Impressive windsurfing at the Maui Aloha Classic



Larouche in action. Image: Si Crowther/AWT

The action continued on a spooky Halloween Day 4 of the NoveNove Maui Aloha Classic. All things were a go from the start as the trade winds filled in like clockwork and the remnants of the last swell produced head to mast high waves. The day started with the rerunning of heat 10 of the women’s bracket with Offringa striking first and Hauser charging hard to advance over Alonso and Ward, who went on the rocks and hurt her ankle. The Ho’okipa rocks have claimed thousands of dollars’ worth of gear so far, but this was the first notable injury to report.

Larouche and Copas sailed neck and neck in the following heat to advance first and second, respectively. In the last heat of the round we had a good matchup with Reichman getting the first wave offering a decisive cut back along with a full bottom to top turn to score an 8.83. Fiona Wylde sailed well with good timing and style. Iballa Moreno took the heat and Reichman came in second on a tiebreaker with Wylde because of that first wave.

Head judge, Duncan Coombs, chose to alternate rounds with the men and women, but we will get to the men later. The first semifinal of the women had pumping mast high sets rolling through, and Hauser and Abbot each chose good waves to take out 2 former world champion sailors while advancing. The second semifinal was also action packed with Larouche and Iballa Moreno advancing. The final was set with a crew of local sailors, Larouche, Abbot, and Hauser, and the veteran PWA rider in Moreno.

The women’s final was put on after another round of men’s heats. With the waves still pumping we saw some really impressive riding. Unfortunately, Coombs made the call to end the heat early as the wind had dropped. We should see some good sailing from this group tomorrow that is worth tuning into the live stream for.

On the men’s side, the action started by finishing the second round, and with the winds shifting slightly offshore. Sanllehy dominated heat 34 and Skye threw a nice 360 at the end of the heat, both advancing. Next up the world title implications began with Fernandez taking on Campello, Faurot, and Denel. Fernandez struck first and had consistent long wave rides, but Campello was charging hard going big off the lip. After getting blown out the back on a big 360 attempt and an absolutely massive air taka attempt, he finished the heat with a big tweaked air to win it, with Fernandez right behind him keeping his world title dreams alive.

The first heat of the third round was one of the most exciting with Teboul, Roediger, Martin and Lenny going up against each other. Teboul’s surf style and vertical hits put him in control of the heat, but Lenny’s smart wave choice put him in the lead. Roediger had a good wave off the bat but needed another to get in the game. Fortunately for him, he caught a huge set wave at the buzzer to advance. Lenny’s impressive bottom turns, wave count, and consistent riding allowed him to snatch the advancement out from Teboul’s grasp.

In the following heat we had Stone and Swift both sailing well and aggressively to advance over a hard charging Mussolini. The next heat brought the world title back into the limelight. Fernandez put up a commanding performance along with solid sailing from Voget to advance out of a tough heat leaving Skye and Ezzy behind. The last heat of the third round had Campello riding with purpose as the wind continued to drop. Campello’s gouges and Guadagnino’s air and turn combinations allowed them to advance.

Each heat appeared to be a battle for the ages with amazing riders pulling out all the stops, and the next heat was no different. Lenny, Stone, Roediger, and Swift all were performing at a high level. Roediger pulled together an excellent first score with impressive top to bottom riding, finishing the wave with a crowd-pleasing goiter. Stone had a nice wave with a big tweaked air and Swift also got on the board. Lenny’s big wave selection, critically late hits, and well placed tweaked airs not only drew applause from the crowd, but also handedly put him through to the next round, with Roediger right on his heels.

The last heat of the day was on the water as the wind became lighter. Campello again was sailing with resolve along with his Venezuelan comrade, Guadagnino. Coombs made the call postpone the heat as winds were extremely light.

The 2015 NoveNove Maui Aloha Classic will be at it again tomorrow with some of the most significant heats of the contest so far. Major title implications are in play. On the PWA side Fernandez is in control of his own destiny but has to pull out all the stops to get through a double elimination with loads of impressive riders. The AWT title race is a fluid situation as well. With Boujmaa Guilloul going out earlier, he likely relinquishes his hold on the AWT championship. Camille Juban, currently ranked 3rd, has put himself in the best position to take the title as he can’t finish any lower than 5th. Kevin Pritchard, who finished the single elimination just missing the finals, has some work to do in order to overtake Juban. Pritchard is one of the more consistent sailors and has what it takes to make it to the final round.

All riders should report to the event site at 10:30 AM for the skippers meeting and spectators will not want to miss the end of the men’s double elimination as Noireaux makes a bid to be the first to win back to back Aloha Classics. Also, the women’s single elimination final will be an entertaining battle. All eyes are on Ho’okipa to see who will rise to the top.

Source: American Windsurfing Tour