03.08.2019 - 12 Freestyle World Titles & Counting For the Queen Sarah-Quita Offringa, While Steven Van Broeckhoven Earns First Victory on the World Tour Since 2015

Finals day at the 2019 Fuerteventura PWA World Cup saw an explosive end to proceedings as the top 4 men and women left standing in the Freestyle Double Eliminations went all out in the pursuit of victory. In the women’s fleet, it was the usual suspects who prevailed, but in the Men’s fleet, it was another event filled with upsets, close calls, and colossal battles, with the finest of margins separating the elite of the Freestyle World. Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / NeilPryde / Maui Ultra Fins) reinforced her title as the Queen of Freestyle by claiming an incredible 12th Freestyle World crown, while Steven Van Broeckhoven (Starboard / Gun Sails / Shamal Sunglasses) became the first man to win a PWA Freestyle World Cup other than either Amado Vrieswijk (JP / Severne) or 9-time Freestyle World Champion - Jose ‘Gollito’ Estredo (Fanatic / Duotone) since 2016.
Sarah-Quita Offringa started the day knowing that she was potentially just 9 minutes away from an unprecedented 12th PWA Freestyle World Championship. The Aruban faced Maaike Huvermann (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins)in the double elimination final and the 28-year-old made no mistakes as she exuded her usual power, flow and style to earn an incredible 12th Freestyle world title and her 16th overall.
Huvermann continues to provide Offringa with a stern test each time they meet, but the 21-year-old hasn’t yet cracked the code to prise Offringa’s cherished world title away from her. The vice-world champion wasn’t a million miles away again after landing a sick skopu on the way out, but couldn’t quite land the burner she so badly needed on port tack and was therefore left counting a shuvit, which didn’t inflict enough damage against the Queen of Freestyle. Huvermann finishes 2019 as the vice-world champion for the 4th consecutive year.
Oda Brødholt (Starboard / Severne) successfully defended her third place from the single elimination by defeating Arrianne Aukes (Fanatic / Duotone / Maui Ultra Fins) in Heat 34 with the Norwegian producing an accomplished display. However, Brødholt was then clearly aware that she would need bigger moves in Heat 35 to defeat Huvermann and in her attempt to land a skopu she ended the heat with just two moves on starboard tack. The 30-year-old once again completes the women’s event and overall podium.
Over the last 5 days, Steven Van Broeckhoven (Starboard / Gun Sails / Shamal Sunglasses) has been in spectacular form with the Belgian showing off the kind of form that saw him crowned world champion in 2011. The 33-year-old set the highest score of the contest in the semifinal of the single elimination - 179.3 points - and in today’s final against Yentel Caers (I-99 / Point-7) SVB recorded the second highest score of the competition - 177.4 points - to earn a thoroughly deserved victory that no one can have any complaints about. Victory today marks Van Broeckhoven’s first win on the world tour since 2015 in Leucate, France, and sees him rise from 9th to joint 3rd in the world rankings with Amado Vrieswijk (JP / Severne).
Yentel Caers won 4 heats on the bounce yesterday and the Belgian continued his hot form today to move into the podium positions after defeating Youp Schmit (I-99 / Avanti) and Jacopo Testa (RRD / RRD Sails / AL360). Caers couldn’t stop the on fire Van Broeckhoven, but his second place here means that he is now tied on points with Schmit in the battle for the 2019 world title with both men recording the same results in the opening two events - a second and a fourth respectively.
Schmit will be delighted with his work this week with the Bonairean walking away from Fuerteventura with his best result here in his career - 4th - which keeps him firmly in title race contention.
Antony Ruenes (Tabou / GA Sails) will rise one place in the overalls to 5th after finishing joint 7th here with Sam Esteve (JP / NeilPryde), while Giovanni Passani (Tabou / GA Sails / AL360) remains on course for his best overall finish to date - currently 6th.
The top 10 at this stage of the season is completed by Adrien Bosson (Fanatic / Duotone / Maui Ultra Fins), Sam Esteve, Dieter van der Eyken (Severne / Severne Sails) and Jose ‘Gollito’ Estredo (Fanatic / Duotone), while Testa rises to 11th after completing the podium here.
Girl’s U20
14-year-old Lina Eržen (Flikka / Duotone) claimed a clear cut victory over Alexa Escherich (JP / NeilPryde / Maui Ultra Fins) with the young Slovenian winning all 3 U20 finals with powerful and styling flakas and spocks.
Boy’s U15 
Takumi Moriya (Severne) completed the week unbeaten with the 12-year-old showing off an excellent variety of moves to see off Val Eržen (Flikka / Duotone), Janus Wikle (Flikka) and Ancor Sosa Kather (Tabou / Point-7), who finish 2nd-4th respectively.
U20s Super Session 
With the U20s being completed earlier in the week today saw a 15 minute Super Session held with U15s winner Takumi Moriya also joining the last Youth’s heat of the day. The Super Session was eventually won by Nil Bacon (Fanatic / Loftsails) after the young Frenchman landed a sick skopu 360.

