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In 4 days, the Aloha Classic will decide the wave world title for 2014 at Hookipa Beach Park on Maui’s North Shore. Hookipa is the Pipeline of windsurfing, Hookipa is the beach where wavesailing started, Hookipa is the point of pilgrimage for sailors both professional and amateur, and Hookipa for me is home. The waves that break over that reef made stars of Naish, the Angulos, Levi Siver, Polakow, etc.
Only 3 sailors can win the title of “best wave sailor of 2014 according to the PWA”. They are Thomas Traversa, Victor Fernandez Lopez, and Ricardo Campello.
Sailing with momentum and currently ranked 1st is Thomas Traversa. He won the Red Bull storm chase at the start of this year, and he went on to win the PWA jumping indoor in Poland as well as the PWA world cup in Klitmoller. He backs up his wins with two 2nd places (Tenerife and La Torche).
For years, I’ve thought Thomas’s talent under appreciated in the general media. He is a windsurfer’s windsurfer, and I think most other pros would place him in their personal top 3. And this year, going into the last event of the season, he is in first place.
But actually Victor Fernandez Lopez has the best shot at winning the title despite currently being in 2nd place. Why? In a word: discards. After 3 events, each sailor discards his worst result. This year saw 5 events, so 4 will count. Thomas has a 9th, 2nd, 1st, 2nd, and Victor has 1st, 3rd, 2nd, 5th.
Victor loves the podium. I think Victor has more podium finishes than any other wave sailor in the last 8 years. And he is the only one of the three title contenders to have a previous wave world title (2010).
Ricardo is no stranger to the podium either (currently 3rd). He dominated freestyle in the early naughts, winning 3 world titles and almost every single event. He was unstoppable. And then he turned his focus to waves. Many people in the wave sailing community laughed, thinking he wouldn’t be able to do well. And at first, Ricardo struggled. But only at first. Now, he has proved himself to be one of the best wave riders in the world– and also one of the most progressive!
I brought out my calculator to see the math on what results at the Aloha each contender needs to win the overall.
Ricardo needs to finish on the Aloha Classic podium to have a shot at the title. Here are all all possibilities:
Ricardo in 1st at the Aloha:
Rico will pass Thomas in the overall unless Thomas places 5th (or better); and pass Victor unless Victor places 4th (or better).
Rico in 2nd:
Rico will pass Thomas unless Thomas places 6th (or better); and pass Victor unless Victor places 5th (or better).
Rico in 3rd:
Rico will pass Thomas unless Thomas places 7th (or better); and will pass Victor unless Victor places (6th or better).
For Thomas, the math is much easier. To win the title he needs both to place 7th (or better) and to finish ahead of Victor (and so long as Rico does not win [see above]). Or, if there’s no wind, he wins with his current points.
ALL OTHER SCENARIOS: Victor wins the overall. This is why Victor has the advantage.
Is the past Aloha Classic prologue to the future? Probably not. But let’s look at it anyway.
Last year, Ricardo scored the best of the 3– finishing 11th (eliminated by your author). Thomas and Victor tied for 15th.
And if we want to look two events back, we go all the way back in time to 2006. Ricardo was 5th, Victor 7th, and Thomas 21st.
What does that mean? Not much. Maui is a gamble. Polakow could come out the trials and win the whole event. In fact, if the waves are really big, he’s an easy bet for the podium. Ricardo’s overall maui performance is the best of the three. But Thomas shows the most improvement.
What do I think?
Well, Ricardo and Victor spend a lot more time on Maui than Thomas does. In fact, Thomas doesn’t really like Maui. Whereas Rico and Victor come twice a year, Thomas comes once every few years. How ironic that now Maui means the title for him!
Victor looked really good in the spring. His Hookipa sailing is better than ever. Ricardo is always fun to watch. But I don’t see either winning the event unless the waves are small– in big surf, the Maui local advantage amplifies.
The forecast (as it stands right now) is for medium-size waves and strong (for Maui) wind. This means jumping might count. Now, Hookipa is not a jumping spot, and the contest often is only about wave riding. But, if the judges count jumps, both Ricardo and Victor have a much larger advantage than they normally would have.
Thomas is more of an unknown. He impressed me a lot at last year’s Aloha. Is he good enough to place at least 7th– hell yeah.
Maui locals have a significant advantage at Hookipa making it harder for some of the elite riders to break into the top 10. Last year’s top 10 was all Maui locals except for Alex Mussolini and Kauli Seadi. Should be noted that Mussolini went to high school on Maui and spent months on island every year since graduation.
