With some clouds showing on the Saturday morning of 15 December, some doubts were raised about the reliability of the forecast NEer Wanda has been so famed for. A big turnout had gathered for the DuoTone Wanda Wave Event of the Summer Wavesailing Series presented by WindSurfnSnow, and all were hoping the conditions would not let them down.
These fears were allayed early afternoon when the wind started to pick up. Some medium-sized waves were rolling in, creating a heavy break in close for those willing to take it on, and after just a few heats the wind became strong enough for jumping to be counted.
First up was the Masters. Stephen Robinson managed to upset season leader Dean Hendrie in the opening heat of the competition with solid wave scores. In the second heat, Queenslander, and former Australian champion Oli Barta took first place in what was his first heat of the season.
In the Opens, Mattel Petricone caused another upset, beating Darren Pasco to win his heat, whilst Zack Coleman progressed first in his heat with an aerial-off-the-lip right in front of the judges, and Adrian Levy managed to edge in front of Max Gaubert who was pulling off some big jumps.
The action only increased as sailors went all-in for the repechage and semi-final rounds. Rob Jacobs showed flair in the Masters with a big back loop attempt, and stalwart Warren Holder also fought hard. Ultimately it was Dean Hendrie who won the semi, but the biggest standout was Jamie Hamill who fought his way from the repechage round through to the final, clinching a crucial second place in the semi.
In the Opens, Francois Pialoux was forced to fight his way to the final all the way from the repechage heat. Along the way Pialoux had to fight off a tough challenge from Gaubert who, only a few minutes into his heat, threw out a perfect pushloop; Pasco, the on-fire newcomer to Opens division; and Peter Puhl, who was nailing some big forwards and powerful wave rides of his own.
After an anxious wait, it was time for the Juniors to hit the water. It was a close affair between Juniors leader James Fink and the Pitcher twins Adam and Daniel. Fink had the highest jump score his big backloop attempt, while Adam had the highest scoring waves. It was ultimately Fink though, who managed to just edge ahead of Adam to take out the win.
Finally, it would time for the Masters final. The clouds began to rumble, and the heat got underway. A few minutes in, Robinson had taken the lead, landing a forward loop and starting to build his waves score. Six minutes in however, the heat had to be suspended, with the judges rightly putting the event on hold due an unacceptable lightning risk. The decision was made to finish the final on Sunday, giving competitors a chance to recover.
Come Sunday – finals day, the wind was high, and tensions were even higher. First up was the continuation of the suspended Masters final. Hamill, Barta, Hendrie and Robinson were all sailing at a high level, with each competitor nailing there own forward loops. Ultimately it was Robinson, whose wave scores allowed him to scrape ahead of Hendrie for his maiden win of the season.
Next up was the Juniors final with James Fink and the Pitcher twins again taking to the water. The result was much a repeat of the previous day with Fink taking out the win, followed by Adam and Daniel.
Finally it was time for the Opens finalists to come together, with Pettricone, Coleman, Levy and Pialoux set to face-off. All competitors landed jumps, and got some good waves, proving for a close title fight. After two days battling it out, it was Levy who took out the crown, followed by Pialoux, Coleman then Pettricone.
The final event of the competition was the Women’s final, where Jessica Crisp would take on Catriona Fleet for the title. Fleet fought hard, but Crisp manage to pull together a few wave rides that got her the points she needed.
DuoTone Wanda Wave Event Final Results
- Adrian Levy
- Francois Pialoux
- Zack Coleman
- Jessica Crisp
- Catriona Fleet
- James Fink
- Adam Pitcher
- Daniel Pitcher
- Stephen Robinson
- Dean Hendrie
- Jamie Hamill
- Oli Barta
- Rob Jacobs
- Warren Holder
- Aidan Liddy