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Gran Canaria Windsurfing Worlds 2022 - Spanish riders dominate in the world windsurfing qualifiers

by Tamara Ventura 14 Jul 11:49 PDT
Young Liam Dunkerbeck takes on veterans - Gran Canaria Windsurfing Worlds 2022 © Jesús de León

Local riders such as Philip Köster and Liam Dunkerbeck have excelled in the qualifiers held in Pozo Izquierdo, while other Spanish windsurfers are among the favourites for the podium, such as the Andalusian Víctor Fernández and the Catalan Marc Paré, who will face Köster in the quarter-finals.

From early in the morning, all eyes have been on Philip Köster from the Canary Islands, five times world champion, competing for Germany. The wind favoured him in the heats, in which he showed an incredible dominance, performing manoeuvre after manoeuvre, with the judges highlighting an almost perfect double forward, coming off a tweaked push loop. In his first run, Köster excelled with a double forward valued at 7.88 points and a 6-point back loop.

"It was a lot of fun, it's great to be back in this competition, although [the wind] was a bit light in the heat and it was a bit tricky, but I managed to do some jumps, I'm really happy," said the Vargas rider, as he came out of the water.

In the last heat against the Belgian, Dieter Van der Eyken, he scored the best jump so far with 8.50 points, another double forward of 4 meters high that also places him as the rider who flies the highest, leading the Red Bull Rockets men, a simultaneous competition that will reward the highest jump.

Another of the favourites with a good chance of success is the Andalusian Víctor Fernández, who knows the beach perfectly, having competed and trained on the island, in fact, he started his professional career in Pozo Izquierdo. The three-time world champion swept his heat against Frenchman Julien Flechet, getting a jump valued at 7.95 points and his best wave surfed with five points, which makes him one of Köster's main rivals in the men's category. Another Spaniard who will make it difficult for Köster will be the Catalan Marc Paré, known as the prince of the waves, a name he has proven with one of the highest wave catching scores (7.50 points) and with very well scored jumps as well.

Another of the most impressive heats was the one contested by 18-year-old Canarian Liam Dunkerbeck, in which he managed to beat Frenchman Antoine Martin by a few tenths of a second in the last two minutes, taking a risk with a double forward, although he also showed off with a "good frontside", according to the judges.

"It feels amazing to advance to the next round, I have no words to describe it," said the son of the 42 times world champion and competition organiser Björn Dunkerbeck. For his father, defeating Martin, a great opponent, is a big step for Liam. "Good job, Liam, very good job," said the windsurfing legend after finishing the heat. According to the World Cup organiser, the conditions are improving all the time, so it is possible to "do the double heats".

However, during the single heats held on Thursday, some Canary Islanders failed to win their respective heats, such as the rider from Pozo Izquierdo, Omar Sánchez, who came within a few tenths of another Spaniard, Miguel Chapuis. Among the local competitors, Marino Gil, originally from Agüimes, was just a few tenths behind the two-time world champion, the Brazilian Marcilio (Brawzinho) Browne. Another Spaniard who did not make it through his heat was Michael René Friedl Morales, who was up against Ricardo Campello (competing for Venezuela), a three-time Freestyle World Champion and the reigning champion in Pozo, making him one of the main favourites.

Currently, 18 rounds of the 25 scheduled have been held, in which the Gran Canarian Philip Köster (competing for Germany) and the Catalan Marc Paré have already qualified to compete in the quarter-finals and will face each other in their next round. The Frenchman, Thomas Traversa, has also qualified and will compete in the quarter-finals against the Brazilian, Marcilio (Brawzinho) Browne.

"We will have to wait to see the final rounds of Fernandez and Dunkerbeck in their last rounds to know if they will compete in the quarter-finals," commented Luis Escribano, the competition's main judge.

Celebrating the semi-finals and finals of the Windsurfing World Cup with music

In addition to the cultural and leisure activities planned in the programme, such as a guided tour of the Salinas de Tenefé with a tasting of local cheeses, there will also be the chance to celebrate the closing of the competition with the musical group I love pop and Killian Viera. This weekend there will also be concerts after the end of the last heats, specifically in Pozo Izquierdo with The papas and the Mojo, Aseres, LaCapria, before the closing ceremony and the awards ceremony, scheduled for 6 pm on Sunday.

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