Last years’s locals:
Levi Siver (1)
Bernd Roediger (2)
Morgan Noireaux (4)
Marcilio Browne (5)
Josh Angulo (6)
Robby Swift (8)
Graham Ezzy (9)
Kevin Pritchard (9)
The local advantage makes it harder for non-locals like the three title contenders to get the top positions they normally get. This is why Victor Fernandez Lopez is in the best position mathematically for the world title– he wins by default if either Ricardo or Thomas doesn’t do well. That said, both Thomas Traversa and Ricardo Campello seem fired up this year– both seem more motivated than previously. Victor already has a world title, but Rico and Thomas don’t. Will this desire for a maiden world title be enough to motivate either Thomas Traversa or Ricardo Campello to step it up at the Aloha? Both would need to do better than they have ever done before on Maui.
What do you think? Who will win the overall? And why? Give your predictions in the comments.
The impossible was made possible by winning his 6th PWA Freestyle World Champ title at the 2014 DAVIDOFF Cool Water Sylt PWA Super Grand Slam.
Jose ‘Gollito’ Estredo on the verge of world title number six:
“I wasn’t thinking about the title race when I was sailing – to be honest I was just focusing on sailing my best and hoping that that would be enough! It´s just amazing. I was happy to win the TowIN and I’m even happier to win the single elimination. The conditions were good and I was fully powered to overpowered on my 5.2m.”
Congratulations Gollito to this great achievement!
The time runs quick! 6 days are over at the La Torche PWA Worldcup. During the first 6 days we saw a lot of swell breaking at the beach of Pors Carn next to the Pointe de la Torche. It’s my first time spending time in Brittany and it’s definitely worth to visit this place. Renting a little stone house around 12 km from the event site was definitely the right decision. It’s located in the middle of the green country side. No traffic, just a main building, a horse breeding and a nice green cultivated garden next to the little stone house. So relaxed. We bought fresh fish at a local market in Loctudy, one of our favourite places. The taste was delicious…
Chilling in front of the little house we rent.
On the fourth day strong northwesterly wind kicked in the left bay and we followed the most radical wave competition of the 2014 season. The starboard tack conditions were challenging and the wind picked up over 30 knots. We saw crazy jumps in mast high waves. Wild double loops, massive Backloops and Pushloops and excellent wave riding. All top riders hit the lips quite vertical. The action happened quite close to the beach. Thousands of spectators stood on the rocks or on the beach next to the water watching their windsurfing heroes. Ricardo Campello won the single elimination. Congrats! Next time we will bring wave equipment. La Torche is definitely a great spot for wave sailing and surfing.
Having a coffee in the local creperie at La Torche in front of an old A.R.T. sail of Monty Spindler (Pic: Kerstin Reiger)
Not really sure how often the spot works for Slalom. It would have been possible to run Slalom eliminations two days ago, but it was definitely smart to give the wave discipline priority. Probably a lot of racing gear would have been destroyed by the huge white water walls and the strong current would have dragged the marks away from their origin spots.
Rigging in the green next to Ross Williams with a view to the event site and on the dunes (Pic: Kerstin Reiger)
At the moment the wind is far too light from being suitable for any Slalom racing. The two biggest sail sizes, 8,6m and 9,0m are rigged and ready just next to the beach. I will race in heat 6 in the first elimination. Three days are left to start the Slalom competition. Looks like we are racing on the right hand side of the bay, if we will race. For the wavers the forecast doesn’t look so promising. They would need to sail 10 or 11 more heats to complete the double elimination.
Rigging for the first time at La Torche, the wind will kick in later, hopefully (Pic: Kerstin Reiger).
Thankfully Hurricane Ana stayed away from the islands and left only some gray clouds and stormy surf!
Photos by Francesco Maffei
The beach is beautiful and the scenery with over mast high breaking waves is just breathtaking. It’s so great to see breaking waves like on the first day here in Brittany. And Ricardo Campello had nuts and made it out in just a few knots of wind. He was surfing the waves. Big respect. I really hope we will see more wave action and get proper wind for a few races during the next 8 days. Most of the big names are here to compete in the 6th PWA Slalom tour stop of the 2014 season.
Here are a few shots from the trip to La Torche and the first day at the French land’s end with a lot of friendly people, tasty crepes and a really wild coast. Definitely like this area from the first day on!