Nil Bacon wins the U20s Super Session 
Corto Dumond (Starboard / Severne) walks away as the U20 champion having defeated Taku Sugi (Tabou / GA Sails) in the final on the opening day, while Lennart Neubauer (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins) completes the podium.

02.08.2019 - Gollito Puts a Dent in Vrieswijk’s Title Challenge on a Day of Comebacks Before Super Saturday

More drama ensued on the penultimate day of the 2019 Fuerteventura PWA World Cup - sponsored by René Egli - with the Men’s Freestyle world title race potentially taking a swing in direction, while there were numerous close battles and epic tussles with Fuerte delivering the best winds in a few days.
Yesterday we mentioned that Olya Raskina (JP / NeilPryde) may be one to watch in the Double Elimination and the Russian proved why today as she won four consecutive heats to progress from the first round of the double into 5th place for the event. Olya firstly defeated Alex Escherich (JP / NeilPryde), Clare Elliot, Lina Eržen (Flikka / Duotone) and lastly Johanna Rümenapp (I-99 / Gun Sails / Maui Ultra Fins) with Raskina’s consistency in Fuerte’s tricky waters proving pivotal.
Raskina’s come back was then brought to an end by Arrianne Aukes (Fanatic / Duotone / Maui Ultra Fins) with Aukes successfully defending her fourth place from the single elimination after landing a regular kono and shakas on both tacks. Aukes will now face Oda Brødholt (Starboard / Severne) in the first heat up tomorrow with a place on the podium up for stakes.
The biggest news of the day involves world title hopeful, Amado Vrieswijk (JP / Severne), who came into the event leading the world title race having staged a stunning come back to win in Bonaire. However, after an earlier than anticipated exit in the single elimination here, the Bonairean would be required to produce another mammoth come back to keep his world title fate in his own hands.
Vrieswijk had got the better of Jose ‘Gollito’ Estredo (Fanatic / Duotone) on his home waters of Bonaire, but the 9-time Freestyle World Champion is a different proposition in Fuerte and they would be pitched against each other again in Heat 29b - with the loser having to settle for joint 9th here. Something you’d have thought unthinkable before the start of the event.
Before their latest showdown heat, Vrieswijk said that he’d been sailing well and landing everything that he tried, but almost everything that could go wrong for the 23-year-old, did go wrong in this crucial heat with Vrieswijk crashing more moves in this heat than in the previous few seasons combined.
Gollito also was not as his best from the beginning, but slowly found some rhythm to earn a bitter sweet victory, which saw him progress, but at the same time put a dent in his good friends title challenge. Vrieswijk did still produce a moment of magic with a shifty into shaka, but by that point the damage had already been self-inflicted.
Having defeated Vrieswijk, Gollito then posted the second highest scoring heat of the day against - Antony Ruenes (Tabou / GA Sails) - 170.6 points - having already posted the highest heat of the day in Heat 25b - 174.7 points - but then lost out by just 0.1 of a point to Yentel Caers (I-99 / Point-7) in an incredibly close battle for 5th and 6th. Gollito had looked like he had hit top gear after looking slightly out of sorts in the single elimination and was incensed by the loss given that his technically more difficult flaka-into-ponch scored 1.3 points less than Caers’ Ponch360. That led to the reigning event champion being eliminated from the competition.
Caers was then involved in a battle of the Belgian’s as he faced former Freestyle World Champion - Dieter van der Eyken (Severne / Severne Sails) in a bid to move into the top 4 and Caers delivered another powerful display again to advance, which keeps the 24-year-old firmly in the title race - particularly if he can continue his come back tomorrow.
However, next up for Caers will be Youp Schmit (I-99 / Avanti), who seems very pumped up and having had a clean bill of health is sailing with a new level of power and consistency than in recent years and Vrieswijk’s early exit may give him even more motivation for Finals Day.
Dieter van der Eyken can be delighted with his play though this week - particularly after rounding off his contest with his highest heat score of the week against Caers - 159.6 points. Freestyle may not be the former world champions main focus these days, but he showed once again that in technically thought conditions that he is still one of the best around over the last 4 days.
Elsewhere, Sam Esteve (JP / NeilPryde) and Antony Ruenes (Tabou / GA Sails) finish in joint 7th respectively, which should be good enough for Ruenes to rise into the top 5 in the overall rankings.
The top 10 is completed by Giovanni Passani (Tabou / GA Sails), Adrien Bosson (Fanatic / Duotone / Maui Ultra Fins), who was frustrated that his air kabikuchi against Yentel Caers in Heat 28b was adjudged to be outside the competition and therefore did not count. If it had then it is likely that he would’ve won as Bosson was then missing a move on port tack. Balz Müller (MB-Boards / Severne) completed a solid come back to also claim joint 9th alongside Vrieswijk, Passani and Bosson.
Vrieswijk’s title hopes are far from over, but the Bonairean would now probably rather see Yentel Caers defeat Schmit tomorrow and then see current event leader - Steven Van Broeckhoven (Starboard / Gun Sails) - defend his single elimination crown. That would then create a scintillating scenario heading into the season finale in Sylt with Vrieswijk and Van Broeckhoven on 9.7 points, Schmit on 5 points and Caers on 6 points - all 4 sailors would then have all the play for, but before then there is Finals Day with all still to play for Caers, Schmit, Jacopo Testa (RRD / RRD Sails / AL360) and Van Broeckhoven.

