Tanya Saleh is back with more from the Baja edition of the AWT, it sounds like day three has been the most exciting to date!
Tuesday graced us with 7 hours of non-stop competition in logo to mast high waves! We kicked off with an 11.30 start running through amateurs, masters, youth, pro, ladies and then cycled back through. The standard was high and a lot of heats were very close in scoring with everyone absolutely going for it.
The amateurs quickly became 8 (from the original 24), and the heat winners were those picking out the biggest waves and being the most radical on them. Going for broke resulted in many wipe outs in close proximity of the rocks and trashing in the chilli bowl; all made for spectacular viewing and high scoring waves when pulled off.
Special mentions go to Ruben Lemmons for breaking his nose in the semi-final and then going back out in the 4 man final and semi breaking his board. The amateur final came down to Ruben, Tom Solstiyak, Eric and Marc Bitoun. However both Marc and Eric got so distracted by the epic free sailing up wind at the Bombora that they missed the 4 man final!
The masters were also absolutely charging in round 3 and it was a very close call between the final 8. But the final 4 to make it were Ferdinando, Norm Roediger, Marty, and Mike Colee. And yes, this is the same Marty who had stitches yesterday after getting acquainted with the rocks!
In the women's round 1 saw some very close scoring in both heats; Fiona went through from the first heat, and Ingrid from the 2nd which left it to myself, Sarah Delaunay, Sam Bittner and Aussie Kate Barker to head back out in round 2 to see who would join them. Special mention to Bittner for her lumo pink leggings/wetsuit combo which deserved points in themselves. It really was very close and came down to a wave which I caught in the last 5 seconds but it was Sarah and I who made it through to the 4 woman final. The final was great fun and saw Ingrid taking 1st place with her consistent aggressive turns and awesome style, Fiona took 2nd busting a couple of amazing aerials over the chilli bowl, and Sarah in 3rd.
The standard in the women's has gone up so much; these top 3 girls are training hard all year round in Maui, Baja and the Gorge and it's really paying off. Ingrid and Fiona can give most of the boys a run for their money.
The pro men were obviously like watching a fully edited dvd; there wasn’t one sailor who wasn’t unreal to watch. Special mention to fellow Brit Chris Freeman (Mr. Hot Sails) who managed to slice his wetsuit and thigh open with his fins whilst not quite landing an aerial. He then went back to the judges tower and continued judging for the rest of the day. On return to camp at 7pm it was Dr. and Dr. Stokes to the rescue (again) with some local anaesthetic and 5 stitches.
The youth in Bernd Roediger and Morgan Noireux is reflected in their energetic sailing and the way they finish off their waves with goiters seeming so effortless. Watching the likes of Levi Siver and Keith Tebouls style is mesmorising, so it’s going to be pretty exciting to watch round 3 onwards tomorrow.
The 2 man finals for the other fleets were all held for tomorrow too so it should be a great day with the next swell pushing through at the same size.