The next edition of the AWT kicks off down in Oregon, bringing many of America's, and indeed the World's, top windsurfers together for another epic battle on the water. Follow all the action right here on Boardseeker with Brit abroad, Si Crowther.
Congratulations to Camille Juban who win's in Pistol River! Check the wrap up VIDEO here.
Jump of the Day
This would have to be Kevin's trademark one footed backloop. He went high and landed it clean. It was in the dying minutes of the heat and not the easiest to do given small ramps and on/off wind. Noteworthy too are Camille's tweaked push loop and Morgan stylish one handed back loop.
But let's not give it all to the pro Men... Ingrid with her forward loops, Ferdinando had a couple of awesome forwards himself, and Brian Caserio went for a huge forward loop that catapulted him from the straps, it was impressive. Alex Bitoun said with tongue in cheek "We can finally respect him as a head judge"
Wave of the Day
This goes to Camille. A number turns in the pocket with explosive style and full rail commitment even in those small conditions followed by a nice little tweak aerial Levi style.
Kevin's wave 360 was a big surprise - how does he do it in those conditions???
Fiona was making the most of conditions on offer hitting the lip better and better every heat she was in.
Casey Reher was impressive too, hitting the lip like the pros, he will be one to watch in future!
While Brian Caserio did not shine in the final heats, he did have some awesome lip smacks in the first couple of heats making us question whether he should have been competing with the pros...
Stand out heat
Two heats stand out to me...
The first is the pro semi final with Levi, Camille, Bernd, Sean Aiken... all riders were killing it and all had the potential to turn it around with a single wave or jump. Levi and Camille prevailed in this tight affair with their above the lip work. Many on the beach felt that side of the draw was like a final itself.
The other great heat was the women's final. For the first time we saw Fiona dominate the wave riding, and Ingrid the jumping. The two were so close all the way to the end. Miho and Katie were very close behind as well. Women's sailing has come a very long way and it's great to see them going for it.
Day Four Gallery, all images credit Si Crowther.
Ross Furrot hitting the sand bars and snapping his board was pretty heavy. A few have hit the sand bar and got catapulted pretty nicely as well...but to snap a board, at least he was commited.
Brian went for a big forward that did not go as planned.
Dana Miller - Pistol River local man - also had a couple of forward loops that did not go as planned with the light winds.
Also, Fiona's couple of forward loop attempts in the final, they looked brutal... but we all know she'll be rotating fully very soon, she learns at a rapid pace.
Wooden Spoon for dumbass moment of the event goes to....
I'm giving dumbass moment of the day to two people for the same incident. Alex Bitoun In and I! It was the Pro mens second round heat, I focused on Levi's gear for some time and burned of a fair few shots, but I felt there was something wrong, Levi looked well off form.. then I saw another set of Levi's kit in the same heat and it was firing in the small conditions.. Turns out Alex Bitoun had sailed in the same heat as Levi and had borrowed Levis gear.. way to go.. dumbass ;-)
The Wave Bash competitors woke to clear blue skies this morning, accompanied by a gentle, fresh north west breeze. A good sign, as this is the seasons prevailing wind, giving hope for a thermal top up to build in the afternoon.
Skippers was at 11am at the event site, Pistol River beach, not surprisingly there was no sense of urgency, with the winds being far too light for this cross on venue. Slowly the crowds gathered and at around 12pm Sam Bittner kicked of with warm welcomes to all and thank you's for all those who helped put the event together.
Head judge Brian Caserio stepped up next to brief the competitors on what the judges were looking for in the riding and gave tactical advice on heat approach, there was then a Q&A session and advice from a number of Pro riders, including Levi Siver, Kevin Pritchard and Camile Juban.
The next windsurfing announcement was set for 2pm. Inn of the Beachcomber followed up with hamburgers for all on the beach, which served as fuel for the next distraction, another board toss. With this one being the second in as many days, we started to see a few new slinging techniques emerging, looks like the board toss is now a serious event in its own right!
The wind very slowly began to fill in, but conditions were still far from contestable, by 3pm a few sailors had taken to the water with big kit, but planing was on and off and the waves were not holding shape long enough for riders to make any serious hits. At around 4pm Pro's were released, with the rest of the fleets remaining on hold.
By 5:30pm the wind had shifted up a gear and for the Amateurs, Masters and Ladies the AWT Pistol River Wave Bash was on!
Conditions called for sail sizes around the 5-6m mark with 80/90ltr boards, the waves were small. I guess this is always a really tough call for the judges, we all love to see howling winds and logo to mast waves and for many competitors, thats what satisfies the competition craving, anything less, inevitably leaves some wanting. Add to that, for the first time, AWT found itself running in marginal conditions, no surprise then that a few people were unhappy, prompting discussions with the judges.
Hat's off to the judges for making the call though, as the days pass by, the remaining forecast leaves little time to work through all the ladders for all fleets, it was pretty much now or never to get this comp started. Amateurs completed a full first round, setting up the ladder nicely for round two, the 3-4 man heats were 12 mins with 2 minute transitions and 2 waves counted, top 2 advanced.
The first heat saw Marc Bitoun and Pete Dekay make the most of the small waves, staying tight upwind near the stunning Rock stacks and attacking any sizeable wave that came through. Some of the following heats riders were drawn down wind, where the waves became less consistent at times, but occasionally the best waves of a heat would shift down, tempting riders from the upwind area.
It was plain to see, if you wanted to go through your heat, you had to fight for a good wave & aggressively punch through your top turns, ringing out as many turns as the small waves would allow. Marc Bitoun, Clayton Philipport, Attila Tivadar, Fiona Wylde, Tem Gronquist and Casey Reher all fought hard to earn top spot in their heats, second place advancers were Pete Dekay, Dwight Bode, James Lunden, Jeff Albright, Ian Stokes and Mike Colee.
