Official PWA competition starts on Friday, but today is a day for practice and non-qualified sailors to gain a place in the main event.
There are 4 qualifying places available in each of the 3 disciplines (Jump, Slalom and Freestyle) so the heat is on today!!
Conditions on the pool are much the same as last year, but the noticible difference is the level of sailing which has taken a big leap forward, particularly in freestyle. Most men are on sails of around 5.3m , whilst the women are using 4.7m\’s.
Apparently UK Freestyle Champion Andy \’Bubble\’ Chambers is using a 4.7m to good effect (as he has just qualified for the main event) and Ben Proffitt, using a 5.3m simmer this morning is considering a 5.0m for the rest of the event – its windy!!
The fans are closer together this year which has made it slightly less windy at the \’windy end\’ of the pool. This is helping matters slightly with gybing in the slalom but making some of the freestyle moves a bit more tricky.
Slalom qualifying is now over and the 4 qualified sailors are: Matt Wemms, John Skye, Douglas \’Cheo\’ Diaz and Jose \’Gollito\’ Estredo.
Matt Wemms is looking one of the smoothest in the slalom qualifiers, managing to gybe smoothly at both marks and recording the second fastest time to Baker. Guy Cribb narrowly missed out on qualifying in the slalom, finishing 5th.
Freestyle qualifying is also now complete with the following four sailors gaining a place in the main event: Andy \’Bubble\’ Chambers, John Skye, Yannick Anton and Marcilio Browne.
Jump qualifying starts at 4:30pm this afternoon and we will bring you the results as soon as its done.
Whilst the qualifying has been on for the sailors who havent gained automatic entry for the event, the already qualified competitors have had a chance to practice and get used to the conditions.
In Slalom, Nik Baker is still the man!! To be honest, it looks like only bad luck will stop him winning again. This year he is using his old Bercy custom boards (sprayed up in synchro graphics). He along with all the other North Sails team have special twin cam indoor sails and cut down masts for extra stiffness.
In Freestyle, the main men look to be Nicolas Akgazciyan (pulling off a 1 handed shaka in practice!), Thomas Traversa (who looks super smooth with everything he does) and Jose \’Gollito\’ Estredo who landed a full planing shaka!! Riccardo Campello missed the freestyle practice, but did enough freestyle in his slalom heat to prove he is still a force to be reckoned with!!
Overall as Ricardo Campello is the only man in all three finals, we are presuming that the overall champion will be awarded to on the best two disciplines. Nik Baker failed to qualify for the freestyle and Kauli Seadi failed to qualify for the Slalom. If Jose Estredo and Douglas Diaz qualify in todays jump trials then they will also be able to challenge in all three disciplines after qualifying for the slalom last night.
If you are heading to the show, then be sure to check out the Spot on Water stand (E7006). They are flying the flag for windsurfing at the show, keeping everybody entertained in between pool sessions and have many of the top pro\’s hanging out on the stand during the day, ready to sign autographs and have a chat!! You can check out the latest show updates at www.spot-on-water.co.uk
Photo Credit: Jo Wilson