Alaçati, on the Cesme peninsula, opposite the Greek island of Chios and on the same latitude as Athens, is a perfect windsurfing spot on Turkey's Aegean shores. Until recently, Alaçati was a sleepy little village populated by fishermen, craftsmen and farmers; now they share it with many enthusiastic windsurfers. The combination of consistent winds and a very safe, 500m by 400m shallow section with completely flat water makes Alaçati an extremely attractive destination for windsurfing beginners, intermediates, speedsters and freestylers.
Alaçati is the penultimate round of the tough and varied PWA slalom tour. Following on from ruthless Canaries leg, Turkey offers contrasting racing conditions, with perfect flat water and gentle winds. Top speeds, starting skills and consistency will prove to be the key ingredients for the 2009 champion.
Antoine Albeau (JP/NeilPryde) has to be the favourite. His consistent performance throughout the year has seen him win 4 out 5 events. However with the world title already in his hands, the real battle is going on right behind him. With only a handful of points separating the top 5, we are in for a treat next week as the elite fight it out for the remaining podium positions.
Leading the charge are Finian Maynard (RRD/NeilPryde) and Ross Williams (Tabou/Gaastra). Ross started the season with an impressive win in Austria, followed by a 2nd place in round three, Costa Brava. Finian meanwhile got off to a slower start but finds himself in a great position after a string of consistent results, topped off with a 2nd place in Fuerteventura. At the moment they have equal points, but Finian is ahead on the tiebreak and will hope to further his advantage in Turkey.
One small step behind are the likes of Kevin Pritchard (Starboard/Gaastra/Dakine), Micah Buzianis (JP/NeilPryde) and Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard/Severne). All highly experienced racers and all within easy reach of the podium spots. Dunkerbeck was last years winner here in Turkey so must be a champion candidate heading into the penultimate contest of the year.
Turkey marks the slalom finale of the women’s PWA competition so it is all to play for next week. Valerie Ghibaudo (Tabou/Loft Sails) has a comfortable lead, winning every event of the year, but never count out multiple world champion Karin Jaggi (F2/North Sails). Karin needs to pull off a miracle to get ahead of Valerie but nothing is impossible.
Sarah Hebert (Starboard/Naish) looks to be in control of the final podium spot, but there is a wealth of talent right behind. Youngster Alice Arutkin (Starboard/North Sails) has shown moments of magic through the season, whilst local talents, Lena Erdil (Starboard/Loft Sails) and Cagla Kubat (Starboard/North Sails) will be keen to impress in front of their home audience.
Whatever happens we are in for a treat on the race course.