The Grand Masters and Masters divisions at the 2017 Aloha Classic took to the water on Friday, featuring a mix of local legends, tour veterans and highly-skilled riders from across the world. The windsurfing competition entered day six at Hoʻokipa on Maui’s North Shore.
head judge, Duncan Coombs weighed in calling Greg Aguera the standout sailor in the Grand Masters age group. “He had the highest heat totals of the day and was really ripping it up… Aguera has made it into the final, and if he can continue with that kind of form he’s going to be tough to beat. Colin Baker has been putting in some good turns too, but Aguera has to be the one to watch.”
In the Masters, Coombs said Michi Schweiger did well and Pascal Hardy was “hot and cold.” “I would say the likes of Schweiger, Sean Aiken and Kai Katchadourian have been more consistent so far. We got up to the second semi-final in the Masters but had to abandon the heat. That was the first heat we cancelled in the contest; there wasn’t really enough to differentiate between the riders in that heat, which is why we cancelled. Schweiger had got his waves, but the other 3 hadn’t – when they did get waves there just wasn’t the wind on the wave to be able to do much with it.”
According to Coombs, the second semi-final of the Masters “will be a close battle” when it is run again. “Paul Karaolides sailed very well in his first round heat and took the win against Hardy, Ferdinando Loffreda and Bergeron, it is going to be very tough which is why we wanted to see it in better conditions, to make it less of a lottery,” he said.
In the Grand Masters (55+ years) heat 1, Tom Garcia’s clocked in stylish rides in relatively small wave conditions. Rob Funk stepped it up in heat 2, getting more critical than what had been seen from the earlier riders. Scott Shoemaker was a late addition to the bracket, but proved himself, taking second place in this heat.
In heat 3 Greg Aguera struggled to find a good wave in the first half of the heat, while Colin Baker took a couple of set rides. Aguera then earned an 8.5 score with two aggressive vertical attempts. Both riders followed up with another good scoring wave, but it was Aguera who took the win with a 15.23 total.
Paul Cassidy that rounded off the first round of the Grand Masters with the heat win. Contest organizers say Cassidy showed some great wave selection in the smaller conditions, and made the most of each ride.
The second round of the Grand Masters provided another chance for the riders that didn’t advance from the first. After just losing out in his first heat, Colin Bake showed what he is capable of with a couple of 5+ point waves, giving him the win. Shoemaker won the next heat by scoring some solid turns.
Grand Masters Semi-finals
In the semi-finals of the Grand Masters, Baker continued to fight through, taking another win, with one more well put together heat. Rob Funk also performed well. In the second semi Aguera showed his dominance with a couple of 6+ point waves. Mike Colee also put in a great performance, taking the last spot in the final.
In the first round of the Masters it was Sean Aiken, Brian Talma and Glenn Haslbeck that all put on a show, with a very close and extremely busy heat. The riders picked off 8 to 9 waves each, with less that a point separating the 3 of them at the end. But, it was Aiken who had the edge over the other two, with a slightly more aggressive style.
Kai Katchadourian was the man to watch in heat 2, as he threw some trademark spray to put him ahead of the other riders. Heat 3 saw 5 men take to the water, in a stacked heat; with Paul Karaolides, of Fishbowl Diaries, who stood out to the judges with great wave selection and vertical turns, putting together the best heat. Just behind him, less than 0.2 separated Patrick Bergeron and Ferdinando Loffreda, with Loffreda just taking second place. The final heat of the first round of the Masters saw Michi Schweiger earning two 6-point waves giving him the win.
Heat 5 of the Masters, which was the only heat in round two, opened up with both Patrick Bergeron and Pascal Hardy going full power. It went right down to the wire, with Hardy needing a 5.8 wave to take the win. His last wave scored him a 5.5, giving the heat win to Bergeron, though both riders advanced to the next round.
In the first heat of the third round, Loffreda snuck ahead of Loris Laezza taking the win with his full power style. Heat 7 was a close battle between Taun Masterton and Martin Bergeron. Bergeron got wave after wave, but it was Masterton that took the win in the heat by just 0.07. Hardy opened up heat 8 with a well-chosen wave, that he went for broke on, hitting the lip and landing a clean aerial. Haslbeck tried to answer back, and came close, but couldn’t take the top spot from Hardy this time. In heat 9, Patrick Bergeron stuck two solid, well-scoring waves at the start of the heat and couldn’t be caught.
In the first semi-final of the Masters, Katchadourian grabbed two good waves right off the bat, which was a difficult task with the lightening winds and erratic swell. Aiken picked off a decent set wave and showed the Aiken-style that he’s known for. Loffreda and Masterton also put in some good scoring waves, but couldn’t catch the other two. It was Katchadourian and Aiken that advanced into the final.
The second semi-final started at around 4:30 p.m., but the wind was dropping even more, with fewer set waves rolling through too. Schweiger managed to notch up a couple of decent scores by getting onto the few set waves that did come through, but the other riders were not able to do the same before the wind totally dropped around half-way through the heat. With the places in the final up for grabs and not enough opportunities for a fair fight, the heat was cancelled and competition for the day was brought to a close.
The next possible start time was set for Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017 at 11 a.m.