Josh Angulo returns the Cabo Verde crown to its homeland after defeating Kauli Seadi twice in the double elimination. Day five of competition saw the Ponta Preta reef switch back on, delivering a seemingly endless supply of huge sets, coupled with hammering 25 knot wind to finish up the double elimination in style.
Seizing the opportunity to compete in the classic Cabo Verde conditions, the wave fleet hit the water bright and early at 8.45am to pick up the action at heat 38, where it had left off previously.
The second round of the double elimination saw some stand out
performances from the likes of: Ricardo Campello (JP / NeilPryde /
MFC), who stepped his riding up to another level to advance. Camille
Juban (Gun Sails / MFC), whose super vertical attacks on the wave were
both impressive and technically brilliant, and Jason Polakow (JP /
NeilPryde), who had far and away the fewest waves of the event and
still managed to advance thanks to consistent excellence on the wave.
Entering the third round of the double elimination, mounting
pressure meant that the sailors had to pull out all the stops to stand
a chance of making it through the heats. Trips to the rocks became all
too frequent, and the magnitude of crashes went through the roof.
Stamping their names on round three were Ross Williams (Tabou /
Gaastra), who took the lions share of the waves on offer, and somehow
was always in the right place at the right time. Similarly, Marcilio
Browne (North / Fanatic) dug deep into his bag of tricks to execute
some amazingly tight turns and super vertical cut backs that his rivals
simply couldn’t match.
Thomas Traversa (Tabou / Gaastra) brought his unique flare and
out-and-out attitude to his heat, which saw risk be rewarded with a
highly credible pass through to the next round. Joining him was
Moroccan Boujmaa Guilloul (Starboard / Severne / MFC), who fended off
tough opposition with some floaty aerials and late smacks that
outclassed his rivals.
Entering a four way standoff with only two positions available in
the next round, Williams, Guilloul, Browne and Traversa went to blows
in barreling mast high waves and forever increasing wind.
When crunch time came, Traversa blew his chances, gambling super
late smacks and deep bottom turns that were ultimately punished by the
brutal Ponta Preta reef. Also departing was Guilloul, who notched up
one truly brilliant wave, but failed to find a second to add to his
score sheet, paying the heavy price of departure for his mistake.
This left Williams and Browne entering the two-man stage of the
elimination, with only one place to play for. Williams was on a roll
after dominating the four previous heats, but Browne was firing. The
Brazilian was just going off, cranking the tightest bottom turns before
smacking contorted top turns right under the lip. Williams performed
well, but Browne was literally unbeatable.
Advancing to meet Francisco Goya (Goya Sails / MFC), Browne knew he
had to deliver a solid performance, but rival Goya just wasn’t in the
groove. After dominating in the single elimination Goya struggled to
find form, and essentially gave Browne a pass through to the next round
after an unconvincing display.
Meeting Kevin Pritchard (Starboard / Gaastra / MFC / Dakine),
Browne’s nerve was put to the test. Pritchard is impossibly consistent,
and while sometimes lacking the flare of his rivals he rarely delivers
a poor performance. This heat was no exception. Outstanding wave
selection, time and time again, combined with a fluent and well-timed
attack on the Ponta Preta lip gave Browne a harsh reality check.
Pritchard had done enough to secure third overall for the event,
leaving Browne, who’d worked his way through the double elimination, in
a highly impressive fourth.
So, the all too familiar showdown began. In a rerun of the 2007
World Cup, Kauli Seadi (JP / NeilPryde / MFC / Mormaii), who’d won the
single elimination, had to defend his throne from the local, Josh
Angulo (Angulo / MauiSails / Dakine). In this instance, Seadi’s defense
was over thrown by Angulo’s wealth of knowledge at Ponta Preta. The
pair would have to sail head to head one last time to decide the
outright event winner.
With a swarming local crowed chanting the name of their national
windsurfing hero, the final began. Angulo drew the first blood with a
colossal off the lip hit, but landed deep in the bowl, and ended up
getting washed onto the rocks. Seadi seized the opportunity, putting
Angulo on the back foot with two solid rides.
