We are back on standby here in Gran Canaria following a day of light winds on all shores of the island. After the sensational opening day of action two days ago many sailors have been resting aching muscles, re-tuning equipment and preparing mentally for the next round of competition. The men’s single elimination has now boiled down to the last sixteen and with most of the top ranked sailors still in the game it looks like we are in for a major showdown when action resumes.

Just an example of how tough the battle is going to be; the line up for the first heat of the men’s third round is Kauli Seadi (Naish boards, Naish sails) versus Nik Baker (North, Mistral) and Jason Polakow (JP, Neil Pryde) against Scott Carvill (Naish boards, Naish sails)! It is a pretty tasty line up and no doubt each sailor will be extra focussed and have to pull out all the stops if they want to advance.

Young Aussie sailor Greg Allaway (JP, Neil Pryde) is through to the top sixteen. Grubby, as he is known amongst tour sailors beat Jesper Stridde of Sweden and Erik Troostheide (H90) on route to the third round.

Greg Allaway (JP, Neil Pryde)

“The conditions were pretty hard on the first day of competition, so I was happy to get through. I wanna make it through to the final, that is my aim. I have Josh Angulo in the next heat, he is a good sailor so I am going to have to put a decent heat together, I think I can get through”

Also through to the last sixteen is the ‘Samba sensation’ Kauli Seadi of Brazil. Kauli is rated by many as the most promising and talented newcomer to the tour and is hotly tipped a future overall wave champion.

Kauli Seadi (Naish Boards, Naish Sails)

“I am stoked. It is always one of my goals to do well in the waves so I am happy to be still in the contest. The conditions have been excellent, big waves and side shore winds. I have Nik Baker in the next round, we will see what happens in the water. He is good, I hear we could be back at Vargas for the next part of the competition. I wish good luck for everybody!”

Spanish sailor Marcos Perez is always a force to be reckoned with on his home waters in Gran Canaria. Perez took down French sailor Julian Taboulet (JP, Neil Pryde) in the second round after stringing together several solid waves in the heat. His next encounter will be against Aussie wave guru Scottie McKercher, which promises to be an interesting confrontation.

Marcos Perez

“I am really happy. I had never sailed in that spot before. The conditions were really different than what we are used to seeing in Gran Canaria. I have Scott McKercher in the next round. It is always tough because all the people on the world tour are really good sailors. Everybody is here to win. Scott McKercher is a good wave rider so I hope the next part of the competition is jumping conditions back in Vargas. I think that I am better than him in the jumping!”

This is the second year on the PWA tour for young British sailor Robby Swift (JP, Neil Pryde). Robby was celebrating his eighteenth birthday yesterday but his trainer Scott Sanchez from Team MPG was making sure that the temptations of the Gran Canaria nightlife were strictly off limits.

Robby Swift (JP, Neil Pryde)

“Scott didn’t let me go to the ‘pit’, we are on training mode until the end of the event. On the first day I had a pretty good first heat and beat Julian Glover of Australia. After that I was up against Cisco. I sailed OK but crashed on my biggest wave, that didn’t help. The conditions were really good, the best I have ever seen it in the Canaries. The afternoon got a bit worse but whatever. I thought I might have had a chance against Cisco but I screwed up on my best wave of the heat”

The forecast from the locals predict a return to the normal northeasterly wind direction in Vargas during the weekend. This will put a whole new emphasis on the competition since the format of scoring will most likely switch to a more jump orientated system. Sailors such as Vidar Jensen (North) Francisco Goya (Fanatic, Arrows) and Peter Volwater (F2, Arrows) of Holland who are all capable of nailing double loops could be major forces to be reckoned with when action resumes.

TV Images from this event will be broadcast to over 100 countries world-wide. Sportshows TV, the PWA’s new media partners, are covering this first leg of the world tour as part of their new eight programme TV series dedicated to the PWA World Tour. Two half hour programmes on the Vargas event are scheduled for broadcast later in the year, but a special version is being cut for a Channel 4 program in the UK, which will air at the end of May.

text & photos from: PWA