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Reflections On An Almighty 2007 PWA Season
photo Carter PWA
With the silverware all dished-out and the big names sent home to re-charge and reflect on their years work, the world of windsurfing can be proud of an impressive run of competition that pushed levels far beyond most peoples expectations.
All in all 6 world championship titles were settled in wave sailing, slalom racing and freestyle between the most talented men and women windsurfers on the globe.
The wave tour glittered brightly with three sparkling new additions to the calendar and 6 events in total.
The PWA World Cup Guincho Wave Contest 2007 – Portugal June 4th-9th
Portugal’s stylish Estoril coast welcomed the tour next and the seasonal ‘Nortada’ wind also greeted the women for their first competitive outing of the year.
In typical fashion Praia do Guincho once again delivered quality wind and waves to fully challenge the entrants.
In the ladies event 2006 World Champion Iballa Moreno (North) couldn’t quite defeat Karin Jaggi (F2 / north) in the semi-finals and had to settle for third after a loser’s final against Junko Nagoshi (F2 / Simmer), who lost on the other side of the draw against Daida Moreno (North). That meant there was another classic Moreno vs. Jaggi final in the fluky late evening conditions with strong currents hindering both riders.
Jaggi matched Moreno on wave scores but eventually it was Moreno’s jump scores, which won favor with the judges and earned her the opening victory of the season.
The 2007 Gran Canaria PWA Grand Slam – Canary Islands, Spain. July 9th-19th
Pozo Izquierda immediately served-up a feast of wind and swell for the single elimination of the wave contest. A truly groundbreaking day saw both the tour leader and the current world champion ejected from the ladder.
The women’s event was also marked a milestone in the sport. It takes more skill than ever before to compete at this level so, perhaps unsurprisingly; it was Pozo legends Iballa Moreno (North) and Daida Moreno (North) who emerged as the finalists. Both the twins ripped and threw double loops mixed with sick wave riding, but Daida Moreno took the victory after landing the first ever Pushloop-tabletop seen in a women’s contest.
The 2007 Colgate World Cup Sylt – Germany. September 21st-30th
Both wind and surf were scarce in Germany but a narrow window of wind and waves allowed the women a valuable chance to complete their wave sailing single elimination on day 4.
It was apparent from the early heats that careful wave selection would prove critical for success.
Cross-to cross-onshore wind from the left and punchy head high shore break waves gave the ladies the perfect canvass to showcase their skills. It also became clear early on that Spanish firecracker Nayra Alonso (Fanatic / Severne) was going to be a danger in these conditions, which were so similar to her home spot of Vargas.
The early heats progressed without drama until local favorite Steffi Wahl (F2 / Gaastra) caused a major upset when she defeated tour leader Daida Moreno (North) in round 2.
The second round also saw Alonso take her first major scalp in the form of Karin Jaggi who sailed to her normal high standards, but on this occasion was simply outclassed by Alonso who looked untouchable with her aggressive approach.
To maximize time in the fading conditions, the organizers opted for a 4-women final between Junk Nagoshi (F2 /Simmer), 2006 world champion Iballa Moreno (North), Alonso, and local favorite Wahl.
Alonso, aged 28, continued her good form in the final along with her fellow Gran Canarian rival Iballa Moreno.
Wahl was also looking dangerous but like Nagoshi her work rate was lower, and after Moreno fell a couple of times it wasn’t long before the onlookers were convinced they were seeing a well deserved victory.
Alonso’s vertical, destructive attack was unequalled and she took the win by a 6-1 verdict amongst the judges to make a valuable career-first event win. Iballa Moreno finished second and Steffi Wahl made her first podium appearance in third.
As Sylt marked the need of the wave tour for the women, and Daida Moreno was knocked-out, Iballa Moreno took the title for a second successive season. Daida Moreno finished in second overall with Karin Jaggi taking bronze.
Sadly the wind didn’t play ball for the men and the title race intensified for the final event in Scotland.
The Slalom series boasted no less than 3 women’s races, including an exciting new stop in Korea.
The 2007 Ulsan PWA World Cup – Korea. May 5th-12th
The colorful and explosive opening ceremony set the tone for a firecracker of an event on this, the PWA’s first visit to Asia in Ulsan, Korea. An incredible reception from the amazing local organization, and the event’s high profile in this region certainly helped the 2007 Slalom 42 tour open with a big bang.
From day one Jinha beach came up with the goods, immediately serving-up wind to get racing started as the battle for the €45K prize fund got underway. In fact good wind on the first 4 days allowed 10 women’s races in all.
Karin Jaggi struck a lethal blow to any pretenders in the women’s’ contest. With just one glitch on her scorecard for a premature start Jaggi steamed to victory in all of the remaining 9 races.
But the scrap for second and third place was certainly intense between Sarah Hebert (Starboard / Naish) and Ayako Suzuki (Starboard / Gaastra). The pair exchanged second and third places continuously and Hebert was sure to pounce and take a bullet in Jaggi’s absence after her disqualification from race 8.
Eventually Hebert accompanied Jaggi on the podium in second overall and Suzuki made Japan proud in third.
The 2007 Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam – July 20th-30th
The women were back in action alongside the men at the long-standing Fuerteventura event.
The maximum 15 races were run for both men and ladies and both fleets’ turned-out surprising results.
Women’s - With a fleet full of new faces and some tough competition from established competitors, Karin Jaggi (F2 / North) had her work cut out in the women’s fleet. But Jaggi proceeded to send out an early warning shot to any pretenders in the women’s fleet after taking 3 out of 4 race wins. At this stage both Jaggi’s podium rivals must’ve thought she was about to repeat her unassailable lead of Sotavento 2006. But the event would turn out to be the best women’s race event for years and involved a nail-biting final day decider.
After missing-out on Korea it was time for last season’s surprise package Valerie Ghibaudo (Tabou) to show up and make her presence felt. Also intent on spoiling the party where Iballa Moreno (North) and first-time racer Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / NeilPryde).
Despite Jaggi’s good start Ghibaudo clawed her way back into the gamer and the tow titans of women’s racing exchanged race victories, with Jaggi accounting for 8 wins and Ghibaudo crossing the line in first on no less than 6 occasions.
Jaggi topped the podium after a tense 15th and final race on the last day to more or less wrap-up the 2007 title with just one event remaining.
The 2007 Pegasus Airlines PWA World Cup, Alaçati – Turkey. August 13th-18th
Cesme province’s stylish coastal resort welcomed the PWA’s men’s and women’s fleets back after a joint sanctioned event with IFCA back in 2006. Now boasting full World Cup Status and impressive sponsors to boot, the stage was set for a fiesta of competition and music served parallel to the host nations Surf ‘n Sound festival.
Women’s - The Women’s event was always going to be billed as a mouth-watering match between Karin Jaggi and the resurgent Valerie Ghibaudo.
Jaggi’s last-gasp victory in Fuerteventura denied Ghibaudo the tour lead, but Ghibaudo’s lust for victory intensified after her performance in Sotavento to a totally new level.
Ghibaudo and Jaggi were fairly equally matched for speed, but the clear difference was in the Frenchwomen’s starting skill. If anyone thought Jaggi was letting someone else share the limelight they could not be further from the truth. This was evident as tension rose and Jaggi was forced to push the start, which resulted in two painful disqualifications.
Ghibaudo’s superior timing earned her 9 victories from the 15 races completed against Jaggi’s uncharacteristically meager 3 bullets.
The real excitement in women’s slalom are the contenders of the future with many young and exciting names rising to the fore, plus a wealth of local talent in the fleet. It was also pleasure to see Verena Fauster (F2 / Gaastra) recover well from surgery early in the season to finish consistently high enough to claim third overall.
Turkish TV celebrity Çagla Kubat (Starboard / North) may well show at more PWA events after her impressive 4th place finish which was grafted through speed and cunning turning skill to entertain the excited local crowds.
Ghibaudo’s victory in Turkey must have cut deep into Jaggi, but by the same token Jaggi will be amped-up and excited by the prospect healthy competition in the 2008 season already, plus she had the last laugh by topping the year-end podium once again.
The standard of freestyle seems to shoot through the roof each season. The level required to advance from even the first rounds is incredible and it is often said that any of the top 25 names could take an event win of they gained momentum through the ladder.
2007 also saw the newer limited 32-man format to intensify the competition even further. The ladies fleet was no-less cutthroat and the variety of conditions on tour certainly matched the variety of styles on the water.
The 2007 Costa Teguise Grand Slam – Lanzarote. June 30th-July 7th
Perfect freestyle conditions on day 1 meant there was no delay in getting the first double elimination of the year underway.
Daida Moreno (North) fended off the new wave of ladies freestyle talent despite the standard rocketing in the off-season. Aruban Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / NeilPryde) sealed second place after halting Laure Treboux’s (Naish / Naish) remarkable fight back in its tracks.
Moreno was also using the sizable ramps on the Las Cucharas reef to her advantage as the younger girls focused more on technical sliding tricks.
A second single elimination was started on day two with big swell still sweeping through the course area.
In the women’s final Moreno fell a fair bit leaving Offringa to punish her with her impressive array of the latest switch-stance tricks.
Sarah-Quita Offringa and Daida Moreno met once more after Treboux failed to barge her way into the final. Offringa made it 1-1 between her and Moreno with a solid heat as Moreno floundered and fell.
The women’s final between Daida Moreno and Offringa was unanimous in a 5-0 decision in Offringa’s favor. That settled the tie between her and Moreno and awarded Offringa the event win and the tour lead going into the next event in Gran Canaria.
The 2007 Gran Canaria PWA Grand Slam – Canary Islands, Spain. July 9th-19th
Pozo once again hosted a women’s only freestyle event. The off-the-wall conditions are unique and presented the ultimate test in both aerial and sliding trickery.
After days of racing and wave action the Women’s freestyle event finally got underway on day 4. Sarah-Quita Offringa struck early to take the event lead after a stunning performance against 2006 Freestyle world champion Daida Moreno in the first single elimination final.
Offringa was drawn early against last season’s impressive debutant Laure Treboux and survived to advance all the way to the final. Just like the wave event, this was a landmark in the women’s sport as the tricks witnessed in the finals smashed all previous barriers.
Lighter wind favored Offringa as she dealt with Moreno after completing moves such as air flakas, a switch-stance Chacho, a Funnel, and a Cana Brabu.
After struggling in the single elimination Iballa Moreno (North) dug deep and battled through shoulder pain in a gritty double elimination fight back. After no less than 6 consecutive heats her sister Daida halted Iballa’s assault on a place in the final.
In the final Offringa and Daida Moreno completed their familiar line-up here on the Moreno’s territory.
Daida came out of the blocks flying as Offringa fell a fair bit, and with home advantage showing, there was a re-sail to decide the winner under the double elimination system.
Moreno was perhaps over-confident in the re-match as she crashed many spectacular moves, as, with great support on the beach, Offringa’s composure blossomed, especially after a perfect switch-Chacho near the crowds boosted her to land everything and subsequently take the event lead.
Yoli De Brendt (Fanatic / North) came close to an upset against Daida Moreno in the early heats of the second single elimination. Her off-season training nearly paid dividends when she forced a tiebreak decision that edged the victory into Moreno’s favor.
It was also a day to remember for Japan’s Junko Nagoshi (F2 / Simmer). She turned heads when she elbowed-out tour leader Offringa in the second round. After the dust settled from the tough semi-finals the two finalists left standing were Daida Moreno and Laure Treboux.
Continuing the trend of the day it was another close call and a 3-2 decision from the judges that gave the Swiss freestyle specialist the win. Treboux successfully pulled a Puneta 540 and a one-handed clew-first Spock to impress with the technical difficulty scores.
Sarah-Quita Offringa launched a grueling 6-heat struggle back up the ladder in the second double elimination, but she finally fell exhausted at the hands of Daida Moreno.
Moreno marched onward into battle with smooth sailing Swiss stylist Laure Treboux. There was something different and more motivated about Moreno’s approach as she came out with all guns blazing to force a re-sail, whilst obviously loving the windier, wavier conditions.
Fierce conditions whipped the ocean at Pozo into a frenzy early in the morning of day 8 to spoil the party for the women’s freestylers. Even with sails as small as 3.0 the ladies were left with little flat water or any chances of control to exhibit their skills. Sadly the decision was made to cancel the final single elimination and so the event came to an abrupt end and allowing Daida Moreno to top the podium ahead of Offringa and Treboux as the ladies tour headed to neighboring Fuerteventura to hook up with the men for their second event.
