What an opening day to the Gran Slam PWA in Pozo. Extreme winds, good swell with 2.5 meter high waves and soaring jumps.
A competition, that apart from the ladies, was as open as 24hour pub with no doors. Despite assault coming from all directions, a frenzy of 15 metre high, and sometimes long jumps, powerful wave maneuvres and double or nothing 40ft planing forward loops from Ricardo Campello and the Jensen brothers it was Victor Fernandez victorious again..
For the first time in many years, the battle at Pozo was not just about jumping. Nik Baker proved this as he outsailed many much younger than him with skilful wave riding and selection, in the battle of the Brit’s he proved luckier than his compatriot Robbie Swift who had a slight disaster of a heat. Competition savvy, Nik invented it! Out of the other Brits Phil Horrocks had a collision with Peter Volwater which ruled him out, John Skye was well in the game until he came up against Kauli Seadi. Matt Pearch advanced to the second round and Ben Proffit had the mutha of all heats, getting beating by Dario Ojeda by just half a point, just one wave wiggle. Dario is a name not so many may be familiar with, he is a pozo local and a fantastic free sailor. This is perhaps the first time we have seen his full potential in competition. The Quatro rider joined his team mate Kauli Seadi in the last four, amongst Victor Fernandez Lopez and Vidar Jensen.
If Cape Verde showed us what wave riding is really about, then todays competition did the same for jumping, it was phenomenal. The irony is that the final decision came down to wave riding scores, such was the magnitude of the jumps. Kauli crashed two double forwards in his first run, whilst Victor Fernandez answered with a pushie into table tops. We then saw doubles like never before, mammouth one handed backloops, more and more tweaked pushies, it was a fest. Kauli just missed a shaka/taka in a wave heat landing out the back, but managed a superb wave ride which Victor matched, only this time nailing wave 360’s and takas. Kauli answered back by landed the first clean Pushloop forward in a competition. Now you would have thought that such a ground breaking move would have clinched it, but oh no! Victor edged his tally higher by landing the cleanest planing double. Sorry, I mean the cleanest 35ft high planing double. Pure entertainment.
The womens final was between the masters (or is that mistresses) that are unbeatable in Pozo. Daida jumps as high as many of the men and throws air chachos and pushie table tops to order. Iballa Moreno possibly edges out her sister in the wave riding, but the power of Daida’s jumping is something special, meaning that Daida again won the single elimination.
They are now into the men’s double elimination…
Photo Credit: PWA/Carter