With the forecast for cross-onshore on shore winds gusting up to 40-knots on Sunday and a possible start on Saturday meaning there will be a 2013 KIA Cold Hawaii PWA world cup champion – “Sunday is looking good, Cold Hawaii is going to light up,” Duncan Coombs, the PWA head judge said - thoughts have turned to how to depose the king. Philip Köster, the 19-year-old wunderkind from Gran Canaria, is the manboy to beat in windsurfing, but the rider whose title he took, Victor Fernandez Lopez, is much more confident than most that he can take on Köster on in all the conditions that Cold Hawaii can bring. It promises to be spectacular finish.
“When the wind comes back, I’m ready to compete,” Fernandez, the 29-year-old world number two from Almerimar, said. After losing to Köster in a high-quality, close-fought final in the only other event this year in Tenerife in August, he is eager to win.
“I think it’s possible,” he said. “I’m trying hard. But it’s not just Köster I have to beat, the level is really high. We saw (Thomas) Traversa beating Köster here in Cold Hawaii final last year.”
That confidence is not shared by most of the rest of the fleet, to whom Köster has appeared like a colossus since becoming world champion in 2011 and retaining his title in 2012.
“I think it’s good if there are different events and conditions, but right now Philip is really strong, so it’s going to hard, it’s to be really hard,” Alex Mussolini, the 28-year-old world number three from Barcelona, said. “I always battle for the top ten and if I do better than that, fine, if I’m out of the top ten then I wouldn’t be happy.
“I’m very cautious because everyone is very good, so I never see myself as better, I just take it heat by heat, I never look at the future.”
That edge of fatalism in the face of Köster is common in the fleet outside of Fernandez. But if the world cup events in Maui and Chile are confirmed this year it will dramatically change the balance of tour dominated by onshore port tack sailing in the Tenerife and Gran Canaria events.
“Last year we had four contests in the PWA World Cup, this year we could have six,” Fernandez said. “Most of them have been port tack. This year we could be competing in Maui where wind comes from the opposite way (starboard tack). Köster will surely do really good there too but not as good as in the Canaries or here in Cold Hawaii. This will mean that there will be more guys who can be at the top of the podium, not just Köster. I was world wave champion in 2010. I beat Köster in the final in his home spot (Pozo).
"In the last few years I’ve been second and really close to him. In Tenerife we were against each other in the final again and I was really close to winning it. It’s just a few things that have to come right in the heat, in those 15 minutes, to beat Köster. For sure he is the guy to beat. And for me it would mean a lot to be world wave champion again.”
World cup weather forecast: Duncan Coombs, PWA head judge: “Over the course of today the forecast for Sunday is now looking good with up to 40-knot gusts. Cold Hawaii is going to light up. We should see some high-quality jumping. What started on Tuesday as a down the line wave riding competition looks like it’s going to finish as side-onshore jumping competition and a strong one with a south-west wind veering north west and increasing. There is potential for competition late on Saturday but Sunday has much more solid conditions.”