Fuerteventura Preview

Posted on Posted in Competition, Opinion, Training, Travel

The lead up to the PWA Fuerteventura Grand Slam. What’s it gonna take to win? Who’s hot? And live scoring.

Fuerteventura World Cup 2016 poster
Fuerteventura World Cup 2016 poster

2 weeks of warming up in Fuerteventura, and 2 weeks of sailing 4.5 or smaller. Sotavento has been delivering strong winds, but also very difficult conditions.

This is nothing new, as the competition here at the Rene Egli Pro Center always sees the world’s best battling it out in tough and extreme conditions. The winner is always a rider that can combine both radical moves and risk taking with consistency.

The wind has been from a more offshore direction than normal, making moves heading away from the beach more difficult. However, this does also create flatter water on the inside with big gusts. Some riders were using this to their advantage, particularly my house mates Steven Van Broeckhoven and Yentel Caers, both of which I’ve spotted doing moves like Air Funnell into Burner into Funnell. Both these guys have also been the only ones I’ve seen landing clean Shifty’s so far.

Secret training with Steven Van Broeckhoven on 2017 JP/Neilpryde
Secret training with Steven Van Broeckhoven on 2017 JP/Neilpryde

On the women’s side there is a resurgence of young talented competitors. At 18 years old Maaike Huvermann is ripping with Konos and Culos, and after a 3rd place finish last year she’ll be looking to upset Oda Johanne and Sarah-Quita Offringa. Sailing together with Maaike and improving on a daily basis are 16-year-old Lisa Kloster and 14-year-old Alexa Escherich. Perhaps not fighting for a podium this year, but keep your eyes on them in the future.

Life in Fuerteventura before the contest is similar to other years. We have been in a rented apartment in Costa Calma for the last 2 weeks. The daily routine is wake up at around 8am, have a relaxed breakfast, go windsurfing for about an hour and a half, return home at around noon for lunch, some computer work or chess, and then another evening session before going home for lunch. A big thanks Steven’s girlfriend Sveta Martynova, a really good windsurfer herself, who’s been keeping us fed and healthy. She’s not competing because they’re expecting a baby later this year.

Almost straight offshore here in Fuerteventura - thanks to Dieter Van Der Eyken for the shot
Almost straight offshore here in Fuerteventura – thanks to Dieter Van Der Eyken for the shot
Our Fuerteventura house plus Balz Mueller
Our Fuerteventura house plus Balz Mueller

On Wednesday we can move all of our equipment into the equipment storage tent on the beach, on Thursday all of us will move into the accommodation sponsored by the Melia Gorriones hotel, and on Friday the 22nd competition gets started.

My room mate Yentel Caers
My room mate Yentel Caers

With 5 days of competition we generally manage 2 full double eliminations, meaning the final result of the event is the average of a riders result from both eliminations.

We will continue using the live scoring system which I helped develop and programmed by Kurosh Kiani for the PWA. This will be the first time in freestyle windsurfing history that when watching the live stream you will know who’s ahead throughout he heat – no more waiting on results. Hopefully this will make it much more exciting to watch. I hope you enjoy it and share it so everybody knows.

Skopu next to the beach in offshore winds - photo by Tom Brendt
Skopu next to the beach in offshore winds – photo by Tom Brendt

The contest area will be smaller, and riders limited to 1 move on each reach. The judges score every move, and a computer automatically calculates their overall score as the heat goes on. Like always, the score is based on the technical difficulty of the move, the style/execution, and the variety of moves in the heat. We will continue using the best move format, meaning that for example the best 4 out of 7 moves counting on each tack. The head judge Duncan Coombs can change the number of attempts and moves counting depending on the conditions.

2016 Fuerteventura PWA World Cup Freestyle Entry List
2016 Fuerteventura PWA World Cup Freestyle Entry List

Last year I finished 7th here at the Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam. Seeing the level of all the riders here my goal is to get into the top 8 here once again. It will be a tough fight, and I’ll need to land my biggest moves without making mistakes, but it’s possible.

Don’t forget to tune in to the live stream starting Friday July 22nd until Tuesday July 26th to follow the action live!

Last day of Fuerteventura 2015: