As 2018’s windsurfing season gets underway Dan Newman gives us the inside view on what it’s like to attend a PWA event live and direct.
Words: Dan Newman
Pics: Penny Chapman @seazthemoment
Globetrotting, sea fairing windsurfer Dan Newman and girlfirend Penny were looking for some time out away from yachty duties during summer 2017. Deciding to hit up Tenerife they lucked out as the PWA would be in town at the same time. Here Dan recounts his experience of seeing the pros shred live and direct.
Hungry for some high wind, wave action we figured that the Canaries would be the best place to spend a few weeks on our summer tour. Having spent plenty of time in El Medano, Tenerife, in the past it would be the perfect choice as it had never failed to deliver the goods! We then realised that the PWA were heading over for the second stage of the world wave tour, so it was a no brainer…
I’ve always been an avid follower of the PWA world tour and been especially inspired by the action on the wave circuit. Having the opportunity to see an event live and in person was extremely exciting. I can remember back in the day, when I was just a wee lad, thumbing my way through the windsurfing magazines each month, admiring pictures of the action and then waiting eagerly for the latest tour video to be released, to actually see the footage. Nowadays it is far easier to keep up to date with all of the events online. The live coverage on the PWA website itself is superb and the commentary delivered by Ben Profit really makes it. If you’ve not yet tuned in then you really must as it is extremely entertaining. They have also introduced live results and score sheets on the video feed so you can keep track, wave by wave, jump by jump, making sofa spectating or sneaking a peak of the action on your phone while you’re supposed to be working, very easy.
We arrived on the island just ahead of the event, so headed directly to Cabezo to see what was going down. The event site was all set up and there was a buzz on the beach. Equipment covered literally every grain of sand and competitors were busy setting up and fine tuning their kit. With light winds for the first couple of days it made for a relaxed build up, but with plenty of wind and swell forecast for later in the week there was promise for a hot competition.
The event officially opened with the competitors marching through the town, led by a spectacular drum parade. They made their way from the event site to the main square where all the riders were introduced on stage. Being amongst the party atmosphere and seeing all of the sailors in the flesh was very cool. It was also really good to see such a strong group of UK riders out in force. We were especially excited to see how Adam Lewis followed up his impressive 7th place result at the previous event in Pozo. With so many big names and talented riders across both the men’s and women’s fleets, the competition was set to be fierce.
From day 3 the wind fired up, Cabezo turned on and the action went off! Huge double forwards, back loops, wave 360’s, goiters and every other wave move you can imagine were being thrown everywhere. Cabezo offers a great natural arena for spectators to view the action straight from the beach, as a little added bonus it also gives some decent shelter from getting salt/sand blasted in the process and there’s a beach bar too. The competition was getting extremely exciting and as the first full day came to a close we were already down to the top four competitors in both fleets. There were no surprises to see both Philip Koster and Victor Fernandez in the top four men along with local legend Alex Mussolini and also our man Adam Lewis, all still fighting for the top spot.
The next day kicked off with ballistic winds – gusting over 50kts. With a decent swell building the conditions were set to challenge the riders for an epic single elimination final. They did not disappoint. You know it’s seriously windy when the pros are going full power on 3.0m’s! I mean, it was survival conditions for most but these guys were making it look easy and going huge in the process. Adam sailed heroically but was unlucky, missing out by only a couple of points against first Philip and then Victor in his heats. This did, however, put him in a very impressive and well deserved 4th place at the end of the single elimination.
A stand out sailor for us was local ripper Alex Mussolini, who was on fire in his heat against Philip Koster. It was an extremely close-run final with Philip narrowly clinching victory to claim the top podium position.
In the women’s fleet Sarah-Quita Offringa sailed a great heat to defeat Iballa Moreno and claim top spot in the single elevation. This was overshadowed by the fact that Daida (Iballa’s twin sister) suffered a nasty injury to her ribs following a huge crashed back loop in her heat against Lina Erpenstein. She had already done enough to win but was unfortunately unable to sail in the final against Sarah.
The conditions continued to get better and better meaning the double elimination could get underway. The action was incredible and probably some of the best windsurfing I’ve ever witnessed. Marcillio Browne was a man on a mission and battled his way to challenge the podium taking down Adam Lewis. Alex Mussolini unfortunately slipped down into 3rd after an extremely close heat against Victor Fernandez but no one was able to touch Philip Koster as he confidently held on to first place and was back sailing on his spectacular top form following his knee injury.
The women’s fleet was filled with action and really fun to watch, with all the girls ripping! It finished with an extremely close battle between Sarah and Iballa – Iballa taking first place, Sarah in second and Diada hanging on to third, even though she was unable to continue sailing due to injury.
Seeing the whole competition unravel live from the beach was awesome and the action fully exceeded all of my expectations. We also scored some great windsurfing outside of the event and being on the water, sailing with such talented riders around us was such an inspiring experience. El Medano certainly delivered the goods, yet again, from all angles. We’ll be back again for sure. See you next time!