01.08.2019 - Intermediate result, PWA Freestyle Grand Slam, Fuerteventura: 
Sarah-Quita Offringa and Steven van Broeckhoven win the single-elimination

As the grand finale of the 34th Windsurfing and Kiteboarding World Cup on Fuerteventura, the windsurf freestylers will fight for world ranking points until the third of August. In the women's ranking, the world champion title will be awarded on Fuerteventura.

For the reigning world champion Sarah-Quita Offringa, her 16th world champion title on the Canary Islands is at stake. However, the 28-year-old freestyle queen's plan is not routine, as the competition continues to rise. Maaike Huvermann (21) from the Netherlands is particularly close on her heels. She is the only one who has defeated Offringa in the last seven years.

In the single-elimination, Offringa managed to beat Huvermann nevertheless with by a narrow margin. Third place went to Oda Johanne Brødholt from Norway. Offringa is one step closer to her World Championship title. Now she has to confirm her place in the double-elimination

In the men's ranking, Amado Vrieswijk, the world number one, and Gollito Estredo, nine times world champion, surprisingly dropped out early. Instead, the rising star Jacopo Testa from Italy contested the 2011 Freestyle World Champion Steven van Broeckhoven from Belgium in the final.

But the newcomer from Italy had no chance against the Belgian in the final. Van Broeckhoven won with 174.1 points to 161 points.

Third place went to Youp Schmit from Bonaire.

Now the participants on Fuerteventura are going into the double-elimination. Here the losers still have a chance to work their way up. The final result will be determined by the third of August.

31.07.2019 - Only Top 4 Men and Women Remain Standing in Single Eliminations on a Day Where the Girl’s Contest Goes According to Seeding, while Men’s Seeding Seemingly Goes Out the Window

