After a long, hard fought season the finale is upon us as the 2014 PWA Wave World Tour heads to a thrilling climax. And where better to end the year than the home of wavesailing itself – Ho’okipa Beach Park. The scene is set perfectly for the elite of the wave sailing world to bring the curtain down in style with the Starboard Severne Aloha Classic running from the 29th October until the 11th November.
Ho’okipa – meaning ‘hospitality’ – Beach Park, Maui, Hawaii is quintessentially the home of windsurfing. A place any windsurfer has hopes, dreams and aspirations of visiting at some point during their lifetime. What with its stunning year round weather, its lush tropical scenery and of course its world-renowned trade winds, which are so often accompanied by some of the best waves in the world. What more could you want? The next two weeks promise to be unmissable, whether the contest comes down to purely wave riding or a combination of wave riding and jumping, as the world’s most radical sailors go all out in their pursuit for glory.
Men’s Wave – Title Race Contenders
After four events, only three men remain in contention for the 2014 PWA Wave World Champion – Frenchman Thomas Traversa (Tabou / GA Sails) – who enters the final event of the year as the leader – Spaniard Victor Fernandez (Fanatic / North / MFC) and Ricardo Campello (Patrik / Point-7 / MFC) – who hauled himself back into the title race with his maiden victory on the wave tour in La Torche, France.
Title Winning Scenarios
Thomas Traversa may lead the world tour heading into the final event of the year, but still faces a tall order to secure a maiden world crown. To win the title TT requires a seventh place or better, whilst also finishing ahead of Victor Fernandez. However, that all changes if, Ricardo Campello, manages to finish third or better. For example if Campello finishes second, then seventh place is no longer good enough for Traversa and the Frenchman would then require a sixth place finish or better, whilst if Campello was to win the event then Traversa would then need to break into the top five, whilst still finishing ahead of Fernandez, to remain at the top of the rankings. Traversa finished joint fifteenth here in 2013, but appears to be in the form of his life at the moment, so we can expect to see TT improve his performance this time around, especially with a world title to contend for and newly shaped boards specifically for Ho’okipa.
With the standard at Ho’okipa so high and with so many world class locals, breaking into the top five is not a forgone conclusion for the world’s usual top seeds. In fact the standard of the locals is so incredibly high, that it would take a monumental effort to break into the top ten, yet along the top five. And this is where Victor Fernandez holds the advantage. Even though Fernandez enters the season finale in second place, he is probably the favourite for the title due to holding a fifth place discard as his worst result, which means he can, potentially, simply discard the result from Maui and claim his first world title since 2010 – as long as Thomas Traversa fails to finish seventh or better and Ricardo Campello is absent from the top three. Fernandez also finished joint fifteenth here last year, like TT, but enters the event knowing the pressure is on his rivals to deliver. The Spaniard is also the only man with a PWA Wave World title to his name and that extra experience, when at the business end of the action, could prove critical.
For Ricardo Campello to win, the Brazilian has to finish in the top three to have a shot at the title. If Campello was to finish third then he would require Traversa to finish outside the top seven and Fernandez outside the top 6 to claim victory. Meanwhile, if Campello was to finish second in Maui, then he would win the title if Traversa failed to finish sixth or better and Fernandez fifth or better. Obviously another event victory would give Campello his best chance of claiming a maiden world crown, as TT would then require a fifth place finish or better, whilst Fernandez would need to finish in the top four, which would be some feat at Ho’okipa. The Brazilian will be looking to carry the momentum he has generated from La Torche in Maui and if he brings his A-game anything could happen.
There will be a whole host of world class talent ready to cause an upset to the aforementioned top three’s title winning dreams. First of all, it’s none other than last year’s Aloha Classic winner – Levi Siver (Quatro / Goya Windsurfing / MFC) – who showed exactly what he’s capable of with devastating turns, radical air takas and explosive frontside 3s. Expect to see Siver charging for the top once more.
Also in the mix will be Marcilio ‘Brawzinho’ Browne (Goya Windsurfing / MFC), who claimed his first ever world title here in 2013 after finishing fifth. Browne will be wanting to end the year with a bang and will no doubt be a serious threat as he possesses all the skills necessary to defeat anyone in the world.
Fellow Ho’okipa locals such as the youthful talent of Morgan Noireaux (JP / Hot Sails Maui), Bernd Roediger (Quatro / Goya Windsurfing / MFC) – if he makes it back in time from the SUP event in La Torche – together with Graham Ezzy (Quatro / Ezzy), Robby Swift (JP / NeilPryde / Mystic / Maui Ultra Fins / SWOX) and almost any of the locals who make it through the trials will all be serious threats
There’s sure to be plenty of drama and upsets with so much at stake, so the next fourteen days are shaping up to be absolutely incredible. Who’s your money on in the men’s?
Women’s – Wave
The women are preparing to return to Ho’okipa’s heralded shores for the first time since 2006 and just as back then, it’s the legendary Moreno twins – Daida Moreno (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins) and Iballa Moreno (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins) – who sit at the top of the rankings. Daida currently leads the world rankings with a perfect record so far in 2014 – two wins out of two – and knows that third place or better would guarantee her back-to-back world titles, even if Iballa is able to win the event. In that scenario the twins would finish level on 6,234 points, but Daida would take the victory with two event victories, to Iballa’s one.
However, the twins may not have things all their own way for once, as the local girls will be using their additional local knowledge to their advantage. The likes of Junko Nagoshi (Goya Windsurfing), who will be considered one of the favourites, together with Ingrid Larouche (Fanatic / North) and the youthful, blossoming talent of Fiona Wylde.(Quatro / Goya Windsurfing) will be ready to pounce and take their moment in the windsurfing spotlight.
It’s also going to be interesting to see how PWA regulars Amanda Beenen (Tabou / GA Sails) and Alice Arutkin (Fanatic / North) fair in the starboard tack conditions, whilst Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / Mystic / Maui Ultra Fins) will be hoping to continue her seamless transition into the waves after picking up her first podium finish in Tenerife, back in August of this year.
The wait is almost over and the 2014 Starboard Severne Aloha Classic promises to be every bit as enthralling, if not more enthralling than last year. Will the Ho’okipa locals prove to be as dominant as last year? Or will we see some other names breaking into the top ten this time around? There’s only one way to find out and that’s by tuning into www.pwaworldtour.com. Here you’ll be able to follow the amazing action as it happens via the PWA live stream and live ticker.