Driving through the Champagne on the way to La Torche (Pic: Kerstin Reiger)
Team Autriche (Pic: Kerstin Reiger)
Team Autriche, Marco Lang and I at the opening ceremony (Pic: Kerstin Reiger)
Huge waves at the right hand side of the Point of La Torche (Pic: Kerstin Reiger)
At Penmarch, checking the surf (Pic: Kerstin Reiger)
A real Galette de Saucisse, the local street food . A real revolution and quite tasty! (Pic:Kerstin Reiger)
Less space in the tiny gear tents, but better than nothing
|Backloop - Balephuil|
|The Broad Sword and the trophy, yeesss!!|
|Lecky fighting hard!|
|Team 15 Rippers at the Loch.|
|Signing session at Tiree Lodge Hotel|
|The moment you get the result, yerr!|
|Hard Work after 5 rounds!|
|Red handed TV crew probing for insight!|
|Dave v Simmer Squadron.|
|Dave showing Backloops run in the family!|
|Finally got my sword!|
|Thank you BWA and Tiree!|
|until next time........|
Some decisions are hard to make which I have learned lately. This winter and all of the time up until now, I have more or less dedicated my life to windsurfing and racing 100% with all of the up and downsides which come with that.
Not long ago, a decision was taken for me, by my body, to retire from the rest of this years PWA world tour racing. As some may know, I had a pretty big wipeout when I was in Turkey competing for the Alacati PWA world cup about a month ago. A wipeout like nothing I´ve done before, in relatively light winds, on pretty much my biggest equipment, meaning it really cant have been THAT dramatic, or could it? I dont know, I didnt see it, actually Im not sure what happened.
Arrived in Turkey ready for battle
All I know is that when I came to myself, I had broken my aluminum mast extension and my board was also broken. Ohh and pretty much the whole of my body was hurting. I had somehow slapped my face really hard, I had twisted my right ankle quite hard and my left leg, well at that moment I couldnt even move it. One of the crew boats came over, and they pretty much had to drag me into the boat. I was completely useless! During the boat ride back to shore, I started to be able to move my left leg again but with quite the pain in the knee.
When I got to shore, I felt completely bashed, I was a bit disoriented and was a bit worried about my leg. The guys from the medical team came over, and mostly they were looking at all the cuts in my left leg, but they were not my worry. I felt like something was wrong inside the knee. I had it treated with spray to stop swelling, and other than that I actually started to feel okay again.
Some part of my body broke this
My biggest board broken
Now this was the very first heat of the very first race on the very first day at the competition, and I can just say that my head was definitely not ready to stop! We all know how it is, we dont want to admit that something is not like it should be, and that we should stop.
At this point of time, I think my mind had taken over the pain management and put the pain in a place where I wouldnt feel it very much. And I think I have got an explanation for that. The world cup in Turkey is one of the events I look the most forward to over the year. It is here that I often race the best, and it is here where I feel the most comfortable. Over the weeks up till the event I had built up anticipation and excitement, and in my mind, I was not ready to let it go!
So in no time, as if nothing had happened, I got my sail fixed, got a new board, and in the next elimination round, I was already racing, but I could definitely feel the effects of the crash. I had no power left. Luckily the wind didnt play ball anymore, and the racing was cancelled for the day to be continued the following day.
After packing up and working my way back to the hotel, I really started to feel what was going on. I actually barely made it back to the hotel. For each step I would take, the pain would get worse. Hmm, this could not be good. At night time, I was in crazy pain, and after a sleepless night I realized that something had to be done. First thing in the morning I tracked down the doctor at the event site who had a look at my knee and told me it was nothing serious, pheww, but why am I in this much pain then. He then had mercy on me and at an ambulance parked nearby I got two injections to help for the pain and swelling. I also had it taped up really hard and put together a home made compression which actually helped a lot. The wind was late in its arrival so I was just sat at the beach with my leg up wondering if I should race or not.
And I guess eventually the painkillers kicked in, and brought me out of the momentary miserable state, because I no longer thought about that knee and whatever consequences were to come out of this crash. I retired my big board, as there was no way I would have power enough to really push it and turn it around the corners. So I went with my medium board. People thought I was nuts to race with set-up, but on that day, it felt like all the excessiveness was taken out of my gear and I actually raced quite good making it through to semi finals securing myself a top16 position for that day.
Somehow managing to pull it off around the race course
My spare time activity in Turkey
To me its really funny to see what necessity can bring out of situations. I normally never would have raced my medium sized equipment in the light wind conditions of Alacati. While others were on their biggest board and sail, I was on my 115L board and my 8,6m2 sail. It made me realize how big of a range I had with this gear, something that I wish I could have realized earlier on in the year. I think also it made me realize my efficiency on the board. My time spent preparing over the winter had definitely made a difference. My technique had improved, and I knew every characteristic of every single bit of my equipment. Something that insecurities maybe have clouded over this season.
