Podium at Freestyle Crown

Posted on Posted in Competition, Latest News

The lightest wind of the winter plagued the 2016 El Yaque Freestyle Crown. Thankfully that didn’t stop either the Freestyle or SuperX competition from taking place.

2016 El Yaque Freestyle Crown on Isla Margarita, Venezuela.
2016 El Yaque Freestyle Crown on Isla Margarita, Venezuela.

With 12 freestyle competitors, half of them being PWA World Tour riders, it was clear the competition was tough. In the elimination ladder I was in the same heat as Gollito Estredo from the first round of competition, which meant no mistakes or second chances in any heat. To make it to the heat I would have to beat the 6 time World Champion.

El Yaque Crown Freestyle Elimination Ladder
El Yaque Crown Freestyle Elimination Ladder

Sailing on my Sailworks Revolution 5.0 and Flare Starboard Flare 103, the first rounds went well for me in which I defeated the up and coming “El Yaque Twins” Ram and Sai, as well as Loick Spicher from Switzerland to make it to the semi-final. In the semi-final heat I lost to Gollito. That meant I had to sail in the losers final, where I won against another local talent Bryan Comino to claim 3rd place.

Phil Soltysiak competing in the Freestyle Crown - Photo by Tom Brendt.
Phil Soltysiak competing in the Freestyle Crown – Photo by Tom Brendt.

I want to congratulate Bryan on his impressive windsurfing that day, where he sailed very well in one of his first ever competitions, defeating some experienced riders like Loick Spicher, Deivis Paternina and Cheo Diaz.

Straight after the freestyle we jumped into SuperX. It was my first time competing in the discipline, so I was a bit nervous having to jump over those “sausages”. Before the races, I went up and tried the double sausage jump on the first reach (see the SuperX map), and I’m not exactly sure why, but it was so much fun, that I couldn’t wait to start the race.

SuperX windsurfing course diagram
SuperX windsurfing course diagram

The race involved a slalom type start, double sausage jump, duck jibe, loop, sausage jump, duck jibe, spock, sausage jump, duck jibe, flaka, BIG sausage jump, duck jibe, spock and finish. First rider across the finish line wins. The wind was a bit on the light side and there was a lot of pumping to do, nevertheless it was lot of fun.

We only had 1 elimination, so 2 races for me. There were 16 riders split into 2 heats, with the top 4 advancing from each heat to the final. I won my qualifying heat without any major incident, however in the final race coming into the first double sausage jump I was in 3rd place, but almost neck and neck with Cheo Diaz who was in 2nd. Cheo clipped his fin on the sausage and went over the handle bars hard! Though he was right next to me, I managed to quickly avoid running him over, although by just a few cm. I skimmed right by him landing and jumping over the next sausage. I was left chasing Gollito to the finish line.

SuperX podium: 1st - Gollito Estredo, 2nd - Phil Soltysiak, 3rd - Duglas Salazar
SuperX podium: 1st – Gollito Estredo, 2nd – Phil Soltysiak, 3rd – Duglas Salazar

The event was a real fun way to wrap up my time in El Yaque for the year. Unfortunately after 2 weeks of searching and asking everybody I was unable to find ANY action pictures of the SuperX. Sorry.

At the moment I’m in Maui, shooting pictures with the 2017 Starboards and testing some of the new Starboard Flares, so check back soon for an update from Maui.