The 2007 Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam – July 20th-30th
Daida Moreno (North) stood her ground to win the women’s final against a spirited performance from Sarah-Quita Offringa.
The final was certainly not as intense as the semis but the there was still a barrage of top-drawer tricks to be seen. Traversa fell a little more than the Brazilian youngster who threw down clew-first ponches, and ponch flakas amongst the standard repertoire the elite sailors all possess. The victory visibly helped the youngster find relief from all the pressure of expectation that’s heaped on his shoulders. The win also allowed Brawzinho to take a big step towards living up to the hype that surrounds him, on a day that cemented his footprint in windsurfing’s elite.
Women - The flatter water conditions brought the standard of the women’s competition to a higher level than earlier in the season. This was predicted to favor the freestyle specialists like Laure Treboux and Sarah-Quita Offringa, but no one expected Moreno to find the lack of ramps suitable for success either.
The first round heats inevitably favored the higher seeds but the going got tough in from the second round onwards. Things got serious at the semis though when world number 3 Laure Treboux was crushed by joint tour leader and 2006 world champ Daida Moreno. Treboux was billed as a hot-favorite here in conditions ideal for her style but Moreno found the smoother water to her advantage too when she showed she’s got more than just air-moves to brag about.
Offringa beat Alba fairly easily in the other semi with her wide range of switch moves and flakas. The final started out looking better for Offringa as Moreno fell a few times at the start. The 16-yr old Aruban was racking-up points but Moreno soon hit back and gained momentum. Neither competitor looked certain of victory before the prize-giving announcement, and Moreno certainly looked grateful for the win.
Yoli De Brendt (Fanatic /North) made a breakthrough in the women’s double elimination when she beat Iballa Moreno for a shot against the final four contenders.
De Brendt loved the flatter conditions, which were similar to her home spot in El Yaque, Venezuela. Margarita's top female competitor showed us a full range of switch before falling against Nayra Alonso (Fanatic / Severne) of Gran Canaria.
Alonso had stuck a solid 4-heat streak together beating Junko Nagoshi (F2 / Simmer), De Brendt and Silvia Alba before she finally fell exhausted at the hands of Laure Treboux.
Treboux reveled in the flat parts of the course, pulling clew first Spocks, Punetas, e-sliders and grubbies. After beating Alonso she challenged single elimination runner-up Offringa.
Initially the heat went Treboux’s way. She completed an E-slider, a Clew-first Puneta and a Grubby whilst Offringa completed a Flaka an E-slider and a Puneta too. Most people expected her to go for the Switch Chacho too but time ran out and the judges deemed she’d done enough to make the final against Daida Moreno.
The final opened up at a frightening pace. Both girls opened with one-handed Spocks and Moreno launched full pelt into high speed Flaka and a Clew-first Spock. Sticking to the windier parts of the course her assault continued. An E-Slider 540, a forward, and a one-footed forward all added to the sliding tricks and spelt disaster for Offringa who could only reply with a flaka and sketchier switch moves compared to her usual high standards. A unanimous decision from the judges awarded the 2006 champion the victory eliminating the need for a re-sail.
The first round of the second single elimination was started but abandoned, as the wind was just too light to continue.
Day’s 8, 9 and 10 tested all the competitors as Kalima wind snuffed-out the chance of further competition which left a windless Sotavento in baking temperatures. Eventually by mid afternoon on day 10 the event was called-off and the champions announced. Browne and Moreno were awarded their event crowns at the typical Fuerteventura party-tent closing ceremony. Moreno had wrapped-up another impressive world title and the men headed to Sylt to see if Estredo would fight back to re-claim his title or if someone else would emerge victorious.
No one could have predicted or even wished for a season of this magnitude and intensity. As the footage and word spread throughout he mainstream media the imagery windsurfing presents is of a sport re-born and emerging freshly into and exciting new era. Such inspirational sights will hopefully inspire new generations of champions and see the equipment developed to allow even more progress and evolution.
A short rest period precedes another mammoth schedule for 2008, which will contain even more exciting new tour stops.
You can review each event using our extensive video and photo galleries, read news summaries, browse the results and elimination ladders, swot-up on the stars using our profile biographies, stay up to date with the latest news on the pro scene daily and more at www.pwaworldtour.com
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Thanks for following the action with us. See you on the water.
© PWA Brian McDowell