicolas Akgazciyan (99NoveNove / Point-7 / AL360 / Maui Ultra Fins) 9th Romain Pinocheau (F2 / Avanti / Maui Ultra Fins)
Results Tow-in Final
1st Kiri Thode (Starboard / GA Sails) 2nd Tonky Frans (Tabou / GA Sails) 3rd Bjorn Saragoza (Starboard / Hot Sails Maui) 4th Jose ‘Gollito’ Estredo (Fanatic / North / MFC) 5th Julien Mas (JP / Avanti) 6th Adam Sims (Patrik / Sailloft Hamburg / Flymount) 7th Adrien Bosson (Fanatic / North / Maui Ultra Fins) 8th Mattia Fabrizi (Fanatic / North) 9th Antony Ruenes (Tabou / GA Sails) 10th Nicolas Akgazciyan (99NoveNove / Point-7 / AL360 / Maui Ultra Fins) 11th Sam Esteve (JP / NeilPryde) 12th Hugo Sousa (RRD / RRD / Maui Ultra Fins)