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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PWA Sylt 2008

With the weather gods seemingly playing roulette with Sylt’s conditions, the race committee had a tough call to make when deciding which of the three disciplines would brave the ever changing North Sea on competition’s fourth day.
 
Freestyle was confirmed as the chosen discipline, and after a brief hailstorm, the first round competitors were summoned to compete in the ominous waters off the Sylt coast.
 
Head high breaking waves, chop from all angles, marginal to howling wind and the mother of all shore breaks provided a challenging backdrop for freestyle’s first outing.
 
From the outset, it became clear that the rider’s routines were going to limited to the confines of the super tricky conditions. However, this didn’t stop them from putting on a show of epic proportions for the loyal German fans.
 
The more tactical sailors were opting to start their heats far out to sea, where the onshore wind was strongest and the currents weakest. However, regardless of tactics, at some point all of the sailors had to work their way back towards the beach, where the only way to get planning was with the assistance of the dumping shore break.
 
After a fairly conservative first round of heats, the higher ranked sailors started to raise their games and in turn the magnitude of their moves. Highlight of the second round was Taty Frans (Starboard, North Sails) versus Antxon Otaegui (JP, NeilPryde, MFC). Otaegui threw down a comprehensive mix of sliding and aerial moves, leaving the flamboyant Frans to counter in his typically gung-ho style. A spirited performance reached its crescendo when Frans opted to attempt a move on the face of a churning monster. The gamble resulted in him being washed all the way to the feet of the on looking crowd, and effectively extinguished any hope of him advancing, despite winning over the spectators.

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