- 06 May 2009 | Windsurfing
There were no signs of nerves from slalom’s newest addition to the World Tour, as the opening day of competition in Austria delivered sun and wind in equal measure to start proceedings in style.
After a morning spent registering just shy of 400 sails and 200 boards, the 66-man slalom fleet took to the water to mark the official start of competition on Lake Neusiedl.
Powered by the prevailing NW wind, the racers had to negotiate a 4-buoy slalom course, starting and finishing on port tack. Opening proceedings, all eyes turned to race one.
Despite a new location, new regulations and many riders using new gear for the first time in competition, there was little upset in the opening rounds. Both Antoine Albeau (JP / NeilPryde) and Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard / Severne) appeared immune to the pressure of windsurfing’s media scrutinizing their every move, as they seamlessly extended their respective runs of form from 2008, to reserve places in the eliminations final eight.
Similarly, the UK’s Ross Williams (Tabou / Gaastra) looked rock solid as he picked his path through rounds one, two and three with a comprehensive display exhibiting both depth and savvy, to reward him with his place in the final eight.
Continuing a seemingly relentless run of exceptional consistency, Peter Volwater’s (F2 / MauiSails) ability to deliver no-frills, reliable-sailing whilst under pressure made sure his name also featured in the race one final.
Padding out the final 8 were: Jimmy Diaz (Starboard / North Sails), who worked the gusting wind well to secure two seconds and a third place en route to the final, Julien Quentel (RRD / NeilPryde), who on current form would be a solid bet to secure a podium finish in the event’s overall standings, and Steve Allen, whose dependable, heat winning consistency was once again very much on the money.
Going head to head, it was business as usual for Albeau, who never looked back after taking the lead on the first reach. A predictably slick execution of the following four gybes saw the Frenchman deservedly claimed race one. Second place went to a defiant Williams, who looked destined to take third until he pulled off a major coup, overtaking Quentel in a seemingly un-winnable drag race to the finish line.
- 05 May 2009 | Windsurfing
Trading freestyle for slalom, the 2009 Dwarf8 PWA Surf World Cup will mark the official start of the men’s PWA race season. Following a turbulent winter of sponsorship changes and new PWA regulations coming into effect, this inaugural event will act as benchmark for the season that lies ahead.
The Low Down
Running from the 5th to the 10th of May, the Dwarf8 PWA Surf World Cup takes place on Lake Neusiedl’s 315 square kilometers of fresh water, located between Austria and Hungary. With two predominant wind directions (N-NW and S-SE) the lake can produce anything from howling side-shore gales to super technical cross-offshore conditions, leaving sailors at the mercy of the ever-changing Atlantic fronts that track over central Europe.
For 2009, PWA regulations stipulate that during event registration, all sailors competing in the slalom discipline will have to register three boards and six sails, which they will use for the duration of the season. This decision may well have implications that echo throughout subsequent events, as the slalom fleet trade months of research and testing for several minutes during the event’s equipment registration period.
True to form, the Dwarf8 PWA Surf World Cup has attracted a huge international following. In total, 72 riders from all four corners of the globe have signed up to compete in Slalom’s curtain raiser.
As expected, all the big names will be out in force to kick-start their campaigns for the 2009 season. Headlining the monster slalom fleet is 3 x World Champion Antoine Albeau (JP / NeilPryde), who’ll no doubt be looking to secure his first event victory for new board sponsor, JP-Australia.
Likewise, 2008 runner-up Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard / Severne) will be aiming to extend the form he enjoyed in the latter part of 2008 with his new sponsors, Starboard and Severne.
Ever consistent stable mates, Kevin Pritchard (Starboard / Gaastra / Dakine / MFC) and Ross Williams (Tabou / Gaastra) are a pair likely to excel in the potentially testing Austrian conditions. While both are capable of sustaining their respective 3rd and 4th positions from 2008, they’ll be setting their sights on toppling the heavy weight contenders, Dunkerbeck and Albeau.
A shock departure from the event standings is American race specialist Micah Buzianis (JP / NeilPryde / MFC). Continuing a run of bad luck following an injury sustained mid way through last season, the Buzianis camp announced that the Denver born racer will have to miss out on the first event of the season following a recent injury to his foot. Should recovery go to plan, Buzianis should be back competing in the next slalom World Cup in Korea.
- 29 April 2009 | Windsurfing
After the first two events of the 2009 season (French Open and Belgium Open, both held in the south of France) the rankings have been updated with the latest results.
The world ranking is a "rolling" ranking system which includes all events from the past 12 months. A previous event is deleted as soon as the current years event finishes, or after 12 months latest.
Anders Bringdal gained the most from the participation in both events, as he did not score in 2008, and thus is ranked 2nd in the world now, just behind 2008 World Cup winner Cyril Moussilmani. Valerie Ghibaudo is still leading the womens ranking, with another first place in the French Open event.
ISWC Overall Men
1. C. Moussilmani, FRA
2. A. Bringdal, SWE
3. B. Dunkerbeck, SUI
4. C. Bordes, FRA
5. D. Garrel, LUX
ISWC Overall Women
1. V. Ghibaudo, FRA
2. Z. Davis, GBR
3. M. Raisi, FRA
4. K. Jaggi, SUI
5. B. Hoefer, GER
ISWC Board Manufacturers Ranking
4. Carbon Art
ISWC Sail Manfacturers Ranking
1. North Sails
2. Loft Sails
3. KA Sails
5. Neil Pryde
ISWC Nations Ranking