PWA WORLDCUP GRANDSLAM FUERTEVENTURA 2017
It was great spending a few weeks home on Bonaire , but on July 8th it was time to go back to “work”. With a short stop in The Netherlands to prepare my equipment I flew to Fuerteventura for the 6th year in a row to attend the 32. Fuerteventura Grandslam on Sotavento beach and hosted by the Rene Egli Windsurf center.
I spend 1 week training to get used again to the Fuerte wind conditions. With every day wind between 25 and 40 knots perfect to get ready to start the first PWA-freestyle event of the season.
The PWA -event preview was right, no room for error as 2017 only sees 2 Freestyle Worldcups.
Vrieswijk is considered one of, if not the brightest spark in the freestyle world right now and it would seem only a matter of time before the 21-year-old gets his hands on his first world title. Will this year be the year? Time will tell, but with only two events there will be absolutely no room for errors.
48 competitor registered and all eager to start the competition after the skippers meeting on July 21st.
My 1st opponent was Yagen ISR-02 followed by Ruenes F-85.
It was a close call as the Frenchman was in great form and by the end of the heat there was just 0.03 of a point between us. I could land a kabikuchi in the dying moments of the heat and swung the heat in my favour. Lucky me !! Next up was a meeting with my JP-Australia team-mate Steven Van Broeckhoven in the quarterfinal.
With only the top 8 left in the 1st single elimination it was the end of the day and could enjoy a relaxing evening at the Melia Gorriones Hotel which is right on the beach.
Day-2 started at 11.45 and the remainder of the single-elimination battle was ON. I was ready to fight my way further up the ladder and was happy I could advance over Steven into the semi-final against the upcoming freestyle talent Jacopo Testa from Italy.
The real work started in the final against 7 times Worldchampion Gollito Estredo.
As expected the winners’ final produced plenty of fireworks with both Gollito and Vrieswijk producing an outstanding aerial display, while also landing the latest combinations as the action went off. Both sailors nailed backloops and spock culos in an evenly matched affair, but it was Gollito who came out on top in their opening clash of the season as he landed an air chachoo, shuvit cheeseroll and shuvit forward loop to gain the upperhand. Even a signature double air culo from Vrieswijk couldn’t prevent the 7-time world champion from winning the single elimination, as crucially, the 21-year-old was missing a move on port tack.
A hard lesson, missing one move, but in the heat of the moment……
Podium single-elimination 1. Gollito Estredo 2. Myself 3. Jacopo Testa and in 4th Yentel Caers
Right after the single elimination the double started with man on man heats. The first round was done before the day was over.
Day-3 Two more rounds were sailed , and everybody was sailing on a very high and tight level. This took all day and with the ladies running their heats in between I had a lay-day and could enjoy the freestyle show knowing that I had to give all the next day.
Team SEVERNE SAILS
After seeing al lot of guys fighting their way back up in the remainder of the double elimination it was JP-Teammate from Belgium Yentel Caers who advanced over JacopoTesta for 3rd and 4th place. Unfortunately Yentel injured his leg at the end of his heat and could not race against me for 2nd or 3rd place. I hope he will have a speedy recovery. The unfortunate accident with Yentel made me go through to the final automatically. At 17.30 on the penultimate day the men’s winner final started and it again was tough battle.
Gollito versus Vrieswijk is turning into the biggest rivalry in freestyle windsurfing and both sailors continue to raise the level as they continually push each other. The two of them produced another scintillating final today, but despite his best efforts, the Bonairean couldn’t deny the Venezuelan the opening victory of the season as the 7-time freestyle world champion makes the perfect start to his title defence. Both landed some massive moves with backloops, pushloops, air chachoos being thrown down as well as some crazy combos, but crucially Gollito exited his maneuvers cleanly, while Vrieswijk was left counting a wet air kabikuchi, while he couldn’t quite land his double air culo. So, it is advantage Gollito in the race for either 9 world titles or 1 world title.
It was close but just not enough. With the extremely high level of all sailors I’m proud to finish the Fuerteventura Freestyle Worldcup in 2nd place.