The Women's heats were really impressive. Fiona Wylde was ripping in these conditions, with solid, near vertical turns in better sections, she showed she meant business, taking the heat win. It wasn't an easy win though, Katie McAnena was picking off some great waves, with tight, aggressive turns in the tough conditions coming through with a very close second place.
Heat two saw last year's womens tour winner Ingrid Larouche go up against Miho Tanaka from Japan and Australian Kate Barker. Ingrid showed her winning form again, with great wave selection and punchy top turns, leaving a close battle for second between Miho and Kate. Both girls sailed well, it must have been close, but it was Miho that advanced to the final. The women's final will be hotly contested judging by todays efforts.
As we moved into the evening, the wind started to ease and the waves showed signs of baking off, only one of the Masters heats completed, Brian Caserio, AWT head judge was ripping (no, he didn't score his own heat, haha, Kevin Pritchard stood in for him) he managed to find a few good waves and made the most of them with solid smacks. Marty Rosse also advanced. Heat 2 was finally abandonded due to the fast dropping wind and waves.
Tomorrow's forecast is promising, with more wind than today and from early on. There's a 9am skippers meeting, with a call to be ready for an immediate start. A full day of wind is expected and the plan will be to run through all remaining heats, plus also completing the single for the Pro's; a busy day ahead! Everyone is hoping for a dramatic improvement in wind and waves, but if only a marginal improvement in conditions arrives it would be worth remembering the AWT's only rule.. No Complaining ;-)
Check out the reports from day one and two on the next page...
Inn of the beachcomber SUP Gold beach challenge supported by RedBull.
No wind today, so, not surprisingly, windsurfing was off the menu. Those hungry for competition were invited to enter the Inn of the Beachcomber SUP Gold beach challenge.
A small south swell provided play park conditions, with the occasional overhead set wave. what little wind there was, proved challenging to the SUP competitors, blowing onshore & offering up enough chop to menace the riders efforts. Ladders were drawn up for men & women, heat lengths for the first rounds were set at 20 mins.
People SUP'ed, some people won, some people lost.. the ones that kept winning ended up in the final, but then that's exactly what you would expect to happen in a competition, right? So before I tell you the results, let's get into who stood out on the water. Conditions were tough, a shore break was the first hurdle and more than a few people were chewed up and spat out at some point during the heats. Some competitors really flirted with it, Dan Gardener pulled a headstand into forward roll just meters from the beach. Pete Dekay busted out a mean cockroach, much to the crowds delight, and Sam Bittner launched an impressive air guitar routine in the closing minutes of her heat.
Further out, the peaks would shift and many waves would close out, so most riders would resort to kneeling or lying down to paddle out back (I'm sure it's called stand up paddle?) getting out back was at times a lottery. Kate Barker dropped into some nice over head waves, she dove under a few too. Sam Bittner's heat tactics were varied and thoroughly entertaining, air guitar wave ride, the classic cockroach and I even saw a no footed air drop! Katie McAnena and Fiona Wylde battled furiously for top spot, with wave after wave on both sides, in the end it came down to a tie breaker, with the highest scoring wave playing the decider. Our beloved Irish charm had to settle for second this time, as Fiona took the win.
Head judge Brian Caserio was smooth and consistent on the wave, Pascal Hardy managed to pick up and shred many a set wave. It was Bernd Roediger that rose to the top with an energetic and impressive display of skills, hacking and smacking a mass of waves into submission, he even managed to forget his own heat watch and donate a borrowed one to davy jones locker...whoops!
Straight after all this excitement, we launched right into the Bittner Board toss. If you don't know what one is, think javelin, with an old windsurf board! My throw was pathetic, definitely lacking technique.
Word on the beach was that Ferdinando Loffreda was the man to be beaten, and he was.. with Jesse Jared taking the win for an almighty throw. In the ladies, proving finally that the luck of the irish is very real, the win went to Katie McAnena, though she did mark her best throw with her pint, which Ferdinando then knocked over with his next throw, mixed emotions for that win for Katie.
The Inn of the beachcomber finished our day with an amazing BBQ of meat and plenty veg. It went down a storm.
That rounds up todays action. skippers is at 11 tomorrow and all fingers are crossed for this wind forecast to materialise.
Gold Beach, Oregon, plays host to the 2013 Pistol River Wave Bash. Competitors have arrived for registration at the Inn of the Beachcomber and have kicked the event off in true style with an epic opening party. The night got started with a great BBQ. Beer and music flowed, and the thirst for competition saw beer pong heats get under way into the night. A lot of fun was had by all. There were a few sore heads in the morning.
The first official day of competition saw no contestable wind, so the event remains on hold until conditions improve, and looking at the forecast, Thursday looks most likely, however, conditions can change quickly at Pistol & the AWT team are poised ready should the wind kick in tomorrow.
Bernd Roediger and Fiona Wylde got the action started on the beach by holding a wave SUP clinic, sharing valuable tips and techniques for making the most out of a wave SUP session. Competitiors were released for the afternoon, everyone then met later for supper at an amazing little mexican diner called Playa del sol, once all fed and watered, we headed for a movie showing at a local church, a great little extreme sports movie called 'Purpose'
Whilst we're waiting for the wind to show in Pistol River why not check out the action from last year's event?
Tomorrow kicks off early with the Inn of the beachcomber Sup Gold beach challenge, report and pictures coming in tomorrows update.
Photos by Si Crowther & Mike Archer.