Monday, May 31, 2010

Swedish freestyle tour - Shitbay Freestyle Battle

Friday saw a late announcement that the Fbay would be the spot for tour stop number 2 of the Swedish freestyle tour. Saturday arrived and the wind was building steadily the first hours of the morning, as I went down to get a few warm-up runs before the show started. I was pretty much powered on my favorite sail (5.2 Echo LE), riding my new smaller board (the 88 Flare), even though it was kinda flaky occasionally. I had my mind set on more wind later on, but as you know it actually doesn't matter that much; as long as I get my 14-16 knots I'm all good.

All the guys showed up a while later, got rigged and ready to roll. Hank the Tank was the man in charge - head of the tour overall btw - who drew the double elimination ladder at random. With 14 contestants he decided to go for one-on-ones, to make things more interesting, putting some extra pressure on the riders. I'm gonna try to describe the events as accurately as possible.

My first heat went against the Tank himself. The wind was a bit hesitant, but I managed to pull out some Switch moves and finish with a good Sw-Kono at the sound of the horn. Hank put up a fight with incredibly consistent and stylish Spocks. Also advancing was MiniCalle who went pre-school with a loco Semi-Vulcano into sliding Flaka among others.

Heat two had to wait for a while since step one of the ladder, plus the second part of the B ladder, was run all through and kept us on the hold. I got fucking cold - must be that Swedish wind, I'm too used to the climate in the Philippines still. So I did what I had to do and suited up winter style for heat two, with both hood and gloves. This time I went up against the guy whom I've been training with since I learnt to uphaul: Calle (the small one). Going out for the real ghetto battle I had my worst heat and crashed way too much. I got enough to get through though, and just set my focus on getting back into my flow for the final, which eventually was put on hold as well, giving everybody a pretty sweet lunch break.

When we got back out the wind had picked back up, but it was marginal to say the least. I didn't have any problems to get planing, but I would've liked to get a few extra knots of help, as we only had the gusts to rely on. As the loosers final was carried out I found a nice funnel of wind going through outside the contest area. I had a few nice runs outside really finding my groove again (that little bit of extra speed does so much for the steeze of your moves).

Going in for the final I'd positioned myself right in the channel where the wind really pushed through. Going against me was Petter from Gotland, advancing from the looser final was Emil from the deep South, and adding decades of experience was local legend and former Wave Classic winner Mattias.

As the horn signaled the start of the heat I caught my gust, went full power instantly and blasted down into Shitbay, claming a planing E-slider 540, followed by a nice fast Flaka and a one-handed Switch-Chachoo. By this time I'd gotten pretty tired, which wasn't that strange cause I'd literally been on the water the whole day. I settled for less and had some fun doing Geckos of different sorts. I had one more gust, which was enough for half a one-handed E-slider. Then came the grande finale; I moved in close to the beach and pulled the joker out of the deck, totally nailing something so monumental that noone knew what it was except me and MiniCal (they probably didn't even score it). It was nothing less than: the Hawk. I created the move around the time when I started Straightouttafiskeback, and it's thoroughly explained here on this post, and shown on the picture just above. The other guys got some nice moves down too, Petter with a Grubby and a sick one-handed Spock and Mattias with his trademark Duck-Tacks. Who said you can't get sweet action in lighter winds? Oh, wait, guess that was me...

We got back on the beach to hear the judges decision, just packing the minimal beach that is Shitbay with more freestyle equipment than ever before. When the announcement came Emil had finished fourth, Mattias got third and Petter second. I took it all the way, stoked of course, but mostly just very happy with an awesome day of windsurfing with many cool guys. Nothing you could want more. This is just how it should be.

Oh, you're probably wondering how I celebrated..? By surfing even more of course! What else?

Håkman out.

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