Bernd Flessner wins the 2009 IFCA Slalom Worlds

The WC windsurfing of 2009 was a successful edition. The event took place during the Zwitserleven Zeilweek on the Island of Texel. During the registration at Monday a bright sun warmed up the beach. With the good forecast we had a promising event to come. It was a shot in the hole on day one. Bernd Flessner (G16), top favorite was delighted: "It is years ago, when we had such condition during a slalom competition. Side shore winds and marks in the break. Unbelievable."

Surprises during day 1:

On day 1 during the WC windsurfing they completed three elimination with a windforce 5-6 from the south. While this WC is organized there is also a professional contest in Spain. Most topsurfers preferred to go there so we have a nice field of outsider and complete unknowns. The Dutchmen Jacques van der Hout was one of the suprises of day one. A few years ago he stopped with contest but he was in for a good windsurfing week. So the Former Dutch Champion got on the ferry and went to Texel. "I am happy to be here, my preparation is bad and now I am placed second. I hope my condition won't let me down. This could be a long week."

Best catch on day three

During day two and three we had to wait on the necessary 11 knots. But windsurfers rather stay on the beach then float around on the sea. Dutch fastest windsurfer Dirk Doppenberg. "It is absolutely useless to go out now. There is not enough wind and there is a lot of current. But we are used to it. Windsurfing is a nature sport where we need a lot of wind. Don't forget we cannot float like boats do. But we have a result now, the contest has started. We have sailed three eliminations and when we do two more we have an extra discard. That can make the rankings totally different." On the end of day three it looked like the wind was strong enough for another elimination. But the organizers had difficulties to set the course because the wind suddenly turned. After they had laid the course again a Fishing boat caught one of their marks. A good catch, but not for the organizers. Before they got their buoy back the wind died.

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2009 PWA Catalunya, Day Two 

Once again the day dawned quiet and tranquil here on the magnificent Allegre Ballena campsite. However the morning calm was quickly replaced by a stiff southwest wind, giving testing side shore racing conditions. With gusts up to 20kts and lulls at around the 10kts mark it proved difficult even for the world's best.
 
Early round highlights and upsets

Race 1 continued as expected, with all of the top 20 seeds passing through to the quarterfinals without any troubles. Perhaps the only real surprise was Gabriel Browne (Starboard/MauiSails). Suffering with the flu his concentration was clearly absent and he crossed the start line early, leaving him in bolt last position.
 
By the quarterfinals, things were heating up. Heat 9 saw number three seed Gonzalo Costa Hoevel (Exocet/MauiSails) jump the gun, ending his run at a very early stage. A hot tip after his performance in Austria, Julien Quentel (RRD/NeilPryde), also saw his race end in the quarters, after taking the fateful 5th position of heat 10.
 
Heat 11 saw one of the favorites for the event Kevin Pritchard (Starboard/Gaastra) blow up down the reach as his outhaul rope exploded. He was left swimming and was forced to watch his rivals disappear without him. Heat 12 almost witnessed the biggest upset of the day as World Champion Antoine Albeau (JP/NeilPryde) missed the boom coming out of the gybe. Using all his strength he muscled the sail upright and continued into the semi-final.

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2009 PWA Catalunya, Day One

The first day of the Catalunya Costa Brava PWA World Cup saw a relaxed start as light morning winds allowed competitors time to prepare for the week ahead. With a skippers meeting at 1pm and a first possible start at 2pm, the race crew were ready and waiting for the sea breeze to kick in.
On cue at around 2pm a light 10-15kt thermal wind switched on, giving the PWA elite their first chance to test the waters. The spectators were treated to an incredible show as the worlds best hit the ocean and went head to head to check their speed.

With the course set for a four-gybe downwind slalom, the red flag went up for the first at 2.50 and the first 8 sailors hit the start line at full speed.
From the outset it looked like the major players meant business, with the top four seeds of heat one easily qualifying for the first quarterfinal. Micah Buzianis (JP/NeilPryde) continued where he left off in Korea, taking the win, despite still suffering with a chipped metatarsal. Ross Williams (Tabou/Gaastra), loving the light winds, was right on his tail in 2nd. Interestingly Ross registered one of the smallest sails of anyone (8.4) as his biggest sail. Benoit Moussilmani (Starboard/Simmer Sails) and Arnon Dagan (Tabou/Gaastra) both fought hard to claim the final two qualifying positions.

Heat two saw the biggest surprise of the day as French racer Damien Le Guen (JP/NeilPryde) shot into the lead ahead of one of the event favorites Gonzalo Costa Hoevel (Exocet/MauiSails). Damien is a light wind specialist and took advantage winning the heat and staking his place in the next round. Gonzo finished just behind in 2nd, like Ross opting for a smaller 8.4 sail to give him a higher top speed. Robby Swift (JP/NeilPryde) took the 3rd place whilst Ertugrul Icingir (Starboard/NeilPryde) of Turkey claimed the final qualifying place.

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