2009 PWA Sylt

After four full eliminations of high-octane slalom, Antoine Albeau leads the fleet and proves to the crowds on Brandenberger Strand that he’s the World’s number one racer.
 
After the early start of the previous day, it was a welcome break for the sailors to arrive at the event site at 09:00. With plenty of wind, and the sun breaking through the clouds, the race crew quickly set the course in preparation for a downwind duel between the World’s fastest windsurfers.
 
The racing got underway promptly, and before long, the four gybe downwind course was blessed with 12-18kts of wind and wall-to-wall sunshine. This was champagne slalom racing at its finest.
 
Race 1
The usual suspects stamped their authority over the rest of the fleet during the first heats, with only a few surprises. The first of these came in the form of local legend Bernd Flessner (F2, NeilPryde) failing to make it through in front of his home crowd. Next up was PWA Chairman Jimmy Diaz (Starboard, North) who also failed to make the cut. He crashed out on one of the long reaches, creating an impressive scene for those gathered on the beach early on.
 
In the final, Antoine Albeau (JP, NeilPryde) shot off the start line and straight into the lead. He dominated the whole race and won with a comfortable margin, reaffirming his position as the 2009 PWA Slalom World Champion. Behind him however there was a real race going on between the French Moussilmani Brothers, Cyril (Starboard, North) and Benoit (Starboard, Simmer). After the Frans brothers freestyle tussle, the previous day we thought we’d seen the end of family rivalry, but these boys took it to the wire today! In the end Benoit took 2nd and Cyril had to settle for 3rd.
 
In the losers final there was even more drama. This time between long-term rivals Finian Maynard (RRD, NeilPryde) and Micah Buzianis (JP, NeilPryde). It was extremely tight around the whole course but Maynard put his foot to the floor and edged out just in time to take line honors.

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Taty Frans

It’s a one, two, three for the boys from Bonaire, with Taty Frans taking the lead after a full round of furious freestyle on Sylt’s Westerland beach.
 
The forecast was calling for plenty of wind from sunrise to sunset, so head judge Duncan Coombs made the call to meet for a 07:00 skipper’s briefing. Unfortunately for the wave sailors, the swell had failed to build, giving the freestylers a chance to wow the crowds. Both the competitors and spectators were not disappointed as both a single and double elimination of freestyle were completed.
 
With the difficult freestyle conditions that the sailors were up against, the higher ranked competitors played it fairly safe in the first round to ensure they made the cut and advanced through. There was still plenty of action on the water, with huge shaka’s and stylish esliders from the World’s best, pleasing the huge number of spectators on the beach. Unfortunately Canadian sailor Philip Soltysiak (Starboard, Dakine) pushed a little bit too hard and dislocated his shoulder during his first round heat against Thomas Traversa (Tabou, Gaastra). The crew had to help him off the water and take him to hospital to have it put back in place.
 
Highlight’s form the second round included the battle between 2008 Freestyle World Champion Jose ‘Gollito’ Estredo (Fanatic, North) and light wind freestyle master Steven Van Broeckhoven (F2, MauiSails). Both of these guys were fully going for it and landing numerous combination moves and big power moves. It could have well been the World Championship final, but it was only the second round. Estredo dug deep and nailed a few more stylish moves to take the win and move into the quarterfinals. The Russian sailor Yegor Popretinskiy (JP, NeilPryde, MFC) had an easy second round due to the fact that Antxon Otaegui (JP, NeilPryde, MFC) was still suffering from an ankle injury, which he picked up earlier in the year. Otaegui tried to make it out for his heat but was in too much pain to compete.
 
The quarterfinals were very tight in both halves of the draw with difficult decisions being made by the judges. Taty Frans (Starboard, MauiSails) sailed an extremely impressive heat to take down the current World Champion Estredo. And his brother Tonky Frans (F2, Gaastra) sailed an equally impressive heat to take the scalp of 2007 Freestyle World Champion, Marcilio Browne (Fanatic, North, MFC). On the other side of the draw, Kiri Thode’s (Starboard, Gaastra) technical superiority helped him get ahead of Four Dimension’s director, Andre Paskowski (Fanatic, North). And Nicolas Akgazciyan (Starboard, Gun) took down the young Russian, Popretinskiy.

The Frans brothers’ success meant that they met in the semi-final. Taty managed to style his way through the heat with a huge shaka diablo and an awesome culo. His brother Tonky put every effort in to match him with a nice backloop and a shaka, but it wasn’t quite enough.

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Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, USA

A windsurfer lost his life off San Francisco's Crissy Field, the U.S. Coast Guard has informed.

The body was recovered with no vital signs, about two-and-a-half miles west of the Golden Gate Bridge, after a Coast Guard helicopter spotted a man wearing a wetsuit in the water.

Two hours before, a pedestrian walking on the Golden Gate Bridge reported a windsurfboard and a sail in the water.

That was when the U.S. Coast Guard launched both helicopter and boat for the search and rescued.