- 14 July 2009 | Windsurfing
2009 Latvian NeilPryde Baltic Cup event took place in Liepaja from June 27 to 28. Liepaja is located 220 km from Riga, Latvia's capital. Local musican have a popular song called; ''Liepaja - city where the wind is born!" For organizers, it was also was one of the reasons why regatta was choosen to be there, because Latvian west coast has the most possibility to have good wind conditions.
Other reason was good cooperation with local windsurfing club Rietumkrasts and its president Janis Jekabsons, who helped and succesfuly managed and judged not only this event, but 2009 European Raceboard and Techno 293 Championship earlier this month in Liepaja. Third, the racing area was in bay, called Karaosta(war port), historically built and used by Soviet army as navy base, before Latvia gained independence in 1991.
The bay inside the port is huge and can provide good flat water conditions in almost all wind conditions. At last, econo mical situation changed in Latvia lot comparing last year. From growing GDP in average 10% a year, starting 2000, this year is expected to have bigges fall in EU, close to 17%. Currently, Latvian goverment is asking for financial aid from EU and International Monetary Fund.
Therefore, comparing previous years all main Cup sponsors like Audi, Pernod Ricard and other companies were cutting they marketing budgets and they sponsorship was close to zero comparing previous years.
Nevetheless, the racing spirit was very high. 51 Formula sailors from Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Russia took part in the event. Besides Formula class where results are counted to word ranking list, also Raceboard, Techno 293 and RSX classes were taking part. In two days, there were 9 races for Raceboard fleet and 4 races for Formula class.
- 14 July 2009 | Windsurfing
Antoine Albeau (JP/NeilPryde) has returned to his full glory, after a superb day on the water puts him in the lead. Kevin Pritchard (Starboard/Gaastra/Dakine) and Ross Williams (Tabou/Gaastra) did enough to win one round each, but a disqualification in the ultimate heat leaves Williams with work to do. Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard/North Sails) joins the push for the podium, while the pressure mounts after four harrowing rounds of slalom.
Competition entered the fourth day here at Pozo Izquierdo, and it was clear that under such extreme conditions, nothing should be taken for granted. The morning looked calm, but the soft breeze soon gave way to another gale-force showdown between the fastest windsurfers in the world.
Throughout the day, the massive Antoine Albeau (JP/NeilPryde) seemed to obtain strength from the mounting intensity of the wind, gaining speed and confidence with every knot that Mother Earth could generate. Albeau’s punishing board-speed gave him the advantage when at times only the tip of his fin remained in the water, as he charged down broad reaches like a raging bull, to win two finals. After yesterday’s hiccup, the French slalom master is firmly in the driving seat, leading the event by a comfortable margin.
Kevin Pritchard (Starboard/Gaastra/Dakine) competed like a true champion today clinching one final from Albeau’s grasp in the ultimate round, and putting together a solid string of second and third places earlier on. These results have rocketed him up to second place overall, and in good contention for the top spot. To achieve such steady results requires an outstanding mind-set, as well as extraordinary physical skill, and Pritchard will be happy to be back to his winning-ways.
- 13 July 2009 | Windsurfing
The amazingly talented Philip Köster (Starboard/NeilPryde/Dakine) has shown that he has what it takes to become one of the best wave sailors in windsurfing’s history, whilst a brilliant Daida Ruano Moreno (North Sails) stays true to form to lead the women’s wave fleet. Ross Williams (Tabou/Gaastra) has blasted into the lead in the men’s slalom after an epic opening battle, as the punishing Pozo Izquierdo delivers once again.
The flags that line beach’s promenade groaned under immense strain from the wind this morning; their detailed branding whipped to shreds as the fleets prepared for a grueling ordeal. The breathtaking action opened with the men’s slalom that kicked off in 30-knot gusts. It was clear from the outset that today would prove to be an epic display of attrition in every discipline.
The door to the podium was blown wide open when the event favorite Antoine Albeau (JP/NeilPryde) faltered in one of the most spectacular crashes of the day. In a series of events that summarized the pressure of the contest, Albeau’s kit exploded under cataclysmic force during the first reach of the opening round. However, the gargantuan athlete made amends as he went on to win the loser’s final of the first elimination, then dominate the entire fleet in a flawless second round, winning it’s final and leaving himself in a good position for the remainder of the event.
The lion-hearted Ross Williams (Tabou/Gaastra) capitalized on his rival’s misfortune, and showed not a glimpse of remorse, hitting each heat with poise and aggression. In a dominant display of his intentions, Williams’ consistent excellence was rewarded fairly and he finished the day leading the fleet. Also riding high on the ebb of success was France’s Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard/North Sails) who performed valiantly in consecutive finals to finish second overall, and the legendary Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard/Severne) who came in third.