- 18 April 2012 | Windsurfing
Ferran Crespo has won the 2012 New Zealand Wave Sailing Nationals, in clean and glassy mast high waves, in Taranaki. This year's event saw one of the best collections of wavesailing talent, including Taranaki guru James Dinnis coming out of retirement for his first wave event in twenty years.
The Pungarehu overlook was busy early, with Taranaki’s local Spanish import Ferran Crespo ("El Torito Rojo") and Austrian interloper Stefan, on the water, well before 8 am.
With 15 minute heats and with the best two waves counting, everyone was pumped with the pristine weather conditions. Crazily enough the wind increased well over and above the forecast maximum of 12–15 knots and went from being comfortable with a 5.3 m sail to a level where a 4.5 m would have been a lot better.
This caused a flurry of re-rigging from some sailors, only to have the wind drop just before the start of the first heat, forcing some to re-rig yet again.
Winds and epic waves continued into the first quarter-final round and the upwind skills of Paul Barron and Paul Hunt came to the fore as they each snagged several quality waves to advance to the four man semi-final.
The second quarter-final round saw some great waves caught by all competitors, including Thomas Davies, who was on fire with multiple rides and the set wave of the round.
Drama also ensued as Spanish import "El Torito Rojo" had his universal joint fall apart halfway through the heat, leaving him swimming while having only just caught two waves.
Fortunately the Spanish Fly’s scores for his riding and a solid aerial were good enough that he didn’t need any other waves and advanced to the semis with James Dinnis, who had pulled out some trademark powerful turns to storm home.
The high class semi final revealed that El Torito Rojo had kept his powder dry in the earlier heats as he stepped up and stood out from the rest of the crowd to claim a place in the final.
Paul Barron and James Dinnis led the running for the second finals berth, with Paul’s clinical riding and wave selection getting him through to the final by 0.5 of a point.
Such was the intensity of the light wind heats that James Dinnis and Paul Hunt promptly declined the opportunity to sail off for 3rd and 4th place, opting instead for the beer, bbq and tales of the downward dog.
An excited crowd was on hand to witness the final between Paul Barron and "El Torito Rojo" (including some suspect pressure brought to bear on the judges by an unnamed spectator called Jill Barron).
The standard of sailing from both sailors made for one of the most impressive New Zealand National’s finals ever seen at Pungarehu, however there could be only one winner and "El Torito Rojo" pulled out several great waves with multiple huge aerials to claim victory in the first elimination.
Final Results of the 2012 New Zealand Wave Sailing Nationals:
1st Ferran Crespo
2nd Paul Barron
3rd James Dinnis
4th Paul Hunt
Chris La Franchie