The final day of Freestyle at the 2017 Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam produced one of the most exciting women’s freestyle finals in history as Maaike Huvermann pushed Sarah-Quita Offringa all the way in the second double elimination. However, the 19-year-old from Holland couldn’t quite do enough to prevent Offringa from winning as the Aruban continues to rewrite the history books – after enduring an emotional roller-coaster of a week.
Sarah-Quita Offringa on sailing under the pressure of trying to capture World Title no. 10 and making it a reality:
“It was a really tough week mentally for me. Everybody is quite supportive of me here but also make it sound like it’s guaranteed like I’ll win. Which isn’t the case. I still have to go out and do it. I think that built up into more pressure than usual combined with the fact that I could win ten titles. Which is a nice number no? so I guess also some pressure from myself because I did want it pretty bad. So the hardest part was keeping my emotions in check and to sail without thinking too much about the future. Normally I want to put down a really good heat but this week I was more focused on sailing good enough to pass the heats. So, I sailed well everyday I think but also quite reserved.
Then in the final I could mostly hear cheering for Maaike which is understandable but threw me off guard I guess. Anyway I watched her sailing and she sails with much more confidence and has been able to put together some amazing heats! Especially after she injured herself at the beginning of the year… I think it’s amazing she came back like that. Massive congrats to her, Oda and Arrianne for finishing in the Top 4. These were some of the toughest Fuerte conditions I’ve competed in and I think we put up a great show.”
Huvermann can walk away with her head held high after coming so close to becoming the first person to beat Offringa in a freestyle heat for 9 years and the 19-year-old ends the year as the vice-world champion for the second year in a row and with another year of training under her belt it looks as though she would have a realistic shot at the title.
Oda Johanne completes the podium again after successfully coming back to defeat Arrianne Aukes in the second double elimination today, which means the Norwegian has now finished in the world’s top 3 for the last 4 years running.
At the end of the second day, Sarah-Quita Offringa was heading up the event rankings after the 9-time freestyle world champion produced a superb performances to deservedly win the single elimination ahead of Oda Johanne. In the final, Offringa landed an array of the latest power moves – burners, konos, culos – with shakas, air flakas and a massive toad to leave the result in no doubt, while unfortunately Johanne couldn’t scale the heights of her semifinal performance with the Norwegian completely overpowered on 4.0m². In reality, it wouldn’t have made a difference to the result with Offringa posting a score that would have rivaled many of the guys scores in the opening round of the double.
Then, in the double elimination, Maaike Huvermann produced another fine display in the final as she applied some genuine pressure against Offringa by rotating through a regular kono and a sick shuvit spock, while attempting a culo as she tried to bring all of her tricks to the table, but crucially the 19-year-old was missing a move on port tack, which is quite simply a mistake you can’t afford to make against the Queen of Freestyle. Offringa, may have been more nervous than usual after seeing Huvermann’s performance in the semifinal, and spending the entire day waiting, but the 26-year-old sailed with her usual swagger and style to keep her unbelievable unbeaten record in tact with a combination of shakas, burners, konos and a text-book toad as the Aruban gem takes another step towards world title No. 10.
In the second single elimination, Sarah-Quita Offringa and Maaike Huvermann lined up for their second duel of the week in the winners’ final. Huvermann is gradually bridging the gap between herself and Offringa as she landed shuvit spocks, regular konos and also sailed away from a culo. However, Offringa remains in a league of her own with the style and execution with which she executes her moves and deservedly maintains her perfect record.
In the second double elimination, and over the last 5 days, Huvermann has grown in confidence with each heat she has sailed and gave Offringa, who was understandably nervous prior to the final, a real run for her money. The two ladies produced quite possibly the best women’s freestyle final ever seen with the lead continually changing hands as they traded blows throughout. Huvermann deserves massive credit for the way in which she put the 26-year-old under pressure – landing shuvit spocks, regular konos and most impressively a powerful culo to not give Offringa an inch of breathing space.
However, despite not producing her usual flawless routine, Offringa dug deep as she called upon her champion winning qualities to produce a few moments of magic – with the best being a perfect burner – but the tie still hung in the balance with Huvermann landing a puneta just before the buzzer. Both women were forced to wait on the beach for the decision, which must have felt like a lifetime, but eventually it was announced that Offringa had held on to win by just 1.2 points and with it she continues to rewrite the history books as she claims her 10th Freestyle world title – 13th overall!