Bjorn Dunkerbeck: he beated the king

Unstable wind conditions, unusual pressure systems and random gusts marked the opening round of the 2011 PWA World Tour, in Mui Ne, Vietnam. In the final day of competition, windsurfing slalom racers had to give their best to fight the weather variables.

The final race elimination of the day stood poised to deliver some seriously intense race action, as the men’s event title lay wide open for numerous challengers to make their bid. Things got even more heated when the number one challenger for the event title, Albeau, fell during his semi final, placing him in the losers final and his title hopes at the mercy of Dunkerbeck’s performance in the winners final.

Following a scramble to get a calculator and compute exactly what implications Albeau’s fall would have on his event title hopes, it was deducted that if Dunkerbeck finished eighth or above, he’d steal the title from Albeau, ninth or lower, and Albeau secured it for himself.

Cue arguably the most exciting race final witnessed in recent years, as the normally collected Dunkerbeck had a catastrophic error and went down mid race, placing him at the back of the fleet, and leaving Albeau rubbing his hands together. But, never rule the terminator out the running.

Dunkerbeck proceeded to systematically rein in eighth place, leaving a final charge to the finish line between him and Gonzalo Costa Hoevel. With barely inches in the call, Dunkerbeck had secured the vital eighth position, in turn handing him the event title, and early season lead ahead of Albeau.

The winners final was won by Maynard, his best result of the event, with Cyril Moussilmani in second, and Jimmy Diaz, who rounded off a consistent performance in third, securing him third overall for the event. The subsequent losers final was taken by Albeau, who was no doubt reeling from his previous semi final crash.

The women’s final elimination saw Offringa cement her reputation as a serious slalom World Title contender when she scooped another race victory, ahead of Jaggi in second, and Morane Demont in third, handing her the event victory by a comprehensive points margin. The women’s losers final marked the final heat of the event, which was won by France’s Delphine Cousin.

The 2011 Vietnam PWA Grand Slam Final Standings:

Men’s Slalom

1stBjorn Dunkerbeck(Starboard / Severne / Mystic)
2ndAntoine Albeau(JP / NeilPryde)
3rdJimmy Diaz(Starboard / North)
4thLudovic Jossin(Starboard / Loft)
5th Steve Allen(Starboard / Severne)

Slalom

1stSarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / Gaastra / Mystic)
2ndKarin Jaggi(Patrik / Severne)
3rdAlice Arutkin(Starboard / North)
4th Morane Demont(Starboard / Severne)
5thLena Erdil(Patrik / Loft / Mystic)