Furthermore, I knew there was no way I could fight for an event result by now. There was no way I could fight at the first mark rounding with that knee of mine. Because even though I was on very strong pain killers, there was still something missing, my edge in the turns, I simply didnt have it anymore.
To shorten the rest of the story in Turkey, I still had a great time and enjoyed sailing there as always, and enjoyed my time there. I kept on racing, and had great moments despite my missing power. It was really only when I sat down in the airplane seat that I once more started feeling like something was not right. The pain was back, and I now knew that I probably needed to rest up.
Heading out for my last heat in Turkey, all taped up
A great Danish crew supported me throughout the week,, thanks guys!
I made it back to Lanzarote and fully rested for quite some time, but I really didnt feel any improvements in the knee. So I went to the doctors once more and had an MRI scanning scheduled. By the time I had the scanning done, it was almost time to leave again and head off for the next world cup in Sylt. So I would have to wait a while getting the results. I have to admit, that I was quite close to not making the trip as I didnt feel ready at all, and I still had pain. But everything was planned, and I had lots of other business to attend to in my time in Denmark and then in Sylt. So I made the trip up north once more and finally made it to Sylt.
I was determined I could do this, and I had everything prepared on the first day of racing which brought really rough conditions with big swell and chop, the kind of conditions I usually welcome. When I first launched heading out to sail my heat, I didnt feel too many problems, and I thought hey, maybe its not so bad after all. But after the green flag went up and I locked in my 8,6 and started going full speed, it wouldnt take much time before I started feeling a burning sensation in my knee, and just generally feeling quite unpleasant. So already at the first mark, I jumped in the water, and had a moment to myself thinking about what I was actually doing. I then decided it was about time to head back to shore and start to be a bit careful. These conditions were not the right thing for me to sail in at that moment of time.
I headed back and threw my gear in a pile, and went inside looking at my friends racing, and not the least my great friend Arnon Dagan winning the final of the day, which was awesome and motivating! At that moment, I had sort of already pulled the plug on racing for the rest of the event, and had come to peace with it in my mind, but I had meetings planned and work to do during the week, so I decided to stay, and perhaps it would be nicely flat one day and I could race again. But that was not going to be the case. We ended up having a full week with no more racing, which I guess was fine by me, there wasnt much I was missing out on. Instead I got to do lots of work, meet up with sponsors and look at what I needed to do onwards. In fact a quite productive and fun week in the end,
My buddy Arnon takes the win at the Sylt World Cup
The day after we finished up on Sylt, I was already back in Lanzarote, and had to wait about a week to go see the doctor, which then eventually gave me the final rundown of what was up with my knee. A maximum level of sprain, but no other damage to any other parts.. Yayy I thought, but then came the but, I was to keep it still, do physio and recovery sessions over a period of 3-4 weeks with NO windsurfing. This would mean no racing for me in the following PWA event in La Torche, and pretty much no preperation time for the last event of the year in New Caledonia. The decision was then more or less taken for me. There is no need to go to events at half speed and not feeling on top or prepared!
This now means that I will not be joining the rest of the PWA fleet for the rest of the year, which of course is a bit hard for me. Windsurfing and racing is a big part of my life, and I have worked with it for years now, so having to take a break from it is not easy. On the other hand, maybe this was the time for me to take a break, regroup and come back stronger. And to come back strong is what I intend to do! In about a month I will be able to windsurf again, and I cannot describe how much I miss it right now. I will be hungry and I will have renewed energy, and I will have had the time to get myself organized for the 2015 season. I have had very supportive sponsors which I am über happy to continue working with them for the future. But for now, I will be focusing on getting my body back to a level where I can compete at 100% again, and I am sure all else will follow it. This is not me signing out of windsurfing, but only racing the next few months.
