Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Hugo is sick!

I am confused. It's Hugo's fault. Hugo de Sousa, that is. I watched his videos too much. My head is spinning. Why? Here's why:

This is just one small sequence from a great movie (check it out on Youtube). There's way too much action in this movie - I had to take little pieces at a time and slow them down. There are a few great windsurfers in the "iae cara" movie, but the outstanding one is a Hugo de Sousa, a 17-year old windsurfer from Brazil.

The short section above is perhaps the most outstanding freestyle combination I have ever seen. Hugo start with an Air Kabikuchi. You recognize that one, right? It when you duck the sail to the wrong side (behind your back), twist your upper body 180 degrees, and jump high from this backwinded, twisted stance. What comes next looks like a Kono, which is mighty cool in itself: throw yourself backwards so that your feet are above your head, and turn the nose of the board through the wind so that the wind catches the other side of the sail and pulls you upright again. Then it's time to add something - how about switching directions? So the nose of the board is pointed down to the water and pushed back towards the wind; the sail is backwinded (again), with Hugo being horizontal to the water (again); this pushed his upright for the landing.

There are a few world-class freestylers out there who can do Air Kabikuchis and Air Skopus (more or less the same thing, but started from switch stance). What really amazed me is what happened next, though: Hugo lands in a backwinded stance. That would be back-to-back, except that his upper body is twisted towards the sail. Then, he pushes the clew through the wind and planes out of the move clew-first. After planing clew-first for all of two seconds, he launches into a clew-first spock. Sick! Sick!

The entire thing happened on perfectly flat water. So what happens if you give Hugo a few waves to play with? See for yourself:

He just jumps higher! Ok, this is from his home spot, but his style is just crazy. That one-handed, arched-back throw-down thing he does? That is style! Hugo Style!

What - you are still not convinced that Hugo is destined for greatness? Let us look closer at something more basic - his pops. Double and triple combos are a must in PWA freestyle competition. Often, the board just makes it out of the water for the second jump (or, more accurately, pop), and the third trick is often done with the board mostly in the water. Not for Hugo! His second pops are often higher than the first ones, the tricks more radical:

I just love how he pulls out the board completely for the third jump in the last segment.

I love Kiri Thode, the current PWA freestyle world champion from Bonaire. Kiri's Konos that I often saw life on Bonaire will forever be burned into my head. But Kiri has his work cut out for him if we wants to stay ahead of Hugo. Of course, being successful in freestyle competition requires more than just excellent tricks. Conditions at the freestyle events are often crazy, especially in Fuerteventura and on Sylt; at other events, the wind is extremely light, much lighter than in Brazil. Add to that nerves, complicated event rules, and mind games others might play, and it may well take Hugo a few years to make it to the top. But I just can't wait to see what he does on his journeys! Already, there are a few nice articles about him on Continent Seven:
You may have noted that Hugo was next to Gollito Estredo in two of the articles above. Gollito has collected no fewer than five PWA World Champion titles in freestyle, and finished on second place in 2013. He recently released a video from his training that was rather impressive:

Well, if you are still reading this, chances are you have not clicked on the link to the "iae cara" movie above. Here it is:

The only thing we need now is good wind at the PWA freestyle events this year, and a decent life feed from each event!

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