Yesterday evening saw the opening ceremony of the AWT Goya Cape Verde Pro event, which takes place on Sal from February 24 till March 8. A few days ago some of the participants got welcomed with a big swell.
We asked tour director Sam Bittner, why the AWT decided to hold an event at Cape Verde:
“The AWT is in Cabo Verde because several of our riders including Francisco Goya, Kai Katchadourian, Levi Siver and Kevin Pritchard have been talking up the place and putting a bug in my ear about making an event in Cabo Verde for years. When I collaborated with local Vickey Abbott, we decided it would be possible. I kept the name AWT on the event because it is run by the same team. The prize money from Santa Cruz was used to make the event possible here. The staff are all volunteering to make the event possible. No prize money is confirmed for the event but we are hoping to donate money made at the closing party and through tshirt sales to the winner. The local government has supported our event by donating things such as posters, tents, porta potties, staging etc. They have indicated that they will support us financially next year after a successful 2015 event. The AWT is all about providing opportunity for everyone to showcase their windsurfing skills in a contest setting, and to inspire the future of the sport. We are achieving our goal in Cabo Verde. The local riders are stoked as well as everyone who has flown in.”
February and March are quite windy months on Sal, as the trade winds blow quite constant during the winter months. Ponta Preta is the most famous spot on Sal, where the PWA saw magic conditions for events in the past. But it’s tricky to get perfect conditions as the spot needs northeasterly wind and swell from the north or northwest. The wave spots Ponta Preta, Alibaba or Curral Joul are all very rocky and require good windsurfing skills to not end up on the rocks or reef with an injury or broken gear.
The Event Entries
Several big names like Boujmaa Guilloul, Camille Juban, Kai Katchadourian, Kauli Seadi or Kevin Pritchard entered the event. A few other big names, who were on the list earlier will not compete, like Francisco Goya, Levi Siver, Marcilio Browne or Morgan Noireaux.
Morgan Noireaux:“Unfortunately I can’t go to the event. I needed to renew my passport before the event and it still has not arrived yet so I’m stuck on Maui for the moment. It sucks because every time I open my computer I see pictures of the guys over there getting some perfect waves, haha.”
Continentseven: What do you expect from the AWT competition on Cabo Verde?
Kai Katchadourian: I’ve seen some major enthusiasm from my local friends here and truly believe that this event is for them. Goya supporting this event enables the unknown and up and coming riders to sail with and compete with some world class riders. I commend this aspect of the event a great deal, the chance for some of these local sailors does not come often to compete at their home spot. I expect to see some big performances from everyone, but especially the riders with lots of local knowledge.
Kevin Pritchard: The guys that are here are going to be hard to beat. Kauli looks great on his new gear and will be tough. Boujmaa is fresh off a win and should have some confidence. Camille is ready and back on the water it should be fun. I hope to be on top of the podium!!
Sam Bittner: I expect great waves, amazing windsurfing and a new cultural experience.
Boujmaa Guilloul: Just fun, windsurfing at its finest and lot of long rides.
Camille Juban: Good conditions, a good battle between the pros, good fun and a good result for me, haha.
Continentseven: How did you prepare for the event?
Kai Katchadourian: The AWT competition itself to me is not that important. I come to Cabo Verde every year contest or no contest. I’m here now on the forecast we just had and it’s the reason i’m dedicated to these islands. It’s very important to me to ride these perfect waves as often as possible and I gain more experience each time I get the chance. I do see that the riders who did show early for this epic swell we just had gave themselves a valuable advantage just being here when it was truly on. Priceless.
Kevin Pritchard: Did you arrive a few days earlier to the event start? I have been really working quite hard this year getting ready. I have been off the beers and pushing it quite hard sailing tons and focusing on windsurfing. I have been here for two days and I’m ready for the contest.
Sam Bittner: There was not that much wind on Maui this winter so mostly running and surfing to stay in somewhat shape and sailing Hookipa when I could. I mostly mentally prepared for the spot as I heard it is super difficult. I arrived Friday night and contest starts on Tuesday. I got to sail yesterday at Ponta Preta. This is a huge bucket list check for me as I really was not sure I would be able to make it through the shore break. I did make it with the help of Vickey Abbott and it was an amazing feeling to be sailing the break with all the guys, who have traveled across the world to experience this place. So rewarding!!
Boujmaa Guilloul: Didn’t really prepare for the event, beside coming here a week ago looking at the forecast and wanting to score some surf before it gets too busy.
Camille Juban: I trained really hard to make my shoulder strong enough and to be in a good shape with my physical trainer in Guadeloupe. And I also did a lot of Physiotherapy. I had no choice to come earlier, because I didn’t sail during the last six months because of my injury so I came one week earlier and sails with Boujmaa, Brawzhino, Kauli and that was perfect for a come back.
Continentseven: Which windsurfing conditions do you expect?
Kai Katchadourian: It is looking like the AWT event will be challenged to live up to the outrageous standards set by the PWA from the epic events of 2007-2009. I know this window is late in the season. To expect big Ponta Preta is a tall order and the outlook will most likely mean competition will be at Curral Joul or Secret Spot aka little Hookipa. It would be fortunate for the event if it saw any action at Ponta Preta but I’m not sure it will happen. We’ll see!
Kevin Pritchard: I haven’t been following it too close. I am here and ready to go. I feel great, I have been sailing a lot on Maui and I am ready.
Sam Bittner: We checked the forecast last night and it looks like Thursday and Friday are going to be pumping! I am so excited!!!
Boujmaa Guilloul: I am praying for some long rides at Ponta Preta with a solid size and some wind enough for 4.5 and 74l
Camille Juban: Little mast high and side off down the line condition.
Continentseven: Which gear did you bring for the event?
Kai Katchadourian: With my custom 85 liter Flywave waiting here already all I brought were sails. Simmer Style Halo 5.3, 4.7, and Blacktip 4.2. I’ve used all of it this trip already, some really windy moments.
Kevin Pritchard: I brought my Starboard Kode thruster and 5.7 to 4.7 Ezzy sails, my video camera, my surfboard, and a pack of MFC fins.
Sam Bittner: I did not bring a ton of gear and now think I may regret that decision now seeing how amazing the place is and how close to the rocks! I brought with me all Naish gear: 78L RN wave board and a M and L Chopper.
Boujmaa Guilloul: I brought a Kode 74 and a Nuevo 80, 3 x 4.5 Gators and a 4.2 which I just destroyed yesterday with the tail of my Kode. 4 masts and 2 booms.
Camille Juban: As I am with Avanti sails now, I brought a 4,0 phenix, two 4,4 phenix and two 4,8 phenix just in case.
no swell on the forecast maybe? i guess that’s why Levi, Bernd, Morgan are also missing. i would be very very very surprised if Ponta Preta would work during the contest. bad luck like we had in 2010 for the last PWA… I hope I am wrong
Why Josh Angulo will not compete?
No prize money?
Looking great Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Note that Ponta Preta works fantastic also on weak pure offshore wind when swell is up. Wish I was there too but just recovered from surgery. Good luck to everyone.
Why Browsinho will not compete?
I thought the PWA won’t let them compete.
That’s true. The Top24 of the PWA Wave Ranking are not allowed to compete. Sucha shame.