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Henri-Lloyd - For the Obsessed

2024 Spicare Omaezaki Japan World Cup - Day 2

by International Windsurfing Tour 20 Feb 06:47 PST 19-25 February 2024
2024 Spicare Omaezaki Japan World Cup © Harry

After a massive day of over 10 hours of competition at the Spicare OMaezaki Japan World cup, Bernd Roediger and Motoko Sato have emerged victorious in dramatic finals.

Competitors were met with solid, mast high swells, combined with moderate, cross-onshore, starboard tack wind. It would be a battle of the Hawaiian based, starboard tack specialists, versus the European onshore specialists, versus top Japanese shredders.

Eventual champion, Bernd (Hot Sails/Hawaii) was the only person to win every single heat he was in. He impressed all day with natural flow and a considered technique to stay especially high on the wave face to maintain speed and find rapid fire sections. But he had to pull multiple hail Mary's to win both the semi-final and final in a dramatic finish to the end of both heats. His first gripping save was in the final minutes of the semi-final, where he lifted from third to first, with a series of fast lip smacks and progressive style on only his third wave of the heat. Progressing to the final, he started in a relaxed and playful mood, seemingly enjoying whatever the wave offered and keeping busy, rather than just waiting for only the major sections to appear. As the heat progressed, he then focused more on finding the really critical sections and was well rewarded with a 5.67 when he pulled off one of the biggest hits of the day on a near mast-high section.

With 2023 World Champion, Marcilio Browne (Goya/Brazil), in the lead when the final buzzer sounded to end the heat, Bernd pulled off his second hail Mary move of the day. Finding rare sideshore style speed, he pulled fast paced lip hits with a dramatic, low-wind goiter on the inside reform that kept the audience on the edge of their seats, as he used whatever remaining strength he had to pull it out of the white water for a completion. Earning a near excellent 7.5 for such a difficult move in the conditions, Bernd moved ahead of Marcilio for the first time in the final to win the event.

"I'm notorious for giving people scares like that. It definitely has to do with a feeling you get. You feel the wave is out there, you just have to wait for it to come. And I felt like something good was going to happen to me today," Bernd said smiling. "When I caught that wave, I knew it was a good one. Everything changed. Suddenly the wind had clicked a couple of degrees more sideshore, the wave was clean and it just made it easy."

Marcilio had been another stand out of the day, starting round one with a near excellent heat total of 15.67 and looking like he was the one to beat. Throughout the day, he continually found multiple opportunities to mix up backside cut-backs with fast, powerful frontside hits and even the occasional aerial. In a stirring loss, Marcilio led the entire way through until the buzzer sounded and looked unbeatable for the majority of it. He consistently used fast paced, multi-directional, critical moves to make the most of what the wave offered, and did so with superior speed, power and flow. But, unable to bring in his usual aerial rotation moves, he finished with a heat total of 12.10, just one point below Bernd. A remarkably cheery Marcilio said, "Bernd rips and he always has something in the bag, so I knew it wasn't going to be over until it was over, and he did it. But second place is a great start of the year. I'm really happy and I'm looking forward to Chile and will hopefully get a good result there too."

Third place finisher, Victor Fernandez (Duotone/Spain), was another head turner of the competition, making the conditions look a lot less onshore than they were. He rode waves with speed, aggression and a snappy, off the lip style, despite acknowledging the day was "really hard, with big and challenging waves". With declining wind, he possibly struggled a little to maintain his momentum in the final, but still found a few good down-the-line waves with multiple sections.

Morgan Noireaux (Neil Pryde/Hawaii) had solid momentum in the lead up to the final, with the highest score of the semi-finals. With his usual impeccable timing, he excelled at finding larger, solid sections to hit with power and was one of the few successful riders to consistently pull off a more committed down-the-line approach. However, whether luck, tiredness or a dropping wind factored in, Morgan just wasn't able to find the same quality waves that he had earlier in the day and finished in fourth place.

The women's final was a tight battle between the top three, with all finalists impressing throughout the entire event. But local favorite and last year's winner, Motoko Sato (Severne/Japan), proved too strong and again, took out the win.

Motoko was a little more selective than most, but managed to find the wave that made the difference after the halfway mark in the final. Reading the conditions well, she used a good mix of frontside lip hits and backside snaps to win. "I'm so glad to win, I'm thrilled to have all the riders from all over the world," an ever polite Motoko said.

Runner up, Sarah Hauser (Goya/New Caledonia) used her wave prowess to stay high on the wave face and hit critical sections with power. But the Hawaiian based rider couldn't quite link enough multiple turns together in the beach break setting.

World number four, Maria Andres (Duotone/Spain), consistently looked to be a major threat, powering her way through heat wins all day until the final. On her best waves, Maria maintained good speed throughout her turns and impressed with good wave selection and some strong frontside turns.

Upcoming junior star, Maria Morales Navarro (Goya/Spain) picked some bigger waves throughout the day and rode well, despite her limited starboard tack experience.

Juniors and Masters are now the only divisions to be completed and may run tomorrow, or later this week depending on the rapidly changing conditions. Traveling competitors are now focusing on the second 5-star event of the 2024 world tour calendar in Chile, which runs from March 30 to April 12.

Pro Women Results

  1. Motoko Sato
  2. Sarah Hauser
  3. Maria Andres
  4. Maria Morales Navarro
  5. Natsuki Wakasa / Shoko Yoshioka
  6. Nozomi Sakai / Minako Mori
  7. Pro Men Results

    1. Bernd Roediger
    2. Marcilio Browne
    3. Victor Fernandez
    4. Morgan Noireaux
    5. Takara Ishii / Marc Pare Rico
    6. Ryu Noguchi / Robby Swift

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