Klaas Makes Waves On Epic Day In Denmark

Near perfect conditions for Wave windsurfing saw spectacular moves and the top two seeds roar back from the reef in Klitmøller, Denmark, on day three of the KIA Cold Hawaii PWA World Cup. “Epic conditions, the best conditions I can remember for a port tack wave event (waves breaking from the left) in the Northern Hemisphere,” Duncan Coombs, the head judge, said. “Because it was side offshore with really good waves, down the line wave jumping.”

“You saw wave sailing at its highest level. Out of a maximum of 30 points, (Klaas) Voget scored 24 points, with a wave and jump combination that’s pretty high.”

The only shame on a sublime day of three and a half metre swells and down the line wave sailing in North West Denmark, was that it finished early.  Following some serious rain, the wind dropped off in the afternoon from 25 knots plus south westerlies to less than 15 more onshore westerlies. They tried again at 6pm, but called it off almost immediately with at least eight rounds of the double eliminator still to go. More onshore wind is forecast tomorrow, which will make it choppy and favour the better jumpers.

Voget, the number one seed, beaten by Philip Köster in the last 16 of the single eliminator, yesterday, showed his class and the value of local knowledge. Having spent the last 15 years driving up to Klitmøller from Hamburg, Voget was at home with the strong current pulling downwind off the musselreef that unsettled many of his peers. A one handed backloop and a big frontside aerial in his one heat will live long in the memory, but it was the quality of his wave riding, on a 72 litre quad fin with 4.2 metre sail,  that impressed most. Voget read and rode Klitmøller’s shifting peak.

“I would have love to have sailed more in those conditions,” Voget said. “My heat it was mast high wind, aerials, down the line wave sailing. This is pretty much the best when the wind is west before and then swing south-west. Tomorrow is going to be pretty onshore, it’s going to be really difficult. It’s going to be more towards the jumping orientated guys.”

“I’ve sailed here a lot so I knew you have to stay a bit more upwind if you want to hit the section. If you’re coming in on section you’re too downwind and then you are going to make your bottom turn underneath but not into your section.”

It was conditions like this that persuaded Sport Event Denmark and the Danish Sailing Association to swing their financial muscle behind Klitmøller and allow it to become PWA venue. It may prove a watershed in the PWA tour as the Danes have made this the first PWA tour event to go out on live feed on the internet and more than 12,000 unique users signed in from around the world to see jumps they had only ever had described live before. Every rider has talked excitedly about the technology as they receive messages from friends and family watching at home and chat to fans online. It has opened up a sometimes enclosed sport and can only boost the sport and the Danish bid to host the ISAF World Sailing Championships in 2014.

Before Voget got out on the water the tallest and shortest men in the field posted some of the best rides. “Lampy and Mini George, (aka Martin Ten Hoeve and Jamie Hancock) were both impressive,” Coombs said. Ten Hoeve, standing 2.05 metre is not always such a flying Dutchman, but he shocked Marcos Perez in the morning before bowing out to Jonas Ceballos in the third round. Hancock, the diminutive Briton and one of the lowest ranked riders in the 48-strong field, having been given a PWA wildcard, lives to fight another day after some last gasp wins in his three rounds. Much more of this and people may even call him by his own name. “We call him Mini George because he’s so small and George is a nickname everyone got,” Coombs said. “If you didn’t know someone’s name you just called them George, when he was new on the scene no one knew his name so he was mini George.”

Victor Fernandez Lopez, the number two seed and current tour leader began the long way back to the leaders. He was dumped out after one heat on Tuesday, but produced three near faultless victories before the wind dropped today. Voget’s regular tour travel partner, Fernandez Lopez made his third visit to Klitmøller with the German, just before the start of this event. Fate sees both coming through the bottom half of this draw and due to collide in the next round. Both would need to win nine rounds to win the event.

“I think he (Fernandez Lopez) was on form, Coombs said. “He’s sailed this spot before with Voget, his timing was really good today. He didn’t really make any mistakes. It was a shame the conditions dropped, because I think he would have come through into the top five. I think he would have liked maybe two more heats, because he’s still got a long way to go.”

“Two years ago we had a really good day here, but not as offshore as today,” Fernandez Lopez said as he walked back in the gear tent with Voget. “It was much better today (than yesterday),” Fernandez Lopez said. “I have the chance to still make it better, but to win it is almost impossible.”

“Nothing is impossible,” Voget said to his friend with only half a smile as they headed home.

Editor’s Notes:

The Kia Cold Hawaii PWA World Cup is just one of many major international sailing events in Denmark in recent years. This summer, Denmark has hosted several major sailing events such as the SAP 505 World Championship and the RS:X World Championships. Also, Denmark is bidding for the ISAF Sailing World Championship 2014, which is the World Championship for all Olympic boat classes and the most important qualification event for the Olympic Games 2016 in Rio. Denmark's official bid for the ISAF Sailing World Championship 2014 is handed in this autumn.

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