Alex placed 2nd in Baja, Mexico @ AWT

Alex, a West Wittering Ripper, has just competed in the American Windsurfing Tour out in Baja, Mexico – here is Frank (Alex’s Dad) account of the event:

The AWT event at Baja is a regular feature on our windsurfing calendar and this year was no exception. As we pulled in to Brown Field airstrip right next to the Mexican border, we looked around for the Solosports plane. We found Joey Sanchez and headed South. I was a bit surprised when, after take-off, Joey asked Alexander to fly the plane down to Punta San Carlos. As we circled the camp, we could see the guys on the Pritchard Wave Clinic out on some decent-sized waves.

We had a day to get sorted then the competition started down at the point. As the conditions were still building, they sent the Youths out first. The favourites in the Youth division this year were the Schettewi brothers from Maui, Jake and Max (JP Australia, Hotsails, Black Project fins) with Jake leading both the Amateur and Youth divisions after the Pistol River event.

In a tight first heat, Jake had the better waves and pulled off a nice aerial off-the-lip just under the judges tower to take first. Alexander and Max were equal second with Jax Porter from Vancouver in 4th. Alexander had one heat to rest then had to go in his first round Amateur heat. The way the draw worked out, he drew Jake and Jax again alongside veteran Dwight Bode. He was getting more into the conditions now and managed to take first place which meant he would avoid the repechage round.

The Youth heats settled into a rhythm over the next few days with Rounds 2 and 3 finishing 1. Jake, 2. Alexander 3. Max and 4. Jax. This meant the two-man Youth Final would be  Alexander vs Jake.

In the Amateur division, Alexander advanced to Round 4 where he came up against Marty Rosse,  Dwight Bode and Carl Speiss. Alexander has sailed with Marty at the Pritchard Wave Camps for a couple of years and as a former Amateur finalist, knew he would be tough. Dwight Bode is a Grand Master but has been sailing at PSC since the 80s. With 2 to advance to the semi-finals it looked like it would be between these three. Marty is a big guy who sails big kit and turned in his trademark display of power surfing to come first. Alexander had beaten Dwight in Round 1 but this time, the veteran found some great waves and completely shredded them to take second. Alexander failed to advance but came away with =9.

On the last day of competition, they ran the Youth final and Alexander went out just before the event to get the feel of the waves. The wave at the point was a bit different and was breaking much closer to the rocks than normal. Alexander picked up a nice section but after a nice cut-back, the wave closed out and took his kit flying towards the rocks. By the time his kit hit the rocks, he was still 30 meters away and was unable to rescue it. Fortunately, amongst the spectators on the cliff top was Boujmaa who leapt in a grabbed the kit. The rig was trashed and the board had a couple of big gashes on the rail so we had to run up to camp to grab replacements. The closest board we could find to his 76 Quattro Pyramid Thruster was the 84 L version.

Alexander knew he would have to pull out something special to take the final as Jake had ripped through the Amateur fleet to take the overall win. Despite Alexander showing a lot of patience to wait for the set waves, Jake did just enough to take the title. While he was a bit disappointed with another second-place trophy, he plans to do the whole AWT Tour next summer once he leaves school  in June.

After Baja, we headed to Maui for a couple of weeks. Jake and Max live 2 doors down from the house we usually rent at Camp 1 so it feels like the event is still on with Alexander, Jake and Max jousting out front most days. It’s great to see them really pushing each other. The Schettewi production line has produced a younger brother, Zee (12), who is charging around throwing himself off any ramp he can find, so these guys will be around for a while. 

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