ON TOP OF THE WORLD
After a well-documented injury plagued season in 2011, due to ongoing problems with her shoulder, Valerie Arrighetti (Tabou / Gaastra / Mystic) returned with a vengeance in 2012 to be crowned the PWA Slalom World Champion, after a long hard fight with the Swiss gem Karin Jaggi (Patrik / Severne). The Frenchwoman manages to combine having a full-time job with being a full-time parent, whilst still managing to find the time to not only compete on the PWA world tour, but come out on top of the crop. After an amazing year we caught up with Valerie to gain her thoughts on being the new world champion.
PWA: Valerie, congratulations on your 2012 PWA World Slalom Title. How do you feel about winning the world title after a injury hit season last year?
VA: “I so wanted to win the title this year, 2011 was very, very hard psychologically because my shoulder was very fragile, and it is still fragile today (a bad fall could compromise myself for the competitions). I am extremely happy with the result, especially because it was difficult to achieve for many reasons.”
PWA: What was your best, and also the worst moment on the tour?
VA: “The worst time for me was definitely after the semi-final in Italy because I was not happy with the wind. I could already imagine that my season had ended after being ranked 9th in the first elimination. On the last day of the competition I prayed for wind and thankfully my wishes came true with one hour of wind. This meant that I was able to recover to third overall, but I knew after the opening event I couldn’t afford to make any more mistakes in any races.”
“I think the best time this season was when I was able to win the event in Korea because it was extremely difficult and close between me and Karin (Jaggi (Patrik / Severne)). I really savoured this victory as it took me one step closer towards the title.”
PWA: Where will you be during the winter?
VA: “This Winter I shall be in the south of France as I have to look after my daughter as she is still at school.”
PWA: Is there a particular training schedule you will be using? If so, what does this consist of?
VA: “I don’t sail much during the winter (I am cautious about my shoulder). Instead I train by other means, usually on my road bike as this allows me to stay in good physical condition.”
PWA: What would be your advice to someone who wants to compete on the tour?
VA: “It is difficult to say, but for sure you need to practice as much as possible and become better and better because then you will be more prepared and the tour will be more fun.”
PWA: What is your favourite board and sail set-up?
VA: “My Favourite board is 59 Tabou paired with either 6.4m or 7.1m Gaastra Vapor.”
PWA: Favourite drink, favourite food, favourite movie?
VA: “Water and red wine. My favourite food is Italian cuisine. I don’t have a particular favourite movie, but preferably I would watch either an action or adventure film.”
PWA: How many hours per week do you spend windsurfing?
VA: “I don’t get to sail that much, so I try to test all my equipment at the start of the year, but it is very difficult when trying to juggle the time between windsurfing, work and of course looking after my daughter.”
PWA: If you can’t go windsurfing, what do you think the best training alternative is?
VA: “I love skiing, so I expect that I would just be on the ski slopes.”
PWA: Any tips on how to plan a windsurfing trip? For example, how to pack the gear to avoid damage and save weight?
VA: “Personally I use a travel agent that used to work with skateboarders, and they take care of everything for me :). In terms of preparing your equipment, make sure that you have a high quality, well padded board bag and also use extra padding around the nose and the tail to try and stop damage to those areas. To help with the weight try to avoid heavy covers and you can also leave sail bags etc at home.”
PWA: Thanks for your time Valerie and good luck defending your world title in 2013.