The Long and Windy Road
Summer time means Canaries time and like always I headed out to Gran Canaria at the beginning of the summer.
The great thing this year was sailing with 14 year old Philip Koester. With my girlfriend Nayra I always end up sailing Vargas rather than Pozo. Firstly it is generally better, and secondly all her friends are there. Philip literally lives on the beach at Vargas so I have watched him grow up and each year get better and better. By the end of last year he was sailing incredibly well. This year though he was at another level; doubles on every run, some off chop and in pretty light winds. Super tweaked table top pushies (again off chop) and again in whatever wind there was. Backside 360’s and shakas all day long, with one-hand off most of the time. You get the picture!
The great thing for me was that obviously I had to step it up a notch. Normally I wouldn’t be throwing doubles that often when free sailing, but when Philip has landed ten in front of me already, there is no excuse. Pretty much whatever I did he would do it better, meaning I then had to go higher or more tweaked. On the one hand very good for the motivation, but on the other very de-motivating as he nailed the sickest stuff right in front of me. Still it is about the best training for the Pozo event that you can get.
Probably the biggest thing for me this summer was changing sponsors. After many years on F2, the time came to change and I am super happy with RRD. I tried their 74 Wave Twin before I made any decisions and it blew me away how good it was. Right from the beginning it just felt really comfortable and easy to use. In the end I signed with them just a couple of days before the Pozo event and literally picked up my new boards the day before. Both the 74 Wave Twin and the 70 Wave Cult HC were so nice, so at the moment I am really happy. I should get all the rest of the boards any day now and can’t wait; it will be like Christmas come early.
I don’t know why but Pozo always seems to be a disaster for me. The more time I spend in the Canaries, the better I get on port tack but the worst I seem to do at the competition and this year was really frustrating. In my first heat I lost to Klass Voget on a split decision by one point. This is frustrating at the best of times, but when the whole beach said you won for sure it makes it even harder. Then in the double, after passing a couple of heats, I had the same thing against Taboulet. 2:1 with the judges and even the Frenchy support team saying I won. All in all very frustrating and with Guincho cancelled there is little chance to make a comeback for the end of season overall ranking.
But the nice thing was seeing Nayra and Philip do well. After her foot injury Nayra has hardly sailed and we weren’t even sure she would compete. In the end she made the semi finals and although she dropped to 5th in the double it was still a really good performance.
Philip had a really good run before meeting Victor in the quarter finals. He put up a pretty good fight, but Victor is unstoppable at Pozo at the moment. I think though if he hadn’t met Victor so early he could have gone along way, maybe even to the final if things had worked out. It scares me to think how good he will be by next year. Remember he has only been sailing for three years!
The saving grace for me however was on the last day in the Super Session. Originally I hadn’t entered but when Ross Williams pulled out with a bad foot, I got his place and the best thing was it was against Philip, along with two others. This was probably the most fun heat I have done in years. I didn’t really care about the result, I just wanted to put up a good fight and in the end I sailed a blinder and not only beat Philip, but won the heat and went into the final.
The final, however, was all about Ricardo Campello. He was fully psyched to do a triple and in the end me and Victor were just sailing around watching him. The kid is nuts and full respect for even thinking about it, let alone trying it. Ricardo clearly won the super session, Victor got 2nd and I finished 3rd, ahead of Kauli in 4th.
After Pozo we did the usual thing and head across to Fuerte to chill out a bit and get some nice wave sailing in the North. Unfortunately although we had some good down time, I failed to get any sailing at all in the North. I was absolutely gutted as it really is one of the highlights of my year. Still the summer is not over yet so maybe I can return if the forecast looks good.
For now though I head to back to the UK to Newquay for one of my best friends Stag Night. I have known him for nearly 20 years but don’t get to see so much of him these days, so really looking forward to a good weekend; hopefully I might even remember it too!!