2017 PWA Wave World Tour Set to Explode into Life
The wait is finally over after months of waiting… it’s time for the first wave event of the 2017 PWA World Tour and Pozo Izquierdo will once again play host to the most radical sailors in the world over the next 7 days for the Gran Canaria Wind & Waves Festival (9th-15th July).
Pozo Izquierdo is internationally famed in the windsurfing world due to its unrelenting wind and steep waves. The combination of these two factors creates the perfect playground for the world’s most extreme sailors to defy gravity and perform the biggest stunts on the planet. The local effects mean that even the slightest breeze can soon be accelerated to nuclear strength, with the wind peaking at around fifty knots. Don’t be surprised to see even the biggest guys reaching for the smallest equipment available, as Pozo looks to separate the men from the boys and the women from the girls.
Reigning World Champion - Victor Fernandez
Ones to Watch
Iballa Moreno (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins) has won the Women’s PWA Wave World Championship for the last 3 seasons, but even so, it will be her sister Daida Moreno (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins), who comes into the opening event of the season as the favourite.
The legendary Moreno twins have dominated for the last two decades and Daida has only lost once in Pozo in 16 years making her a formidable, almost unbeatable force. In recent years Daida has often won the contest with her spectacular jumping proving to be the difference, while Iballa has tended to gain the upper hand in the wave riding department, so it will be intriguing to see who gains the advantage in the opening bout of the year.
Reigning World Champion Iballa Moreno: “The last few months I’ve been traveling on tour for SUP competitions but I feel ready to have some fun in Pozo! I have a feeling this year we will have strong winds and great conditions for the first stop of the tour! I’m looking forward to it!”
The Moreno twins are an intimidating force, but Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / NeilPryde / Maui Ultra Fins) seems to thrive in the competition arena and already showed last year that her wave sailing is progressing at a rapid rate as she caused a major upset by defeating Iballa in the semifinals to earn second place. Whether Offringa can step up to that level again this year remains to be seen, but one things for sure she isn’t scared to put up a fight against the Moreno twins and there could be further upsets on the cards.
Unfortunately, the opening event of the year has come too soon for last year’s world No.4 - Amanda Beenen (99NoveNove / Point-7) - who is still recovering from the broken ankle and knee ligament damage which she suffered during the off season. Everyone from the PWA wishes Amanda all the best as she continues her rehabilitation.
With Beenen out of the contest and the late news that Steffi Wahl (Patrik / Sailloft Hamburg) will be absent from proceedings that really opens up the draw for the likes of Lina Erpenstein (Patrik / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins), who is an exciting emerging talent. The 20-year-old finished 6th overall in 2016 and will be looking to build upon that over the course of the season and with last year’s 4th and 5th place women out of the contest she will now fancy her chances of breaking into the top 4 or 5.
Nayra Alonso (Fanatic / Severne) is also back in the lineup and as a former top 3 sailor, she certainly can’t be ruled out from making her impression felt. Elsewhere, if Justyna Sniady’s (Simmer / Simmer / Mystic) foot injury doesn’t prove too serious then she will also be a danger, while you can also expect to see the likes of Italian’s Caterina Stenta (RRD / RRD Sails / Maui Ultra Fins) and Nicole Bandini (Fanatic / NorthSails) and Holland’s Arrianne Aukes (Fanatic / NorthSails / Maui Ultra Fins) making inroads.
The main change the men’s competition is that for the Canaries leg of the tour the fleet size will return to 48-man fleets - rather than 32-man like the last few years - which means there will be no trails for this year’s contest.
Last year Victor Fernandez (Fanatic / NorthSails / Shamal Windsurfing) lit up the world with his dynamic array of jumping and wave riding, which deservedly earned the Spaniard his second world title as he added to his sole world crown from 2010. The 33-year-old kicked off last year’s campaign with an inspired display which saw him cause a major upset as he took down local hero Philip Köster (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins) with an extremely polished display. As the reigning event and world champion, Fernandez will enter the first event of the year as favourite and you can expect to see more supremely smooth and perfectly executed moves as he looks to make a positive start to his title defence.
Can Köster Return to his Best?
All eyes will be on former 3-time world champion - Philip Köster - who will be making his first appearance since rupturing his cruciate knee ligament in September last year. The German has been preparing for the start of the GCWWF, but it remains to be seen whether he will immediately have the confidence to charge as hard as he did prior to injury. If he’s truly back to 100% fitness then he’ll obviously be one of the favourites for the title on his home waters.
