Heavy rain greeted the competitors to start the first day of the Mondial du Vent PWA World Cup, but after registration had been completed between 9am-11am, the clouds soon cleared to allow a glorious sunny afternoon. With the wind remaining relatively light the decision was made to run the opening heat of the tow-in qualification, which kept the crowds gathered on the beach thoroughly entertained as they exploded into action.
The opening group of twelve sailors battled it out for the first six places in the tow-in final. Reigning world champion – Jose ‘Gollito’ Estredo (Fanatic / North / MFC) – qualified in first place with a great display as he was awarded 27 points out of 30 for an immaculate burner360. Each sailor was given three attempts to throw down their best move and Tonky Frans (Tabou / GA Sails) was the next sailor to advance alongside Adam Sims (Patrik / Sailloft Hamburg) with 21.5 points each. Claiming the remaining three spots in the final are fellow Frenchman Nicolas Akgazciyan (99NoveNove / Point-7 / AL360 / Maui Ultra Fins) and Antony Ruenes (Tabou / GA Sails) and finally Brazilian Hugo Sousa (RRD / RRD / Maui Ultra Fins).
German Freestyler Marco Lufen (JP / NeilPryde / Maui Ultra Fins) earlier gave his perspective of the event and also suggested a couple of sailors to keep an eye on from what he has seen so far:
“I arrived in Leucate on the 16th of April. It has been sunny and windy since then. Since the final announcement, 3 weeks has passed now and everybody tried their best to make the event happen here in La Franqui, despite it being so last minute.”
“We are all very happy that there is another event on the calendar and everybody is looking forward to compete. Talking about competitors…I saw quiet a lot of guys already.”
Balz Müller (Patrik / Severne) (THE ROCKET): “Balz has been here five weeks already. After his winter training in Cape Town he decided to prepare for the upcoming event in Podersdorf here in Leucate, which was supposed to be the first event of the season. I was sailing with Balz for two days now and it seems like he is in his best shape ever. Busting out big air moves on both tacks! I think we can expect something big from him!”
Yentel Caers (JP / NeilPryde): “The young Belgian stayed here for 3 weeks and without knowing that the event takes place he went back to Belgium, so he only returned 4 days ago to Leucate. Yentel is definitely in good shape and ready to kick some big names! He improved quiet a lot during his winter stay in Cape Town, training a lot with Steven Van Broeckhoven (JP / NeilPryde).”
“Hugo Sousa, Loick Spicher (Starboard / North), Davy Scheffers (Tabou / GA Sails), Youp Schmit (99NoveNove / Avanti), Nic Hibdige (Tabou / GA Sails) and Jamie Howard (JP / NeilPryde) all arrived yesterday to drop off their equipment in the riders tent. Most of them seemed to have a jet lag and went straight to bed after dropping off their stuff, so I did not have time to talk to them.
“The event itself seems so be pretty well organised! The promenade is full of promotion tents for French surf brands. The event has a small skatepark and a lot of action to offer for children, as well as for adults.”
“I was talking to Gerald Hugon, the owner of one of the biggest surf shops in Leucate “Windsurf Leucate” and he is very happy that there is an event at his hometown. It is a good promotion for the sport and especially for Leucate itself, as people mostly come there to windsurf, as it is known for its good winds. Mainly the Tramontana!”
“Speaking about wind, the forecast is changing everyday, and nobody knows what’s gonna happen, but I can tell you one thing…. Everybody would love to have the trademark wind, the tramontana, as then it would be flat like a pool and a perfect freestyle arena!”
The forecast looks light again for the tomorrow with winds from the east being predicated. However, many of the locals have suggested that the forecast isn’t particularly reliable for La Franqui and that even a no wind forecast can soon turn into a windy day, so you never know. The skippers’ meeting has been called for 10am tomorrow morning with the first possible start at 10:30am.
Source: Chris Yates / PWAWorldTour.com