Kevin Mevissen - the Champion!
We couldn't resist - one more of Flessi
1. Kevin Mevissen (JP/Neil Pryde)
2. Bernd Flessner (F2/Neil Pryde)
3. Oisin Van Gelderen (JP/Neil Pryde)
4. Tine Slabe (F2/Naish)
Joint 5th Ben Proffitt, Phil Horrocks, Andew Eban, Robert Sand
Joint 9th John Hibbard, Simon Hurrey, Harry Voegelzang, Olle Engleberg, Andreas Olanderson, Gibert Preston, Matthew Swart, Roald Brosius
1. Nina Tjernberg
2. Laure Treboux
View inside line Movie
Although it was supposed to be a relaxed affair with some 'fun' competition, it was surprising how many Pros were really taking this event seriously. Maybe because the main brands had been informed and Team Managers were emailing their respective sailors wishing them luck/hope you do well...hint, hint.. especially with new season contracts yet to be signed! But also Big Bay was about to get the best conditions of the entire Cape Town season with a 6m swell forecast and the south-easter raring to go.
Thirty-six sailors entered and the competition got underway on the Friday afternoon in challenging conditions. Early standouts were Andrew Erban, Andreas Olanderson & Gilbert Preston.
But as the heats continued, the usual names came forward. Port tack specialist Ben Proffitt was getting some cool wave tricks and riding really aggressively. Simon Hurrey also rode well considering he sails on flat water for the rest of the year at Club Vass. Phil Horrocks had really good wave selection and was looking hard to beat until he came up against Oisin Van Gelderen who looked at home in these port tack monsters.
By dusk on Friday the men's fleet had got down to the last four: Oisin, Tine Slabe, Kevin Mevissen and the legend that is Bernd Flessner. Yes, Flessi was still in there despite being one of the oldest sailors on the water and not having the repertoire of 'new school' tricks, but boy does this guy know how to win a heat. He racked up the points with good wave selection and plenty of turns on each wave. The younger guys could have learnt a thing or two if they hadn't been too busy swimming for their kit after yet another wipe-out.
By dark on Friday, the organisers decided to send out the Ladies! Nina Tjernberg & Laura Treboux were sent out in mast high waves, light winds and near darkness. Talk about shark fodder! Nina got the edge over Laure which was a bit surprising from the beach where many thought Laure had won but she didn't get a jump so lost out on vital points even if she did get better waves.
No wind on Saturday, so come late afternoon on the Sunday the four remaining sailors went out in much easier conditions.
Kevin Mevissen had stated before the event to anyone who would listen that he was going to win it! This is typical of Kevin but this time he delivered the goods beating Tine Slabe in the semi to meet Bernd in the final after the big German won against the Irish Wave Champion, Oisin. Kevin then beat Flessi to do exactly what he said he would do!
I have been coming to Cape Town for the last five winters and I was really happy that the locals revived the Big Bay Classic. I am not really a wave rider, in competition terms, but as I really like to sail in Big Bay and I appreciated what the locals did, I decided to sign up. I was stoked to see the waves on Friday and I said to myself: “It was worth it to enter to have at least one ride alone in Big Bay with such waves!”
In the first heat I got out only once because of the light wind, but it was enough to win luckily. I had really no pressure, I was simply there to enjoy it and somehow I managed to win heat after heat and ended up in the top four! I was really happy about that. I was hoping, because I am a heavy guy, for strong winds for the final but my wish did not come true. In light winds and small waves I just couldn’t show much as I finished 4th, but I am still stoked about it if I check the names in the starting fleet!!!
The contest was very good. It was in 1993 that I sailed my last contest in Big Bay. The location is perfect for a competition and I really hope that we see an even bigger event in 2008. In my opinion, that would be the perfect place for a World Cup in slalom, wave and freestyle.
Onto the competition and the final with Kevin was not so good for me. The heats before, I found a lot of waves for jumping and waveriding but in the 8 minute final the conditions were pretty poor.
Anyway, I was very happy to compete in Big Bay again and really look forward to the next Big Bay Classic with even more competitors from over seas.
Oisin Van Gelderen:
Waggy from the BaySports shop told me about the event before we got to SA and informed me that he had already entered me into the event! It sounded like fun, and I thought it would be good to help support the local windsurfing scene. Finally, the opportunity to sail in uncrowded conditions at Big Bay would be worth the entry fee alone.
I was really impressed with the facilities at the new Big Bay Surf Club. It was great to watch the event between heats chilling out in front of the club. This place is perfect for an event and on the first day we even got some sick conditions.
Considering the fleet was packed with all the top Euros, I had no real expectations - I was just in it for the fun. As I had no pressure, I guess that helped me get through a few heats. My semi-final against Flessi was a shocker; not great waves and worse sailing from me but I managed to get back in the groove for the losers final against Tine and managed a few stunts. Hopefully next year there will be surf-slalom and freestyle too.
Oisin with the city of Cape Town in the distance