UKWA Windsurfer of the Year 2008

It’s time to decide who will be the windsurfer of the year.

“But how on earth do we decide? So much has been happening!” I hear you cry, well that’s right, so the UKWA bods have been hard at work, furiously whittling down the contenders into four mighty qualifiers to make it that bit easier for you.

So where do we go from here? Well, the deal is that you guys get to put your two pennies worth in and decide just who, out of the prodigal sailors displayed on this humble page, will receive the accolade of being UKWA Windsurfer of the Year.

Robby Swift
Robby’s success and rise through the PWA ranks has been well documented, however after two foot injuries that necessitated a long period of absence from sailing and training, it has been in 2008 that Robby’s made his come back on the world tour. Scooping a surprise fourth place in Cape Verde, Robby’s transition from freestyle to slalom has not been easy, however he’s stuck at it and currently lies in 5th place overall in the PWA Wave Championship.


Ross Williams
Never one to seize the limelight, Ross Williams has been thrust into it this year after a stunning series of international results. Competing solidly in the PWA wave tour, he pulled a 15th out of the bag at Cape Verde and has climbed irresistibly up the slalom ladder, from 16th in Costa Brava, posting a 4th and 5th in the Canaries, to reaching the podium and 3rd place in the last slalom event at Alacati. Lest you forget, a consistent formula competitor, Ross is also European Formula Champion 2008…

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PWA Sylt 2008 

After a morning that featured everything from monsoon like rain to bright sunshine, Westerland beach was finally treated to a solid 10-15 knot onshore breeze, allowing seven heats to be run before the wind died back to nothing.
 
After waiting patiently on standby, the slalom fleet was summoned to the water to kick off round one of race three. The first heat saw Bjorn Dunkerbeck (North) on dominant form; flawless execution of the four-gybe course left him nearly an entire reach ahead of his rivals when he crossed the finish line to take victory.
 
Other highlights included heat four, where Ross Williams (Tabou, Gaastra) had to sail without a harness after tearing one of the straps before the race. Starting fast, fatigue soon kicked in and left Williams the challenge of qualifying before his arms gave up on him. Luckily, many of his rivals had fallen at the second mark, leaving him a drag race to the finish line with Oliver-Tom Schliemann (Severne, Starboard) before he muscled into third place.
 
After the seventh heat was completed (the most heats completed in a row thus far in Sylt), the wind backed off, placing competition back on standby,
 
An hour passed before a 25-knot breeze prompted the race committee to start heat 8 in some of the best conditions seen so far. However, no one could have predicted that the moment the sailors crossed the start line, the wind would, like clockwork, drop to absolutely zero.

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PWA Sylt 2008 

After a windless morning spent dodging torrential downpours, day five of competition was eventually graced with suitable wind to resume slalom’s second race. A shaky start marred by fickle wind ultimately gave way to spectacular high wind surf slalom conditions, much akin to Gran Canaria.
 
The 25 to 35 knot wind caught most, if not all the slalom fleet off guard, with the majority of the sailors fighting to hold down 8-9m rigs. The first big seed to stumble in the nuclear conditions was British Virgin Islander, Finian Maynard (RRD, NeilPryde). The famed speedster was forced out of contention in the second round, after a flat out drag race to finish line with Brit, Ross Williams (Tabou, Gaastra). Williams gritted his teeth to pip Maynard to the all-important fourth place qualifying position.
 
Also making a shock departure from the elimination was race one winner, Sylvain Moussilmani (F2, Simmer), who placed an uncharacteristic last place in his second round heat.
 
Moving into the semi finals, Bjorn Dunkerbeck (North Sails) made his chances of adding a second event victory to his name a considerably harder challenge, when he failed to qualify for the race final, thanks to some classy sailing from heat winner Cyril Moussilmani (Fanatic, North Sails), and fellow qualifiers; Patrick Diethelm (F2, North Sails), Peter Volwater (F2, North Sails) and Josh Angulo (MauiSails, Dakine).
 
The second semi final saw Antoine Albeau (Starboard, NeilPryde) win his first heat of the event thus far, a feat that took somewhat longer than most would have predicted. Joining the Frenchman in the final was fellow countryman Cedric Bordes (Tabou, Gaastra) and team mates Kevin Pritchard (Starboard, Gaastra, MFC, Dakine) and Williams.
 
The race final played host to some outstanding slalom action. From the off, Albeau looked dominant and quickly put ground between him and Williams, who chased in second. However, it would be all change as the racers rounded the second mark.

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