Article courtesy of Alexis Rovira, from The Kiteboarder Magazine
The second day of the 2019 Master of the Ocean event started with an excitement in the air as event organizers began the early morning heats with the overall SUP competition. In heat one, defending champion Zane Schweitzer and MacRae Wylde paddled out in clean waist to shoulder high surf. Zane stuck first with a nice clean wave and proceeded to attack it from top to bottom. By the end of the wave, he had totally shredded it and the crowd on hand erupted in cheers. MacRae, unfazed by this, quickly countered with a good wave of his own. A duel ensued. The younger Zane was keen not to lose control of the heat and stayed ahead by skillfully picking the better waves and aggressively tearing them apart. As the buzzer sounded, the victory was all Schweitzer, and Wylde could hold his head high knowing that he had given it his all.
Heat two of round one pitted Samuel Perez-Hults against Oscar de la Cruz, Brian Talma and Francis Gonzalez. Samuel and Talma jumped ahead with a wave apiece. Cruz and Gonzales each caught waves but could not get the points to advance. Talma snook ahead at one point in the heat and held on to the lead, but in the final minutes, Samuel managed to get the wave he needed to win the heat. As heat three paddled out into the lineup, which included Fiona Wylde, Brandon Stanford and Christopher Bünger, Fiona eyed some incoming sets and positioned herself in a key spot. Stanford, who is a keen surfer, spotted a good wave and proceeded to carve it all the way to the beach. Fiona waited for the bigger waves and the judges rewarded her accordingly which helped her advance in first place to the next round. Although Bünger managed to catch a few waves, could not quite find a groove to get the necessary points to advance, so Brandon held on to second place.
The final heat of round one included Lucian Gonzales, Maarja Kivistik and Franklin Mieses. As the waves shifted, competitors scavenged the lineup to find the cleaner, open faces and get those valuable points on the board. After what felt like the longest heat, Gonzales finished first with three good waves, Mieses in second and Kivistik in third.
Next up on the event schedule was prone surfing. In heat one Zane Schweitzer and MacRae Wylde were paired up. Both competitors were keenly aware of how quickly the conditions were changing and made adjustments throughout the heat. Short and quick sets made for a fast paced heat with Zane taking first and MacRae taking second. Heat two had Samuel Perez-Hults, Francis Gonzalez and Brian Talma weaving through the sets in the 15 minutes of allotted time. Each one of them scanning the horizon to best position themselves and score whatever waves provided them with points. Sammy took the heat win, with Francis in second and Brian rounding out third. Heat three made its way out to slightly better conditions with Brandon Sanford, Fiona Wylde and Christopher Bünger hitting the water. Brandon scored quickly and stayed ahead of everyone winning the heat. Fiona stayed active with a few good waves and landed in second, followed by Christopher in third.
The final heat of round one of the overall surf category included Luciano Gonzalez, Franklin Mieses and Maarja Kivistik. Luciano made the best of the heat taking first, followed by Franklin in second and Maarja in third. The judges met after talking with riders and decided that the finals of the B bracket of the overall SUP category should be run. Maarja Kivistik, Oscar de la Cruz, Francis Gonzalez and Christopher Bünger worked their way from one side of the competition area to the other in hopes of finding those magic waves to help take the win.
By noon, a riders meeting was held and overall kitesurfing heats would commence. Heat one began with Zane Schweitzer and MacRae Wylde going out. As the trade winds increased, many in the first heat opted to start farther north of the event site in hopes of catching better waves. Zane made a quick study of the conditions and stayed upwind. This strategy enabled him to catch the best waves of the heat and win it. MacRae, having had Zane in quite a few prior heats, stayed up with him and came in second. Samuel Perez-Hults, determined to win heat two, worked hard to align himself with the best waves and scored tops points in doing so. Francis Gonzalez, not fazed by Samuel’s flurry of activity, had a valiant performance and secured a second place win. Rounding out the results in third place was Oscar de la Cruz and in fourth was Brian Talma.
Heat three saw a heated battle between Brandon Sanford, Fiona Wylde and Christopher Bünger. Less than halfway through the heat, Fiona and Brandon tangled badly. Both riders had to eject their kites and swim in. The judges then made the call to redo the heat after heat four. Heat four had Luciano Gonzalez, Franklin Mieses and Maarja Kivistik. All three riders made the best out of the now shifting conditions and each of them caught decent waves, and in the end, turned out to be a very close heat. Luciano finished first, with Franklin in a close second and Maarja in third. Heat three redo brought a new sense of urgency between Fiona, Brandon and Christopher. Brandon struck first with a great wave that had him linking turns and that continued with his next few waves to secure the win. Christopher managed to get some great waves also and came in second. Fiona fought hard to stay in the mix and ended up in third.
Moving into the first semi finals was Francis Gonzalez, Franklin Mieses and Zane Schweitzer. Francis, made fast work of the heat and finished first while Franklin scored enough points to move into second and Zane into third. Semi finals number two had Luciano Gonzalez, Samuel Perez Hults,Christopher Bünger and MacRae Wylde. All four riders moved quickly to score points on the board. Luciano scored the highest totals and advanced to the finals. Sammy came in a super close second and MacRae landed in third.
With howling winds and some overhead sets rolling in, event organizers then decided to runs the finals of the overall windsurfing event. Zane Schweitzer, Brian Talma, Samuel Perez and Frederico bolted out onto the water as the starting horn blew. A flurry of backtloops and big airs followed as each of the riders attacked the waves. The large crowd cheered as each one of the competitors went from one wave to the next. Frederico pulled off one of the cleanest frontloops of the event and scored high marks. Zane, ever the showman, showed the crowd why he’s one of the top water athletes in the world. Samuel, not to be left behind, stayed right in the mix and caught some great waves. Brian “Action Man” did not disappoint either; he performed as good as they come with plenty of solid waves as well. The results for the overall windsurf will be announced at the awards ceremony.