Day 5 of the Barbados Waterman Festival started with torrential down pouring white squalls. The mood at the beach was worrying. Head Judge Simeon Glasson was concerned that conditions would not improve and it would be difficult to get results. Conflicting interpretations from the locals suggested that we may or may not get any heats done.
Suddenly the clouds parted, the sun appeared and the wind began to howl. We started the Amateur Final at 10:15am. One jump and 2 waves were to be counted. Riders in the final included Simeon Glasson from Australia, Jonathan Pooley from Guernsey, local Barbadian Richard Mosley, and Stefan Potthoff originally from Germany. With a long 18 minute heat, everyone got plenty of wind, waves and jumping opportunity. Stefan Potthoff picked up his jumping level enormously during the final with two cleanly landed forwards. Jonathan Pooley took home the big win with excellent wave selection and slashing top and bottom turns.
Next up was the start of the professional division. With the repechage bracket format, all riders got a chance to sail at least twice. Advancing through to the semi-final from the first round included Bernd Roediger, Morgan Noreaux, Russ Faurot, Kevin Pritchard, Brian Talma and Gollito Estredo. The repechage round found Airton Cozzolino from Cabo Verde, Jules Forli from Guadaloupe, and Stefano Porcu from Italy battling it out to advance through to the semi-final. World Champion kite boarder Airton made a valiant attempt showing his versatility as a waterman but it was not quite enough to advance.
The first semi final of the pro division included Bernd Roediger from Maui, Gollito Estredo from Venezuela, Jules Forli, and the local Action man; Brian Talma. Unfortunately Bernd had bad luck with his board breaking in half at the start of the heat after landing a massive forward rather flat. He spent the rest of the heat trying to nurse the board back to the beach. Brian sailed his best of the entire day during the semi final taking the heat win. Gollito also advanced to the final with the best jump of the heat cleanly landing a push loop.
The second semi final of the pro division saw Maui riders Morgan Noireaux, Russ Faurot, Kevin Prichard and Italian rider Stefano Porcu match up in the continued wind and waves. Maui riders found it interesting to compete in port tack on shore conditions. Kevin and Morgan both advanced to the final with massive back loops.
Excitement rose on the beach for the final of the professional division. The crowd was on the edge of their seats watching the talent rise to a new level. Brian Action Man Talma had a blast in his own backyard competing with the pros from all over the world. Pritchard pulled his trademark one handed, one footed back loop. Gollito brought the highest jump score of the heat with a massive cleanly landed Air Chacho. Morgan Noireaux lifted his game selecting the best set waves, nailing multiple critical hits to take the win at the first ever IWT Barbados Waterman Festival.
After a quick lunch break at deAction Beach Shop and Grill, the Masters and Womens divisions were set to take the stage in the still excellent conditions. Masters included Brian Talma, Jonathan Pooley, Stefano Porcu and Simeon Glasson. Local power house Stefano has been on the beach all day every day during the contest window anxious to compete, showing his past experience in professional events from years ago. His jumping was polished landing multiple forwards, cheese rolls and back loops. Simeon was all smiles on the water taking a break from the judging tower to get some waves. Jonathan’s wave scores were up on top and he scraped the sky with his massive rocket air. Brian was very consistent with his jumps landing all of his forwards and back loops. He made multiple vertical turns on the wave faces, taking the win in his back yard for the Masters division of the event.
The women’s division saw Canadian Cecilia Tolley suffer a laceration on her foot in the first heat, but charged straight back out for the final with a smile on her face. Tour Director Sam Bittner from Maui showed her ability pulling out the win in the first heat, but falling to eventual champion Flora Vergnoll in the Final. Flora displayed excellent skill in selecting set waves and landing big floaty airs to take the win.
Flora Vergnoll and Sam Bittner
Celebrations for completing both the Beach Culture World Tour and the inaugural International Windsurfing Tour in Barbados kicked off at deAction Bar & Grill right at sunset. Rum punch was flowing and original Action paintings were handed to all top performers. Dancing and music filled the air well into the evening.
The IWT would like to thank Brian Talma and the nation of Barbados for the warm waves and even warmer welcome from the people of Barbados.