Other favourites for the opening event of the year would have to include the likes of Marcilio Browne (Goya Windsurfing), who recaptured his best form last year as he returned to the overall podium for the first time since winning his first wave world title in 2013. The Brazilian looks to be on fire in his latest videos from Pozo with perfect doubles, pushloops forwards and aggressive wave riding and if everything clicks into place he’ll be a serious contender.
Alex Mussolini (RRD / RRD Sails) put together another title challenge last year but just fell short as he finished as the vice-world champion. The Spaniard is never too far away from the action and has finished 3rd and 4th here in 2015 and ’16. He together with former teammate Thomas Traversa (Tabou / GA Sails) can never be ruled out even though this may not be either of their strongest events - as perfect double forwards are now almost a prerequisite for challenging for the podium in Pozo.
Jaeger Stone (Starboard / Severne / SWOX / Shamal Windsurfing Sunglasses), who finished 3rd here in 2016 will also be a serious contender again. The Australian is so often one of the standouts with this explosive wave riding hard to rival, while he reportedly has his double forwards on lockdown which could make all the difference at the business end of the contest.
Elsewhere, Robby Swift (JP / NeilPryde / Mystic / SWOX) and Dany Bruch (Starboard / Flight Sails / AL360 / Shamal Windsurfing Sunglasses) both have excellent track records in Pozo and should be firmly in the mix, while Ricardo Campello (Point-7) has been pushing himself to the limit in preparation for the start of this year’s contest - culminating in some scary looking wipeouts but also some of the best pushloop forwards ever seen. The 31-year-old is yet to get his hands on the wave world title, but with his undeniable natural talent and radical approach, he is always one of the top contenders. If he can keep mentally focused then there’s no doubting he has all the skills required to win.
Word on the street is that local boy Alessio Stillrich (Fanatic / NorthSails) is ripping harder than ever and it looked as though last year he was already starting to figure out the winning formula, so the 22-year-old could be set for a breakthrough year. Keep your eyes peeled for him. Fellow local boy Moritz Mauch (Severne / Severne) is renowned for his wave riding capabilities, but it remains to be seen whether the obvious weakness in his jumping will let him down - especially with Pozo being a jump dominated spot. If the 21-year-old is able to stick some jumps then he may prove incredibly hard to defeat in the wave riding department with one-handed goiters, air takas and air 360s all seemingly on lockdown.
If Antoine Martin (JP / NeilPryde) is able to sail to his full potential and not go too crazy during his heats then the Frenchman will certainly be challenging for the top 5. The 23-year-old is one of the most fearless sailors in the world - pushing himself into double and triple pushloop attempts - while he has apparently added pushloop forwards to his repertoire as well. If he can land all of his best moves in a heat then he’ll be very difficult to stop.
Also keep your eyes peeled for the likes of Camille Juban (Quatro / Simmer) - 8th overall in 2016 - Leon Jamaer (JP / NeilPryde), who will a little bit more fortune whilst competing could go a long way, Adam Lewis (Fanatic / NorthSails / SWOX), Dieter van der Eyken (Starboard / Severne) and Jules Denel (JP / NeilPryde). Plus local Gran Canaria specialists Josep Pons (Simmer / Simmer), Dario Owed (99NoveNove / Challenger Sails / Maui Ultra Fins), Aleix Sanllehy (Tabou / GA Sails), Omar Sanchez (Carbon Art / KA Sail) and Pablo Ramirez (Patrik / Sailloft Hamburg).
Youth PWA Wave World Champion - Marc Paré (Simmer / Simmer) - also deserves a mention. The 18-year-old looks set for a bright future and although he only finished 28th overall last year, that really doesn’t give a fair reflection of his talent and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the young Spaniard pushing for the top 10 and beyond come the end of the week.
It looks as though the event will begin with a bang with the forecast looking windy from the word go, so make sure you tune intowww.pwaworldtour.com between the 9th-15th July to follow all of the radical action from the 2017 Gran Canaria Wind & Waves Festival live via the PWA live stream.
Schedule For Day 1: (All Times GMT+1)
- Registration - 8:30am-9:30am
To stay up to date with all the latest developments from Pozo — including the live stream, elimination ladders, entry list, images and live ticker simply click HERE and scroll to the bottom of the page.