PWA Grand Slam 2011: Day 1 In Vietnam

High expectations plus clear, blue skies and warm water provided for an amazing day of competition in Mui Ne, Vietnam - Asiaís first ever PWA freestyle Grand Slam.

PWA Grand Slam 2011 Vietnam.  Photo: PWADay 1 of the 2011 PWA Grand Slam in Vietnam started with Kiri Thode getting into the Mui Ne rhythm to secure a single elimination victory.

Most of the freestyle fleet arrived a few days early in Vietnam to get a feel for the conditions. It was obvious from the first single elimination that Mui Ne was unlike any of the other competition locations.

The venue is fairly unique in that the beach shelves are at such a steep angle that the shore break actually back washes into the open sea. This produces a double-up effect for several hundred meters out into the competition area. The windsurfers took advantage of this effect by using it to launch into pushloops and backloops, but they had trouble finding launch zones on the way in. Thus, the fleet was forced to adapt their routines to focus primarily on high magnitude and aerial moves.

After the 1.00pm skippers’ meeting, it was decided that the 22-man fleet would compete, man on man, in 7-minute heats. Each tack was limited to 7 moves, of which the four highest scoring moves would count towards the final score.

Tonky Frans took it upon himself to eliminate Steven Van Broeckhoven early on by slamming a back loop and a pushloop off the afternoon’s building ramps.

Jose Estredo, who defeated Davy Scheffers with a defiant aerial display, and Kiri Thode also made it to the quarter finals. This meant two face-offs: one between Thode and Taty Frans and the other between Estredo Tonky Frans.

Estredo and Thode were rewarded for their more diverse and cleanly stuck moves in Vietnam, leaving the Frans brothers to fight it out for third. The pair is known to show no mercy and is always attempts moves that the majority of competitors would not even consider. This loser’s final was no exception.

Tonky Frans relentlessly nailed his pushloops and backloops, but the third position was awarded to Taty for his technically smooth sliding moves on the inside and explosive aerial moves on the way out.

Estredo vs. Thode finals are always unpredictable and both competitors churned out multiple combinations with machine-like precision. In the end, Kiri Thode was declared the victor on Day 1 of the 2011 PWA Grand Slam in Vietnam.

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