by Chris Yates
The opening day of the 25th PWA Pozo World Cup saw sailors registering for the upcoming six days of competition between 10:30am and 11:30am. With a bustling atmosphere, the crowd and sailors gathered for the opening ceremony before the skippers’ meeting was held at 1pm. With the conditions being unsuitable at one o’clock the sailors remained on hold until 4pm, unfortunately at this point the wind disappeared almost entirely and as a result the day the was drawn to a close.
Opening day - 2013 PWA Pozo World Cup
Although there was no official competition completed today the crowds and other sailors were treated to some super smooth freestyle wizardry from the five time PWA Freestyle world champion - Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / Gaastra / Mystic / Chris Benz / Maui Ultra Fins) - as the Aruban gem rotated through air flakas, Konos and culos to name a few.
The 2013 Gran Canaria crew all set for action - 2013 PWA Pozo World Cup
As many of you will probably be aware this year will see twelve sailors competing for the remaining six spots in the overall thirty-two man draw. The opening heat will see Alessio Stillrich (Fanatic / North), Tuomo Naalisvaara (Starboard / Severne), Florian Jung (RRD / Gun Sails / Maui Ultra Fins) and Marcus Rydberg (Hot Sails Maui) all going head-to-head for the top two places. Heat two will feature Jonas Ceballos, Christopher Friis (Simmer), Jose ‘Gollito’ Estredo (Fanatic / North), Moritz Mauch (Fanatic / North). The remaining qualifying heat will see Eleazar Alonso Sanchez (Tabou / Gaastra), Martin Ten Hoeve (Goya Windsurfing / Point-7), Justin Denel (RRD), Kevin Mevissen (Quatro / Goya Windsurfing) all battling it out for those crucial top two places.
With the trials being a popular topic of debate we caught up with a couple of the sailors involved in the qualifying heats before the conclusion of the first day.
First up young Danish wave head Christopher Friis - who finished 25th in Pozo last year: 'It’s not ideal (to be competing in the trials) but I guess it’s necessary for the contests. I think after the first event here with the top thirty-two competing it will become clearer who should be competing in the trials, and who deserves to be in the top twenty-six on merit. I’ve spent the last three months in Tenerife - after training in Cape Town - but the wind hasn’t been the best, especially in the first two months.'
Waiting for wind - 2013 PWA Pozo World Cup
Next up was one of the most exciting youth talents on the tour, Alessio Stillrich. The eighteen year old Spaniard has already shown that he has the potential to compete with the best in the business having claimed thirteenth place in both Pozo and Tenerife in 2012.
'I wasn’t able to train much this winter as I have been studying a lot due to finishing school this year, but the wind wasn’t that great this winter on Gran Canaria anyway. It would be perfect for me to make it through into the main draw, anything can happen but I think and hope that I will pass into the first round.'
Finally, we caught up with another very talented youngster - Pablo Ramirez (Goya Windsurfing / MFC) - who like Stillrich is one of the new generation of wave sailors coming through the ranks in Pozo. The seventeen year old faces a tough opponent in the form of Adam Lewis (Patrik / Point-7) in the first round: 'As Alessio already mentioned the wind wasn’t that great here this winter, but I was still doing a lot of training in the gym in order to keep fit. Then every time there was some wind I was always windsurfing and constantly trying to improve my level. I think I faced him [Adam Lewis] in Tenerife, where he won, hopefully this time around it will be different ha!'
Tomorrow’s forecast is very similar to todays, but as Pozo has shown in the past anything can happen here with the local effect, so we remain optimistic of starting the competition. With this in mind the skippers’ meeting has been called for 10am with the action commencing from 10:30am, if conditions allow.
PWA World Tour website
Gran Canaria Wind and Waves Festival website