Since one week the IWT & PWA Qualifier Morocco has been running and the competitors already scored great conditions. On the first day of the event all 6 divisions were completed even before the opening ceremony in the evening. Head judge Duncan Coombs, who was sent by the PWA, and his team decided to take full advantage of day 1 with great conditions due to a challenging looking forecast.
Boujmaa Guilloul, event organizer and pro rider: “The forecast was challenging. We’ve been lucky with the conditions. The fact that we got enough wind and waves to run all 6 divisions is amazing. It wasn’t the usual Moulay I know but it was windy enough to get around and catch waves. I think we caught enough waves to count heats and the waves were pretty solid when the tide got lower, they were more powerful. We had lots of fun sailing those kind of waves.”
After a long day of competition the winners were Kevin Pritchard (Pro men), Sarah Hauser (Women), Jahdan Tyger (Youth), Yves Masnada (Amateur), Jonathan Pooley (Masters) and Colby Deer (Grand Masters).
The competition is not over yet and the Double Eliminations still need to be finished.
IWT & PWA Qualifier Morocco 2017 – 1st Video
In the beginning of December the American Windsurfing Tour (AWT) released their 2017 tour calendar and at the same time the tour management (Sam Bittner) announced a change of their name to International Windsurfing Tour (IWT). This year the tour consists of 10 events with 7 pure wave events.
This event is not only a IWT tour stop, it’s as well a PWA wave qualifier and 2 places will be allocated to the PWA men fleet at Pozo. Duncan Coombs stated: “It’s something that comes together from the Maui event, the Aloha Classic. Organizing a windsurfing competition together worked there. Now the purpose is to have the joint event be a qualifier. It is good to spread the word so more people can be aware of it!”
Boujmaa Guilloul is the man behind the event (Pic: Crowther/IWT)
Day 1 in Morocco – Single elimination – Day 1, May 6
On the first day of the event all 6 divisions were completed even before the opening ceremony in the evening.
58 riders from all over the world registered for the event in all divisions. The Moroccan representation in the event is amazing too with 20 locals out of the 58 riders.
The Youth kicked off the first day in chest to logo high waves and light offshore wind. With the help of the nonprofit Beyond Boardshorts supporting the new generation of Moroccan windsurfers, 7 local kids were able to register and compete. Jahdan Tyger from Brazil took the Youth win and showcased his talent in the Amateur division as well.
As the wind picked up, heats were shortened to 15 minutes and the women went out. Maui based riders Tatiana Howard, Samantha Bittner and Sarah Hauser showed great adaptability to new conditions, qualifying themselves for the finals, together with world traveler Annamaria Zollet, originally from Italy. Tatiana got the wave of round 1 demonstrating her famous smooth surf style. She picked off one of the bigger set waves opening with a big turn on the outside closing section, before finding a nice reform on the inside to finish with a few stylish turns.
The Pro Women final was a close battle between the “Maui girls” and Annamaria Zollet who had knowledge of the spot. Scores were very close but in the end, it’s Sarah Hauser who took the victory followed by Tatiana Howard who pushed through pain after a bad wipe-out bruising her leg in the first round. Not far behind in points were Annamaria and tour director Samantha Bittner who got great rides as well.
Sarah Hauser wins the single in Morocco 2017 (Pic: Crowther/IWT)
Then it was the turn of the Amateurs to take over the spot, followed by the Pros. As the tide got lower, the waves got smoother and more powerful, but still in the fun size (shoulder to logo high) allowing all levels to have fun and perform magical rides. Right away an amazing battle took place during heat number 1 of the Pro between Moroccan local talent Soufian Sahili, IWT regular Russell Faurot and upcoming Italian wave sailing machine Federico Morisio setting the tone for the competition! Although Federico didn’t make it through this heat he definitely left a big impression on the judges who hope for more conditions this week to see if he can recover in the double elimination.
Local Yves Masnada was the highlight of the Amateur day performing powerful turns, aggressive aerials and wining an intense final against Italian Alessio Carboni, Canadian Tom Soltysiak and Irish Paddy Buckley as the sun was close to setting.
The Pro Men’s bracket was loaded with talent. In semi final 1 Kevin Pritchard threw some amazing tweaked aerials and Soufian Sahili took full advantage of his waves demonstrating his local knowledge of the spot. Semi final 2 was won by local star Boujmaa Guilloul followed by Edvan Souza from Brazil. Edvan, who used to compete on the world tour in freestyle, wowed the crowd with the move of day 1 landing an unbelievable Air Taka!
The Final was set to go off in excellent conditions. The wind had picked up enough to allow the finalist to move around easily, catching wave after wave. The tide had dropped creating some heavy sections, which were perfect for late hits and aerials. Edvan started off the heat with a big turn and aerial combo setting the tone for the rest. Kevin and Boujmaa then followed with high scoring waves of their own. Boujmaa showed off his knowledge of the spot, picking some of the longest waves finding section after section racking up some big scores. Kevin however was able to find some of the heaviest sections of the heat putting up some big tweaked aerials, and a very smooth 1-handed aerial to take the win. Soufian sailed well with high scoring waves, but just couldn’t quite find the sections to land any big moves.
Kevin Pritchard with a nice one handed Aerial in the single in Morocco 2017 (Pic: Crowther/IWT)
At the conclusion of the day, and without a minute to lose, all the competitors and organizers left the beach and headed to Essaouira where the opening ceremony took place. A beautiful speech about the efforts put toward this event was given by the Governor of Essaouira Jamal Mokhtatar as well as Tarik Othmani president of the association Essaouira Mogador on behalf of the city counsel. The night ended at an after party on the roof top of El Toros, a beautiful bar-restaurant in the Medina of Essaouira.
The double elimination is scheduled for Saturday, final event day, May 13
There is a good chance to get some more swell and wind at Moulay Bouzerktoune and the IWT/PWA can run the double elimination and give everyone the chance to improve their rankings. Just Kevin and Sarah wouldn’t mind, if the conditions wouldn’t play game, we bet.
Duncan Coombs: “It’s important for me to do the double. It gives a second chance to people. The forecast looks like some great conditions with strong wind on Saturday so we will try to run the double for the Pro and maybe do an exhibition. It will be interesting to see Federico Morisio who was knocked out in the first round. I think his result will change a lot, he has a great potential. I heard he’s been ripping in Maui. Also Soufian Sahili, who’s one of the finalist, has the potential to challenge the top 3.”