For the first time in 11 years João RODRIGUES (POR) has stepped onto the top step of the podium at an Olympic windsurfing class European Championship. He did so in 1996 and 1997 following up his World Championship gold medal in Port Elizabeth in 1995.

By winning in Brest, he has clearly laid his marker down as a serious contender for the forthcoming Olympic Sailing Competition in China. Julien BONTEMPS (FRA) finished second overall with world #1 Przemyslaw MIARCZYNSKI (POL) in third.

Overall the championship was very well organized by Les Crocodiles de L’Elorn - the only club in France with two Olympic gold medallists among its alumni.

With an entirely carpeted competitors’ village, a giant screen showing streamed video from the water and an army of ever smiling and helpful volunteers, Franch JAOUEN, the president of the club, has set a standard that other organizers will have a hard time topping.

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The first event of the Formula Windsurfing World Tour has begun today in Sines, Portugal. With the Northern wind blowing cross-shore, between the 10 and 12 knots, the beach of São Torpes, Sines, became the perfect arena for this competition.

The 2008 Portugal-Sines Windsurfing Grand Prix, which is taking place from the 6th to 10th of May, has brought to this Town the most important sailors from around the globe (9 of the top ten ranked formula racers in the world ) - not only for the prize money, that has reached € 30,000, but for the excellent organisation to which the competitors of these great international events have been used to from the Overpower Club.

Following the skippers meeting run by Race Director, Claudio Alessandrello, every sailor, who felt relaxed while waiting for the wind to show up, was informed of the schedule to develop during the first day of racing. Around 2:00 p.m., Alessandrello, sent all of the Formula Windsurfing sailors to the water, and thanks to the big and sophisticated sails of up to 12 m2, managed to complete the first race of the day, with winds between the 7 and 10 knots.

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Entering day six of competition, the majority of the single elimination had already been completed, leaving only 6 heats to be run in order to declare an official event winner. Following the skippers meeting, the last of round three’s heats got underway in a steady force 4 breeze.

Andre Paskowski (Fanatic, North Sails) put up a stellar fight against his rival, Frenchman Nicolas Akgazciyan (Starboard, Gun Sails) but failed to provide an answer to Nicolas’s smooth repertoirethat , including a super tech voquech diablo, granting Nicolas passage into the quarter finals.

The first quarter final pitched Tonky Frans (F2, Gaastra) against team mate, Kiri Thode (Starboard, Gaastra) and Taty Frans (Starboard, North Sails) against his team mate, Gollito Estredo (Fanatic, North Sails). The steady breeze allowed the riders to throw down their full arsenal of moves.

Kiri unleashed his signature kono, but failed to take down an on form Tonky Frans, who was killing all his moves. Gollito took no prisoners as he ended Taty Frans’s campaign with a run including no handed flakas and a burner.

The second quarter final saw the exit of Ricardo Campello (JP, NeilPryde) to stable mate Spaniard Antxon Otaegui (JP, NeilPryde), and current world champion, Marcilio ‘Brawzinho’ Browne (Mistral, Gaastra) defeat Nicolas Akgazciyan to advance them into the semi final.

The semi final got off to a shaky start after it was cancelled within the first minute and re-run four hours later, only to be cancelled again. For two hours, the entire lake glassed off, making many believe the event would run out of time before the final two heats could be completed.

Following a windless two hours, a line of dark clouds emerged on the far side of the lake, and a line of wind started to move towards the competition area. The riders scrambled to the water and minutes later the semi final started in a gusty 17 knot breeze.

Tonky Frans challenged Gollito in the top half of the draw and Antxon Otaegui battled it out with Brawzinho in the bottom half. Highlights of the heat included Gollito’s now trade mark no handed flaka and Brawzinho’s huge ponch in front of the judging area.

Underdogs Antxon and Tonky gave all they had, sliding into regular stance chachos and flaka 720’s respectively, but failed to match the calibre of Brawzinho and Gollito.

Aftert a quick break to collect the semi final results, the final got going in testing conditions. Gollito and Brawzinho went head to head in the winners final and Antxon and Tonky duelled in the losers final.

Brawzinho wasted no time, laying down a mix of switch stance chachos, one handed bobs and a massive port tack ponch. His rival, Gollito, replied with an assortment of ponch combinations, more no handed flakas and starboard tack burner.

On the other side of the heat, Tonky threw down an aggressive array or Culos, flaka 720s and switch stance chachos. Antxon struggled to get to grips with the heat, crashing many moves that he was consistently making earlier in competition.

Following ten minutes of epic freestyle the horn blew, ending the heat, and signifying the end of the first stop on the freestyle tour. The crowd rushed to the main event stage to hear the final results announced. First place went to Gollito, second to Brawzinho, third to Tonky and forth to Antxon. We caught up with Gollito and Brawzinho:

Gollito “Really, really happy! My final was really good, I competed with Brawzinho. It was really physical with the light wind, but I got my best moves in, I’m just really happy!”

Brawzinho “ I’m pretty happy, I’ve been training a lot for waves in these last few months, so I was pretty anxious about how this event would go, especially when it comes down to light winds and cold conditions, but I’m pretty stoked!”

That concluded the day’s action and the 2008 PWA surf world cup in Podersdorf. The PWA’s next stop is in Korea for the first leg of the slalom 42 series starting on the 12th of May.

Source: PWA World Tour

Johan De Goede has taken out the 2018 Digicape Tand Invitational. The legendary event got underway in pumping eight-to-ten-foot waves in Cape Town, South Africa.

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