The second day of Freestyle at the 2019 Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam proved tricky once again with the unusual weather pattern continuing with cloudy skies once again hampering the wind. After a slow morning, the skies did finally try and clear, but with a few rogue clouds remaining, the wind stayed on the light side once again, while choppy waters made things tricky. At the end of the second day of Freestyle only the top 4 men and women remain standing, but there were several less than amused faces on the men’s side of the draw.
The women entered the Freestyle arena for the first time this week and the top seeds survived unscathed in their opening battles with all the current top 4 women in the world ranking all progressing into the semifinals.
Oda Brødholt (Starboard / Severne) and Maaike Huvermann (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins) both came into the event carrying slight injuries with Brødholt tweaking her should and Huvermann her hand, but both girls safely progressed as they defeated Lina Eržen (Flikka / Duotone) and Clare Elliot (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins) respectively. The current World No.2 and No.3 will now meet in the semifinals as their rivalry continues.
Meanwhile, Arrianne Aukes (Fanatic / Duotone / Maui Ultra Fins) overcame a tough first round draw against Olya Raskina (JP / NeilPryde), who was making her first reappearance after being absent last year, to book a place in the quarterfinals and the Dutch girl produced an efficient display to defeat Johanna Rümenapp (I-99 / Gun Sails / Maui Ultra Fins) and book her place in the semifinals.
Aukes will now face a difficult task though as she will take on 11-time Freestyle World Champion and current world tour leader - Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / NeilPryde / Maui Ultra Fins) - in the semifinals. The Aruban wasted little time in her heat against Jazzy Zwerus (JP / NeilPryde) to quickly rack up the highest score of the day - 114.9 points- after landing culos on both tacks, a burner, a future and the pick on the bunch - a perfect spock culo. If Offringa maintains that level of sailing then she may prove almost impossible to stop once again.

While the top seeds in the Women’s Single Elimination may have survived the day unscathed, the same cannot be said for the Men’s draw with none of the current top 7 sailors in the world ranking progressing into the top 4 on a day full of close calls, upsets and disgruntled sailors.
The first name into the semifinals was Jacopo Testa (RRD / RRD Sails / AL360) after the Italian produced one of the biggest upsets of the day by defeating current World No.1 - Amado Vrieswijk (JP / Severne) - in what proved to be a very tight heat. Testa landed a sick planing double culo, bongka, spock-into-kono and a kabikuchi to earn a narrow earn a 5.5 point victory. Vrieswijk landed a double culo and kabikuchi of his own, while also earning his highest single score for an air funnel into burner, but was incensed that his pasko could score lower than a regular burner by Testa. However, that by itself would not change the result and you can take nothing away from Testa who sailed a solid heat. Vrieswijk will now have to do things the hard way, just as he did in Bonaire, by fighting his way back through the double elimination.
The next name into the top 4 was the 2015 event and world champion - Dieter van der Eyken (Severne / Severne Sails) - after the Belgian took down Antony Ruenes (Tabou / GA Sails) with an assured display. Ruenes was upset that his air funnel into burner didn’t count, but it was adjudged to be completed one second after the buzzer, but even if it would have counted the Frenchman still would’ve needed it to score at least 22.7 points to win the heat.
Steven van Broeckhoven (Starboard / Gun Sails) then faced Yentel Caers (I-99 / Point-7) in the battle of Belgium in Heat 14a and come the end of the heat there was almost nothing to separate the two sailors. Van Broeckhoven was deemed to have edged the duel on port tack by 1.5 points, while Caers scored 0.8 of a point more on starboard tack with both sailors scoring 20 out of 20 for variation. That meant Van Broeckhoven had won the tie by 0.7 of a point and the former world champion was delighted upon hearing the result.
Since the end of the day, it has since come to light, under a review, that a move was missed between Sam Esteve (JP / NeilPryde) and Youp Schmit (I-99 / Avanti) and the two sailors will now have to resail their heat tomorrow. Earlier in the day, Schmit had caused a huge upset by defeating top seed - Gollito Estredo (Fanatic / Duotone) - who looked frustrated at times during his heat.
Elsewhere, Davy Scheffers (Tabou / GA Sails) was not impressed to have missed out on a spot in the top 8 against Jacopo Testa with the Dutchman clearly feeling that he had won the heat. Scheffers felt several of his moves were underscored and/or adjudged to be the wrong move.
Meanwhile, Adrien Bosson (Fanatic / Duotone / Maui Ultra Fins), missed out on a place in the top 8 by the narrowest of margins to Antony Ruenes, but the vice-world champion remained extremely composed upon hearing the result and will now look to battle his way back through the double elimination.
The forecast for tomorrow predicts lighter winds than the last two days, but given the inaccuracy of the forecast for both Monday and Tuesday, we will just have to wait and see what happens with the conditions. The sailors will meet again tomorrow morning at 10:30am (GMT+1) for the skippers’ meeting with a first possible start at 11am.