A huge congratulations to my amigo Gollito Estredo for winning and Yentel Caers in a solid 3rd place.
Also important to mention that in the Ladies devision Sarah Quita from Aruba won her 10 World-tilte with only 1 point against Maaike Huverman from Holland. Also the ladies pushing their limits and their level is rising.
Some fun activities were plannend as time was to short to start a whole new elimination. By the end of the afternoon the event -ceremony was held at the Carpa .
For the freestylers the event was over. Only 4 freestylers also registered for the slalom discipline. Taty Frans, Aron Etmon , Beholz and myself switched from high moves to high speed !!
The Fuerteventura conditions are not only challenging for freestyle but also in for slalom-racing.
58 slalom-riders registered to race against each other in the howling wind in front of the Rene Egli Windsurfcenter at Sotavento Beach. I think Fuerteventura is the most difficult and challenging slalom-event on the tour. With no good results in the past ( 2014, 44th – 2015, 40st and in 2016 a 50th place ) it was time to step up the game.
Elimination 1 , I could make it into the quarterfinal but unfortunately crashed.
Elimination 2. Just missed out to advance into the quarterfinals again
Elimination 3. I had a bad start and while racing the course I saw Ethan Westera ARU-4 and Dupont F-972 collide. Ethan was badly injured and I stayed with him until the jetski came to pick him up. He injured his leg with a very bad cut by a fin and needed surgery in the hospital. I hope to see him back on the water soon.
Elimination 4. Started for me in Heat 1. finishing a solid 2nd place, in heat 5 a 3rd place and back into the quarterfinals again. In heat 9 I could sneak into a 4th place and could race a semifinal . Really happy with that.
The semifinal went pretty ok, but just missed out for a winners final. In the Runnersup final I ended in 5th and got myself a nice 13th place overall in elimination 4 .
Elimination 5. Jordy Vonk passed me only a few meters before the finish line in the quarterfinal . Bad luck and a good fight back from Jordy Vonk NED-69.
Elimination 6. Heat 7. Finished in a first place. My best heat ever so far, start, gibes and speed went perfect on the JP-Slalom 60 and Severne Reflex8 6.2.
Another go in the quarterfinal, but with some trouble at the last mark no advancing for me .
At this stage I was in 24th position overall, and very satisfied with that result.
Elimination 7 was no lucky seven. Not for me, as I got kicked out in the second round as I got obstructed at the second mark and lost speed and a qualifying position. And for sure no lucky seven for my friend Taty Frans who reached the winners final but crashed hard into Pierre Mortefon. Taty was rushed to the hospital and I joined him to help wherever possible. Luckily he didn’t need surgery at his leg where the fin cut him deep. He got stitches and late at night we could return to the hotel after finding some food in town as the hotel-kitchen was already closed.
The last day the wind was playing . With the wind conditions very gusty elimination 8 was on and of but had some great heats and even made it in the semifinal for the second time this slalom-event.
The heat got cancelled when we were half way through the course but restarted soon after again. Than as they called it, I jumped the gun together with two other riders. Crossed the startling overearly and got a 16th place.
Event result : 23rd place (very good improvement)
The JP-slalomboards together with the Severne Reflex8 sails work perfect. Not only in normal slalom conditions but also in the howling winds of Costa Calma.
Congratulations to the winner Antoin Albeau F-192 , in second Iacino Matteo ITA-140 and Ross Williams BGR-83 in 3rd.
What a 10 day event it was. With lot’s of ups and also downs, seeing 3 friends get injured. I hope Yentel, Ethan and Taty are recovering well and hope to see them soon on the water again.
For now time to relax with friends in Holland and off to Switzerland.
The 40st anniversary of the Engadin Wind at Laka Silvaplana from August 14 – 20. info via : http://www.engadinwind.ch
Thanks to the event host Rene Egli Windsurfcenter, to Hotel Melia Gorriones, all local sponsors, the PWA-crew for the awesome 32. Fuerteventura Worldcup
To my sponsors, family and friends for the great support !!
Hasta la Vista Fuerteventura, until next year !!