All Photos PWA/ Carter.
September has been about as busy as it gets for a professional windsurfer; back to back events in Brazil, Sylt and Tiree to end the 2007 season.
Brazil was a new location on the tour and everyone was pretty excited about the prospect. The event was to be held in Kauli’s front garden on the island of Ibiraquera in the south of Brazil. The contest started with some really fun conditions: port tack, side shore and nice, fun sized waves. I had a difficult job in the single elimination - Brazilian local wildcard and good friend Konan Lang, then Brazilian wonder kid Marcilio Browne followed by Kauli at his home spot! I made it through the first two but Kauli was too much and he put an end to my run. In the double elimination I lost on a split decision by 0.5 of a point. To make it even harder to swallow the judges had crossed off half a point from one of my jumps. In contest these little things happen a lot. When they go your way, you forget about them. When they go against you, you remember them forever! But 13th place at least gave me some prize money.
Super Light Sylt
From Brazil it was a long two day journey home to England for around 20 hours then off to the next event. Sylt is always a lot of fun with loads of spectators and some great party opportunities, but unfortunately not much in the way of wind. For the men it ended up with a no show in the waves, but the ladies got some early morning wind and best of all Nayra won her first ever PWA wave final! The conditions were extremely tricky but also right up Nayra’s alley; cross onshore, port tack and wave riding only. It’s what she loves, what she is best at and she put on a great display to win convincingly. It then became a long tense week with some pretty mixed emotions. On the one hand I wanted wind to compete but on the other hand I was quite happy for no wind as it would mean Nayra would win without having to sail again. In the end it’s all out of our control and despite the wind doing its best to blow on the last day it was never quite enough to compete. So Nayra took the victory and the men had no result.
It was another story in the other disciplines however. The freestyle came down to the wire with Brawzinho (Marcilio Browne) taking the world title in the last minutes of day light. Poor Kiri (Thode) who was in the lead at the beginning got taken out by his own cousin Tonky Frans and finished a disappointing third whilst Gollito took second overall. The racing was more of a formality as Antoine Albeau had won the title before he even turned up, but he still went on to win the event just to prove a point.
After Sylt it was another long mission to the Isle of Tiree in Scotland. For the UK guys there was a warm up UKWA event before the much hyped PWA World tour final. Unfortunately the travelling proved too much for me and I came down with a nasty flu. The first day of the UK event I tried to fight through it and survived the first round making it into the top 8. However the next day I was destroyed and after getting a heavy dose of medication from the doctor I had three days in bed unable to move. It meant I had to forfeit the UK part of the contest in the hope that I would be better by the time the PWA kicked off.
Luckily conditions didn’t turn up in Tiree until the final day of the PWA event which meant I had nearly 10 days to recover and I needed every day! Many others went down too, with both a flu virus and a stomach upset going through the fleet with no remorse. It was a frustrating week as the wind was always promising to provide the goods and the forecast looked perpetually optimistic. However each day would dawn without the promised wind and it turned into a very long waiting game.
Eventually the conditions turned on for the last day; very light winds but good waves and enough for a riding only contest. With long heats a necessity, it meant that we ran out of time before we could finish the full single elimination. However it was enough to get a top 16 result and that top 16 included me. I beat UK wildcard Martin “gopher” Francis in the first round and then Jonas Ceballos in the second. Next up was Victor Fernandez but unfortunately as we sailed out for the heat the wind dropped to absolutely nothing.
Still I was pretty happy with the result as the points were enough to move me up to 15th overall in the 2007 wave rankings. Finishing inside the top 16 gives you free accommodation and also increases the chances of an automatic bye into the second round. It’s well worth having. However despite being happy with the result I know it could easily have gone a lot better and next year I really hope to push a lot higher up the leader board.
So now with the PWA tour over I have one last UK contest at West Wittering before I head off to Maui to train for next year. Hopefully I will also get some fun UK conditions in the meantime. It’s been a while since I had a nice south coast day so fingers crossed for some dartboard lows!!!