30.07.2019 Corto Dumond Wins U20s, While Just Over Half of Men’s First Round Completed in Tricky Conditions

On paper, today looked as though the Freestyle at the 2019 Fuerteventura PWA World Cup - sponsored by René Egli - would see classic nuclear Sotavento conditions. However, a thick layer of cloud and even a little bit of drizzle greeted competitors and the wind never really settled even though the skies did clear during the afternoon.
At the end of the opening day of Freestyle, only the first 5 heats of the Men’s Single Elimination could be completed in tricky conditions, while earlier in the day the Youth’s also battled it out.
Single Elimination - Men’s
The first heat of the Men’s Single Elimination saw Davy Scheffers (Tabou / GA Sails) take on U20 champion - Corto Dumont (Starboard / Severne) - and despite the 17-year-old putting on an excellent display it would be current world No.7 - Scheffers - who would advance, while Jacopo Testa (RRD / RRD Sails / AL360) produced an assured display to defeat Lennart Neubauer (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins) and the Italian will now face Scheffers in the round of 16.
Heat 2a saw Nicolas Akgazciyan (JP / NeilPryde) claim a clear cut victory over Ricardo Marca (Fanatic / Duotone / Maui Ultra Fins), while on the b-panel current world tour leader - Amado Vrieswijk (JP / Severne) hit the water for the first time this week. And while the Bonairean wasn’t at his absolute best in the tricky conditions he still had more than enough in the tank to end the hopes of Eilon Wilson (Patrik / Point-7).
In Heat 3 Italian Mattia Fabrizi (Patrik / Challenger Sails) made a bright start to successfully navigate his way past Britain’s Max Rowe (Simmer / Simmer Sails), while Dieter van der Eyken (Severne / Severne Sails) had far too much fire power for Aron Etmon (Starboard / S2Maui) on the b-panel.
Heat 4a proved to be the heat of the day and Taty Frans (Point-7) can feel a little unlucky that he faced Antony Ruenes (Tabou / GA Sails) as they posted the second and third highest scores of the day - 151.1 points and 148.9 points respectively. Both sailors sailed with power and finesse and in the end, there was almost nothing to separate them, but unfortunately for Frans, he lost out by just 2.2 points. Frans will now have to wait for the double elimination to mount a comeback. Ruenes, meanwhile, will mean last year’s runner up here - Adrien Bosson (Fanatic / Duotone / Maui Ultra Fins).
The last two heats of the day saw Balz Müller (MB-Boards / Severne) win the battle of the Swiss as the 25-year-old defeated Loick Spicher (RRD / RRD Sails) after asserting late on! Müller will now face Steven van Broeckhoven (Starboard / Gun Sails) after the Belgian set the highest score of the day - 159.8 points - against Niclas Nebelung (I-99 / Gun Sails / Maui Ultra Fins) in Heat 5b.
The sixth heat was started but with the wind dropping back the heat was eventually cancelled and with that, the opening day of Freestyle was called off. The forecast for tomorrow looks as though it should be windy again and hopefully there will be clearer skies so that the wind can stabilise. The sailors will meet again at 10:30am (GMT+1) tomorrow morning with a first possible start at 11am.
Girl’s U20s
In the Girl’s U20s Final Lina Eržen (Flikka / Duotone) claimed an impressive victory over Alexa Escherich (JP / NeilPryde / Maui Ultra), who is still recovering from injury and sailed with a knee brace. Eržen made a strong start by landing a smooth spock and a stylish flaka to win the first final of the week.
Boy’s U15s
12-year-old Takumi Moriya (Severne) made an impressive start to the Boy’s U13s contest as the young Japanese sailor won all 3 finals completed today ahead of Val Eržen (Flikka / Duotone), Janus Wikle (Flikka) and Ancor Sosa Kather (Tabou / Point-7).
Boy’s U20s
Last year Corto Dumont (Starboard / Severne) won the U17s division and he made the perfect start to the contest today by defeating Takuma Sugi (Tabou / GA Sails) in the winners’ final of the U20’s, while Lennart Neubauer (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins) completes the podium after getting the better of Nil Bacon (Fanatic / Loftsails) in the battle for third and fourth place.

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