See you on the water soon
It’s time to leave Austria. It’s beautiful autumn weather here at the moment, but Finistere is calling. The rugged coast at the atlantic coast will welcome us with big swell and strong wind. We hopefully will see great wave action. Perhaps triple loop attempts. Robert Teriitheau is in the house! 64 riders will compete on the Slalom course with more than 40 % riders from France. Will we see a French winner or will Arnon score big again and climb up on top of the podium. I am really happy that I got a wild card again. This is my premiere in Brittany and it’s a great comeback of a place and a region on tour, which was a highlight venue in the past, in the 80ties and 90ties. Was not really sure to start the trip as my van made troubles. The local garage replaced a few tubes and thee battery. It should run smooth again. Kerstin and I rent a sweet little stone house close to Le Point de la Torche. We are excited about to see something new and make new friends in Brittany. See you there! Everything is packed. We only have to drive 1800 km…
A rare selfie
20 degrees during October, nice
Beach park Weiden
Boats and no wind
Silence in the autumn at Lake Neusiedl
Racing in Austria, not windy enough (Pic: Zugsbratl/WSA)
Racing on Sylt, not easy (Pic_Carter/PWA)
Lately, I have been trying to put together some blog posts, and by the end of them, I have found them very boring. It must have been at least 2-3 times where I´ve actually finished writing about a competition or an experience, but ended up taking it off again. So I thought I´d let some pictures do the work for me instead. Pictures are great, we are all very used to them by now, they tell us so many things, and if caught in the right moment of time, they can tell a whole story. So I´ve gathered up some photos from the last few months I thought would be fun to share with everyone.
As always, summertime means loads of activity for me. This is the time where most of the competitions on the world tour are compressed, so it always ends up being a time that first of all goes by faster than you would think, and being full of so many experiences which all blend into one action packed entity of SUMMER!. I´ve been around yes. This summer I´ve spent most of my time in the Canary islands, south of spain, Denmark, Turkmenistan, Turkey , Poland and Germany. Perhaps I´ve left a place out. As I mentioned, it was a busy summer with some amazing racing moments. Although I had some bad luck here and there, I have been so happy with my equipment, and the preparation I did over the winter has lifted my level considerably which is such an uplifting experience. I still have tons of stuff to work on to be more complete, but I know now that on the right days, I can kick some ass!. I am still loving windsurfing as much as 10 years ago! I will let these pictures below show a bit about where I´ve been and what I´ve been up to over the last months.
Getting ready for racing in Fuerteventura
Without a doubt my favorite place in the world for racing, Fuerteventura
Arrival in Fuerteventura and getting a container set up for racing
Amazing apartment views in Fuerteventura
All set up and ready to race!
My equipment area is popular! People come to chill
Little ferry rides
Canary style sunsets
Making of a little music video with my buddy Arnon
On the organizational side at this years indoor world cup in Warzaw, Poland
Back on the ferry and across to Fuerteventura to fly back to cold Europe
Rough windsurfing conditions in Sylt but still always smiles
One of the most difficult shorebreaks in the world, Sylt
Playing with the new 2015 Point-7 prototypes
Downtime fun and training in Tarifa
Yeah why not
Hitting the road with Ben Van Der Steen en route to go racing abroad
The Danish crew in Turkey
A clogged arrivals hall in Ashgabat Turkmenistan.
Enjoying dragging bags in 40-50c heat
Ran into a sand storm!
A mini, but well organized pit area for two!
First time in my life where I got up at 4.30AM to go rig up!
Evening entertainment in Awaza, Turkmenistan
My Point-7 AC1 7,9 sail and myself
Got to get traditional in Turkmenistan with the boys
Long travels get exhausting
SUV´s all lined up for presidential visit
Yelken Yacht Club in Awaza
With my buddy Sean
Warming up for racing
Nothing like getting to come to a place where you can truly relax after being on the road for a long time!
A place where I always feel great racing, Alacati, Turkey
Thanks for flicking through!
Allez je me lance pour mon « tu sais que tu es…quand… » J’♥ le windsurf, que dis-je, j’adoooore la planche à voile et je pense que beaucoup d’entre vous se reconnaitrons dans les lignes suivantes. Tu sais que tu es une windsurfeuse quand… ★ quand tu passes ton temps avec la page de windguru et windfinder ouverte sur ton […]
|Peahi on Oct 9. Photo by Levi Siver|
|one lonely and probably crazy longboarder was out there|
|that's how Levi loads up for the top turn. His hands were wide on the bottom turn, now are very close together and he's going to widen them again to shoulder width when he unloads the turn.|
|the spray is the result|
|Sara on a wave that is three times overhead for her|
|Bernd sailed amazing|
|very occasionally, even Levi wipes out. That was a good one.|
|Fiona on another triple overheader. I was impressed by how much she improved.|
|Kai eyeing a dreamy section|
|Jazz. That didn't end well.|
|Bernd flew over the whole damn section|
|Kai on another bomb|
|Paolino si e' spataccato oggi!|
|good day at the office for Nico|
This well overhead set arrived as i was pulling in the parking.
Long period large swells on the rise will provide plenty of surprises like this. It will seem small and doable for most times and then once in a while you'll take a big set on the head.
And while i'm writing all this, another big set comes through. It seems that the swell is already pretty solid.