This was my 5th Gran Canaria event in a row, and I have gradually been spending more time there every year! I think the next step for me is to actually move to the Canaries because it feels like I can never get enough practice in. Besides that it feels like a second home with all the welcoming locals.
This year it seemed like there was a youth invasion. That was so cool to see! I think for the youth competition there were 48 participants out of which, 11 girls. If anything, I was hugely motivated by these kids busting out forwards and backloops.
This year I arrived in Gran Canaria in a different mind state.
I didn’t have to think about slalom, and I had just spent 2 months in Aruba with my family.
I was pumped to get into waves once I arrived in GC and decided I wanted to go all in.
All in, because last year I felt like I had a bit of a mental block, as I couldn’t properly get around my pushloops anymore. I also had a hard time committing to backloops because I was afraid to land flat and hurt myself. iI wanted and needed to get passed that fear this year, for myself. The goal was to get my back loops and stalled forwards on lockdown.
Gollito and I were one of the first ones to arrive and it’s been fun sharing some sessions since we both come from freestyle. It is incredible to see this guy train. He is really eager to improve and seems to have no fear going for the jumps. Finally after 10 days or so, in one session with him it clicked for me and I started launching into bigger pushloops where I would normally hold back. Oh man, SUCH a liberating feeling to go past your imagined limits.
I soon started going for bigger stalled forwards and landed my highest one at the time. I’m not so sure about that quote: “ beyond fear lies freedom”. All that lay beyond for me was shock I think.
My arms and legs were shaking for 10 minutes after. Although I landed it quite perfectly that adrenaline dose was maybe a tad bit too much for me to handle, so I toned it down for the rest of that session hahaha.
I was struggling a bit in the beginning of my trip because I had developed this bump on the side of my foot from freestyling so much. It was seriously painful and would cut my sessions short if I knocked it on my strap. Thanks to Hakon and Jeager for helping me out. The quick fix? Just made my straps wider so that the pressure point was not on the side of my foot anymore.
Unfortunately progress isn’t linear so I had some mediocre days, but then on my birthday I had the most amazing session practicing wave 360’s, nailing tweaked Pushies and Backloops. I loved sailing that week. The tide was perfect for late sessions. I shared those sunset sessions with Graham Ezzy, Henri Kolberg and Jake Schettewi three days in a row.
I trained mostly on 3,7. But like every year, the wind just goes next level during the contest. I never saw my 3,7 or bigger sails again. It was me and my 3,3 for the rest of the week. I made sure to get my fin settings right this time. I was using my new Maui ultra fins thruster setup for my 76L Ultrakode: 10cm side fins and 17,5 for the big fin. Last year I got a bit lost sorting this out using way too big fins, but now my setup worked great.
The biggest news of the week: Equal Prize money for both men and women.
Iballa and Daida are the event organizers and I’m sure they have been working to make this happen for a very long time. Of course there will be many opinions on this subject. However I’m happy and grateful to have been a part of this and I think it’s a step in the right direction.
As for the contest. I think it took me to another level yet again.
In my first heat against Maaike, I did my biggest tweaked pushie ever. I came back to the beach mega excited, and then got told off by Ricardo: You have to go higher !! Oh, okay mister astronaut….!
I feel like I poured my everything in all the heats I did in the single elimination.
I was up against Daida in the semi finals, and I wanted to do well really badly.
I was quite happy about my heat landing another stalled forward for the books for me, however I think I could have done better on the waves. I lost the heat by 0,3 points. Maybe a tough pill to swallow, but overall I was more motivated than disappointed by that loss. As long as I could give it another go in the double elimination. Finally I finished 3rd place after facing Justyna in the loser’s final.
In the double elimination I managed to defend my 3rd place against Lina Erpenstein. I didn’t have the greatest heat after that, I was nervous trying to get my wave rides right and became very stiff in my turns, although my jumps were okay. Anyway I advanced over Iballa as well and secured a second place finish in Pozo! I was so excited to get the chance to sail the final against Daida, and just as I was going out to sail they called it off for the day. Noooooo, not now when I got the momentum going !!
The next morning I woke up in a different state of mind. It felt like it was the windiest day of the week, when it actually wasn’t, but I think I blew it all up in my mind. Before my heat even started I had already pretty much thrown in the towel. I was scared and couldn’t get myself to commit to jumps. I borrowed Robby’s 3,0 which turned out to be too small, switched to 3,3 and did some okay wave rides, but I came back to the beach defeated. Daida had an amazing heat, my respect for her performance in those conditions. I was well disappointed in myself for a while, because I let the fear take over. Last time that happened was in Maui when the waves were huge and I abandoned the heat. In the meantime Phillip Koster was trying triple forwards and Marcilio was ripping the waves apart in the men’s final. That was awesome to watch! It’s just going to take more practice to get to the level I have envisioned.
Walking away with a 2nd place in Pozo feels amazing though. I feel like I’m moving in the right direction.
Big thank you to all the girls on the beach caddying and supporting me during that final.
The girls level, was NEXT level this year aaaaahhh!!!!
Let’s. keep. it. rolling!
For me Gran Canaria is almost only about the weeks leading up to the contest.
Apart from sailing myself I love watching all the other pro’s go crazy on the water.
It’s really a treat to see such a high level. The competition is just the cherry on top, because you get the spot to yourself. I’ll miss the Rooftop BBQ’s, adventures to the south, and eating out. It’s just such a good time that sometimes I almost don’t want the contest to start, because it means I will have to leave soon.
Nonetheless, that was a great event organized by the twins and their team. Thank you.
Special thanks to my parents for coming over and experiencing the contest with me.
Make sure to watch Continentseven’s video at the bottom that pretty much sums up the whole contests!