Lo and behold, a bracket for the single elimination for the final PWA contest in Cabo Verde. I put this together with my rudimentary excel skills because something deep inside compelled me. I'm a fan of sports and speculation in the normal world of football, soccer (for my euro readers) basketball, and sometimes baseball. I've always felt like there is no reason that my obsession and over analysis shouldn't reach into the pro windsurfing world. In this post, I'll be revealing my picks for the Cabo Verde event based upon what I've seen from countless hours of watching windsurfing video and my intuition about the sailors involved and the site of Punta Preta in Cabo Verde. I will probably play favorites based upon sailors I've met, and give them the benefit of the doubt over those I haven't. My American homerism will likely be quickly sniffed out.
So let's first discuss how the spot of Punta Preta Cabo Verde affects the potential outcome of this event. Here's what we know about Punta Preta. This is a point break with Large to Extra Large waves. The wind can be strong, but also not super strong. The wind is very offshore which makes it a little better for wave riding rather than jumping. If someone wants to correct me on these facts, please do! Punta Preta favors starboard tack sailors who are especially good ON the wave. This is an interesting fold because many of the top ten wavesailors on the PWA rankings are there because of their skill on port tack side-on to onshore wave contests, essentially JUMPING contests, not wave riding contests.
What we typically have at Punta Preta is a wave-riding contest. Wave-riding is a very subjective thing to judge. Why? Because a lot of the scoring doesn't circle around the number of turns, or the amplitude of air on an aerial. The judging is mostly about the style. Sure, being around the critical section of the wave is very important. All of these guys can be in the right place, but still a huge question is would the judges rather see a very fast, drivey wave where the sailor covers a ton of ground, lays down big bottom turns and airs out across big lips, or will they be more interested in those slashy top turns, slowly progressing down the wave , but staying very vertical? In my mind, I'm seeing yet another final heat between Josh Angulo and Kauli Seadi that will be pinning those two exact styles against one-another. For first place, yet again.
A bracket is more than a list of names. It's a chance to imagine some of these heats going on. Let's take a look at a couple very interesting first round heats.
Here are two heats in a particular that strike me as very interesting. The top heat with Ojeda, Albeau, Swift and Porcela has some interesting things going on. I'm going to put Ojeda in the "happy to be here" category, because just getting to the event and getting to sail that wave on the sponsor's dime is enough to make anyone happy. He's a Pozo guy. A port tack jumping guy. I don't see him doing much compared to the guys who sail Ho'okipa. He's ranked in the top 10 right now, but that's because most of the tour so far has been jumping contests. Swifty on the other hand is a shoe-in to advance. He's got some of the best stuff for down the line wave sailing of anyone on the tour. The interesting part of this heat is Albeau vs. Porcella. Porcella has tons of experience on starboard tack wave sailing from living on Maui for all these years. He's a fearless, amazing jumper. That said I think of him more of a "soul surfer" type. I can't think of an contest where he's sailed an incredible heat. On the other hand, you have Antoine Albeau, who LIVES for competition in all kinds of sailing. Although he isn't as focused on waves, he can nail backloops with a lot of consistency and he definitely knows how to ride a wave. My brain tells me to pick Albeau for his competitive pedigree, but my heart is going with Porcella on this one.
The next heat is Skye, Lenny, Koster, and Polakow. Wow. Skye is ranked 11, and I think deservedly so, so I'll give the top spot of the heat to the Brit. He spends a good amount of time on Maui, so I think he's a no brainer to advance. What we have otherwise is Lenny and Koster, current wonderkids, and Polakow, former extreme wonderkid. You have the think that Kai and Phillip have got to be thinking of each other as rivals. Kai was the main kid we've been seeing via the Windsurfing Movies, then last year, out of nowhere Koster busts onto the scene landing double forwards seemingly while yawning in the Canary Islands. Koster has won first place in Pozo! Kai hasn't had any competition results that come close to that, so I'm sure he'll have a chip on his shoulder to beat Philip in conditions that perfectly suit his Maui experience. That said, I think they will be competing for 3rd place given Polakow's hefty experience advantage. Neither of the young guns will advance this year. It will be interesting to see how the double elimination bracket will sort itself out to see which one of the two will end up on top for the final standings of the year.
Now I will reveal my final single elimination bracket:
A couple other things to note:
I like Pritchard to have a good outing, that might be me being a homer. He's ridden 10 bajillion starboard tack waves, so you have to like his chances. Marcilio Browne could be out early, and for sure by the 2nd round. I think his recent foot injury is going to be too much to overcome. Bad luck for him, considering what a pleasure he is to watch. The title race is for sure very interesting. Campello in 2nd in wave? Am I seeing things? Victor in first, due to all the port tack jumping. I think Kauli will high-step to the endzone for the victory, but will he get enough points to hold off the kings of jumping and win the championship? Kauli needs to hope these two guys do bad in addition to winning the event!
I believe there will be video broadcast here: http://caboverdeworldcup.com/
Also, if you'd like an excel version of the bracket, email me at email@example.com.
If you pick more brackets correctly than me, I will mail you something San Francisco or windsurfing related.
And to make the post at least somewhat visually interesting, here's a picture of Punta Preta that I did not get permission to use.