Article courtesy of Alexis Rovira, from The Kiteboarder Magazine
Dark ominous clouds had rolled in over night and greeted the contestants in the early morning hours of the 2019 Mast of the Ocean. With the overall (counting towards a combined champion of all four categories) portion of the contest neatly completed, this was the first day of the expression session portion of the event. Athletes could enter and compete in any of the four disciplines; SUP, Windsurf, Surf and Kitesurf. This format was run as individual events and does not count towards the overall MOTO standings. The beginning heats of the morning started a little past 8am, with the first of three heats in the expression session SUP.
Heat one pitted Fiona Wylde against Maarja Kivistik and Zane Schweitzer. All three worried about the approaching storm out in the distance before taking to the water to begin heat one. Zane, who was quick as lighting, scampered out to the peak and whipped around just as the first set came in. Locking in on a waist high wave, he drove down the line and snapped a series of turns and kicked out near the shoreline. This set the pace as he continued to gain better and better waves as the heat went on and ended up with the win at the end of the heat. Fiona and Maarja kept busy as well with a their waves counts and finished the heat second and third respectively.
Brian Talma faced two of the local DR boys, Dauri and Guillaume, in heat two. Dauri, seeking to make a name for himself, drew blood quickly with a sweet shoulder high wave that held up and delivered high scores for his first wave. Guillaume pounced on two good waves back to back. By 9am, a nasty rain storm rolled in and forced event organizers to stop the heat until it passed. Less than 20 minutes later and the heat was back on with Brian looping around the first set wave and paddling into one of the bigger waves of the heat. Seeing this, Dauri picked off the following wave and added another great score to the board. Brian made his way back out and snagged a keeper just as the horn went off to finish the heat. Dauri took the win, Brian came in second and Guillaume in third.
Heat three started with Brandon Stanford, MacRae Wylde, Samuel Perez-Hults and Chulo. The sun peaked out behind the clouds and brought with it rays of sunlight beaming down onto the event site. Samuel and Chulo each caught enough good wave in the heat to finish third and second. MacRae, feeling the soreness from previous days of competing, still managed to pick off a couple of decent waves, but they weren’t enough to get him past a fourth place finish. Brandon, who’s wave selection was the best out of the heat was rewarded with a first-place finish.
After a 20 min break, the expression session SUP semi-finals began with heat one and then was followed by heat two. Plenty of fierce action in both heats saw competitors battle for the four spots in the finals with Daur coming in first in heat one, followed by Fiona Wylde in second and Brandon Stanford in third. Heat two’s victory went to Zane Schweitzer, then Brian Talma in second and Chulo in third.
The first four rounds of the expression session surf were a series of 15-minute heats that came and went before you knew it. Standouts Maranjana, Pedro, Luciano Gonzalez and Tito all won their heats and moved to the semifinals. This also included second-place finishers Zane Schweitzer, Fiona Wylde, May and Brandon Stanford.
Seeing a solid dark wind line on the horizon, event organizers moved quickly to start the expression session SUP semifinals. Taking the heat one win was Dauri and in second was Fiona Wylde. The heat two winner was Zane Schweitzer with a masterful combo of waves and finishing second was “Action Man” Brian Talma.
With a few riders just having completed the previous heats, many took a 2o minute break to refuel before the start of the expression session surf semifinals. Tito took first in the first heat, followed by Pedro in second. In heat two. May took the win followed by Zane Schweitzer in second.
At a little after 1pm, with the winds having reached the low to mid 20’s. The four expression session kite heats commenced in a rapid succession. In the first heat, Alexis finished in first and Andreas came in second; two high fived each other as they came off the water knowing they had advanced. In heat two, Zane Schweitzer and Luciano Gonzales, both not at all strangers to knowing what it takes to advance, came in first and second. Heat three saw a to the horn battle between Samuel Perez-Hults taking fist and Joselito in second. Heat four also had a three way punch-out between Brandon Stanford who took second, Brian Talma in third and Emmanuel Rondon who won the heat.
By mid-afternoon, the winds picked up a notch and a call was made to run the three heats of the expression session windsurfing. Heat one winner Zane Schweitzer put on an aggressive display of moves amd left many in the heat flat. Christopher Bünger kept his head in the game and ended up in second place. Heat two pitted the two Wyldes, Fiona and MacRae against each other. Fiona outpaced her father to take second and the ever nimble Samuel Perez-Hults finished first. In heat three both Matt and Brian Talma advanced.
The final two heats of the day were the windsurfing semi-finals of the expression session. Fiona Wylde, Brian Talma and Zane Schweitzer all moved in on the growing waves like hungry wolves. Brian dug into a big wave and gained a nice high score. Fiona picked off a clean one off to the side and milked it to the end. Zane tried to strike gold with his wave selections and ended up in second. Brian pinched out a final wave towards the end and finished in first. Heat two saw no less a dramatic finish with Samuel pulling out all the stops with front loops, big hacks off the top and plenty of style in order to take first. Christopher Bünger showed his versatility and made sure he ticked off all the judge’s boxes to claim second place.