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Mondial du Vent PWA World Cup - Day 4 - Van Broeckhoven holds strong against Gollito to defend single elimination crown - Hugo Sousa on form

The trademark Tramontana wind whistled down the Pyrenees Mountains on day four of the Mondial du Vent PWA World Cup, as La Franqui showed its world class potential, whilst the freestyle elite took full advantage of the conditions on offer to deliver an exhilarating day of sailing. There were several epic battles and performances throughout the day, but when it came down to it, it was Steven Van Broeckhoven (JP / NeilPryde), who held his nerve to successfully fend off the challenge of Jose ‘Gollito’ Estredo (Fanatic / North / MFC) in the final - and the Belgian is now on the verge of claiming the opening victory of the year.

Double Elimination

Winners’ Final

Jose ‘Gollito’ Estredo defeated Kiri Thode (Starboard / GA Sails) in heat 50 to setup a repeat of yesterday’s final against Steven Van Broeckhoven - and the battle which ensued was outstanding as both sailors pushed themselves to the limits - move-for-move, toe-to-toe. Van Broeckhoven made the better start to the final as he stomped a big culo and a pasko, whilst Gollito missed his first sail duck. However, with a heat duration of eight minutes there was no need for the six-time world champion to panic and he soon hit back with an impressive air funnel into funnel and then a clinical kabikuchi. Gollito and Van Broeckhoven continued to trade blows - with the former stomping a quite ridiculous culo and a no-handed burner, whilst the latter landed a super technical air funnel-into-burner and an excellent kabikuchi of his own. The Belgian maestro then tried to take things to the next level with a shifty (shaka-into-pushloop) but on this occasion couldn’t quite pull it off. After much deliberation from the judges it was eventually announcement that Van Broeckhoven had come out on top by way of a 3:2 decision - such was the closeness of the duel.

Steven Van Broeckhoven:

“I’m really happy to win again today it was very, very hard against Gollito and before the heat I was a bit nervous. I knew I had good moves on the way in, but wasn’t 100% about the other tack. It was a super close heat and Gollito pushed me all the way.”

Another Belgian to enjoy a fine was Dieter Van der Eyken (Starboard / Severne), who was simply on fire in his opening four heats. Van der Eyken first defeated French local Nicolas Akgazciyan (99NoveNove / Point-7 / AL360 / Maui Ultra Fins), before also going on to beat Davy Scheffers (Tabou / GA Sails), Taty Frans (Starboard / GA Sails / Mystic) and Amado Vrieswijk (JP / Severne) in emphatic fashion - with a combination of powerful air funnels and one-handed burner 360s on both tacks doing the damage, alongside spock-culos and regular chachoos as he demonstrated the majority of his repertoire in a hugely impressive display, which earns him fourth place in the double elimination - his best result to date. The next battle against Kiri Thode (Starboard / GA Sails) proved one step too far on this occasion, but the twenty-three year old showed exactly how good he is today.

Hugo Sousa (RRD / RRD / Maui Ultra Fins) made a strong comeback through the double elimination as he won three successive heats. The Brazilian shot to internet fame a couple of years ago with his radical approach and today he excelled in conditions, which are not too dissimilar to his home spot of Camocim. Sousa’s first victim was Balz Muller (Patrik / Severne), before also dispatching of Sam Esteve (JP / NeilPryde) and perhaps most impressively Adrien Bosson (Fanatic / North / Maui Ultra Fins), which saw Sousa move into thirteenth place. Youp Schmit (99NoveNove / Avanti) was the next challenge for Sousa, and a resail was needed to separate the two sailors - but this time around the decision went to Schmit.

Yentel Caers (JP / NeilPryde) and Romain Pinocheau (F2 / Avanti / Maui Ultra Sails) also deserve a mention today after breaking into the top ten for the first time in their careers - joint ninth respectively. Whilst Nic Hibdige (Tabou / GA Sails / Mystic) and Giovanni Passani (Tabou / GA Sails) also look like exciting young talents at just nineteen. At the moment they sit in joint seventeenth after the double elimination.

The forecast doesn’t look quite as promising for tomorrow, but as always anything can happen. If the wind fails to materialise then we will see the conclusion of the tow-in contest, which will see the top twelve sailors battling it out for the €2,000 prize money. The skippers’ meeting has been called for 10am tomorrow morning, with the first possible start at 10:30am. Don’t miss any of the action by tuning into www.pwaworldtour.com - here you’ll be able to follow the action as it happens via the PWA live stream and live ticker.

Results After Double Elimination - Men’s Freestyle

1st Steven Van Broeckhoven (JP / NeilPryde)
2nd Jose 'Gollito' Estredo (Fanatic / North / MFC)
3rd Kiri Thode (Tabou / GA Sails)
4th Dieter Van der Eyken (Starboard / Severne)

5th Amado Vrieswijk (JP / Severne)

6th Taty Frans (Starboard / GA Sails / Mystic)

7th Davy Scheffers (Tabou / GA Sails)

7th Antony Ruenes (Tabou / GA Sails)

9th Yentel Caers (JP / NeilPryde)

9th Youp Schmit (99NoveNove / Avanti)

9th Nicolas Akgazciyan (99NoveNove / Point-7 / AL360 / Maui Ultra Fins)
9th Romain Pinocheau (F2 / Avanti / Maui Ultra Fins)

Photo : Photo : EricBellande www.direct-image.fr/www.pwaworldtour.com
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