Returning, Angulo blew everyone away with a nine-point wave ride, a
rare spectacle to behold, and something truly inspiring. Following this
up, Angulo launched into his usual routine of insanely late under the
lip hits and perfectly timed aerials. Seadi knew he had to deliver, and
right on queue, threw a perfectly landed goiter on the wave face.
The heat was intense and virtually impossible to call, with two very
different styles unified by the much-revered Ponta Preta Break. Crunch
time came in the huge event tent, before hundred of ecstatic local
fans. Angulo had reigned supreme, returning the Cabo Verde crown to its
motherland in emotional scenes rarely seen at windsurfing events. This capped off the awesome Cabo Verde PWA World Cup, which is now complete with three days in hand.
The countdown is almost over, as the 32 best wavesailors on the planet prepare to go head to head on Cabo Verde’s hallowed windsurfing breaks.
Following a four-month break over the winter period, the PWA kick starts the 2009 World Tour season with the much-revered Cabo Verde PWA World Cup. Commemorating the event’s third anniversary on the World Tour, the 2009 event team have been working tirelessly to ensure this year’s event exceeds the massive expectations the worldwide windsurfing community places upon it.
Running over an eight-day holding period from the 14th – 21st of February, the Cabo Verde archipelago will become the epicenter of the world’s wave sailing focus, as Sal’s exposed Atlantic beaches push the cream of the PWA’s wave fleet to their limits. The contest adopts the innovative roving format, meaning that while the event HQ is stationed at Pont Preta, the entire PWA circus can move to anyone of Sal’s breaks to ensure the riders compete in only the very best conditions the island has to offer.
As expected, the Cabo Verde entry list reads like a windsurfing roll of honor. Elite barely begins to describe the nature of this event, with just 32 positions available in the men only fleet. Headlining the heavyweight wave fleet is reigning World Wave Champion and defending Cabo Verde Champion, Kauli Seadi (JP / NeilPryde / MFC / Mormaii). The Brazilian style maestro is famed for his fluid, vertical style, and outrageous ability to access parts of the wave no one else can find possible.
Sharing Seadi’s limelight is 2007 Cabo Verde victor and 2008 runner up, Josh Angulo (Angulo / MauiSails / Dakine). Native to Sal and unquestionably the king of Ponta Preta, Angulo carries the hopes of a nation on his shoulders, and will be more determined than ever to bring the Cabo Verde crown back to its homeland.
Bringing his unique blend of wavesailing wisdom and gung-ho bravado, Jason Polakow (JP / NeilPryde) is always a serious contender in Cabo Verde. With 4th and 3rd place finishes to his name in 2007 and 2008 respectively, Polakow will be hell bent on securing victory. En route, watch out for impossibly late smacks, gravity defying aerials and complete disregard for personal safely.
Fellow JP / NeilPryde stable mate, Robby Swift is another tough contender. After being plagued by injury, Swift has finally had solid run of full fitness. A 4th place finish in 2008 gave a taste of what this highly calculating and methodically professional Brit is capable of; if he can tap into that same form in ’09 he’ll be a tough man to beat.
Equally worth of a mention are: Kevin Pritchard (Starboard / Gaastra / Dakine / MFC), who’s delivered consistent results two years running, the equally consistent Alex Mussolini (Tabou), French contortionist Thomas Traversa (Tabou / Gaastra), and World Wave runner up, Victor Fernandez (Fanatic / North / MFC). Only a handful of athletes have been mentioned here, however in reality when competition fires up, and the stresses and strains of sailing 30 minute heats kicks in, the Cabo Verde crown could fall to literally any of the 32 select riders on the entry list. Only time will tell.
What To Expect
Cabo Verde’s heritage needs no introduction, nor does the mind-boggling wavesailing that will be going down on its numerous world class reefs, however the Cabo Verde PWA World Cup has been stepped up several notches for 2009. Expect to see the inclusion of the Ponta Preta ‘mini-city’, which will feature round-the-clock entertainment, including DJ’s, local bands and numerous activities. Also on the bill will be national beach football / volleyball tournaments; food, drink and of course the finest windsurfers in the world battling it out only a stones throw from the beach.
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