PWA CATALUNYA WORLD CUP
Event Summary: The French dominate the top three as Antoine Albeau seals a hat-trick of Costa Brava crowns
Another fantastic PWA Catalunya Costa Brava World Cup concluded on Sunday. After light winds on the opening two days of the competition, the sailors were finally rewarded for their patience as the forecasted Tramontana finally arrived just in time for the weekend, providing plenty of high octane racing. In the end Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde) proved he is still the King of Costa Brava as he made it three wins in a row in Spain. The prestigious podium was dominated by the French as fellow countrymen, Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard / Severne) and Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / North), finished second and third respectively, proving that the French are the dominant force in slalom right now.
Antoine Albeau came into the first event of the season not only looking for his third consecutive win in Costa Brava, but also attempting to complete a historic hat-trick of world titles. The big Frenchman made the perfect start to the season as he claimed the event title, meaning he has now won every event here since 2012. It was also the perfect start to Albeau’s title defence as he now sits proudly after the event rankings. The forty-one year old was in imperious form over the duration of the week as he claimed two bullets and qualified for four out of the five eliminations completed. In fact the only mistake he made over the entire week was in the final elimination, when he jumped the gun to be disqualified in the opening round. However, by this point his event crown was already safe. Will anybody be able to stop Albeau this season?
Cyril Moussilmani was another man in fine form. The Frenchman is looking to reclaim his place on the podium for the first time since 2010, whilst also mounting a title challenge. Based on his performance in Costa Brava Moussilmani is a serious threat to Albeau and any other contender. Moussilmani demonstrated superb speed and textbook gybes in Costa Brava and he was rewarded with second place overall. He’ll now be looking to carry his brilliant form into the next event in Turkmenistan at the start of July.
Completing the prestigious podium for 2014 was Pierre Mortefon, making it a French 1-2-3. This was the first time that Mortefon has finished on the podium, beating his previous best result of fourth in Korea in 2011. The twenty-four year old performed brilliantly over the course of the event and in the second and fourth eliminations, Mortefon secured two fantastic second places putting him in contention for the title. Unfortunately this time around it didn’t quite happen for him, however Mortefon is one of the up and coming stars of the slalom world and based on his performance here we don’t think it will be too long before he’s standing at the top of the podium.
Finishing just outside the top three was Ben Van Der Steen (Tabou / GA / Mystic). The flying Dutchman came into the opening event of the year full of confidence after his recent success at the IFCA Slalom World’s, but a bit of misfortune and a couple of small errors meant it was’t quite meant to be. However, Van Der Steen rounded off the week in perfect fashion, whilst also proving that he’s a serious contender for the title, by claiming his first bullet of 2014 in race five. The Dutchman is one of the quickest sailors on the tour and he’ll be one sailor to watch very closely over the course of the season.
Micah Buzianis (JP / MauiSails) was back to his brilliant best in Costa Brava as he claimed fifth place overall. The American’s best performance of the week came in the opening race, where he finished in third place. As always Buzianis’ starts were on point as he consistently crossed the line in first place. Buzianis showed the kind of form required to finish in the overall top three come the end of the season, featuring in three out of five winners’ finals. The forty-three year old finished in the prestigious top three in 2012 and he’ll be looking to reclaim his place on the heralded podium come the end of the year.
Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard / Severne / Chris Benz / Dunkerbeck Eyewear) made a terrible start to the year as he was eliminated from the opening elimination in round one. However, the Terminator revelled in the stronger winds at the end of the week, as the promised Tramontana wind finally arrived. With the wind firmly back in his sail Dunkerbeck was able to answer any critics in emphatic fashion, as he clinched his first victory in a long time in race three, before finishing third in the last race of the event. The most decorated sailor in windsurfing history made a solid start to the season, sixth overall, which keeps him firmly in touch with the early leaders.
Another Frenchman - Cedric Bordes (Tabou / Gaastra) - also featured in the top ten, meaning forty percent of the top ten hail from France. Bordes made all but one semifinal, when he narrowly missed out to Pascal Toselli (Starboard / Point-7) in heat nine of race five. The Frenchman eventually finished the week in seventh.
Matteo Iachino (Fanatic / North) proved that he had no problems adjusting used to his new equipment - after his transfer in the close season - as he secured eighth place overall. Iachino is one of the brightest young stars on the slalom tour and he showed glimpses of the brilliance which make him so highly rated. The Italian featured in three of the five winners’ finals and should only get better as the season progresses.
After making the perfect start to the season by winning the opening elimination - Alberto Menegatti (Starboard / Point7) - will probably be slightly disappointed by how the week eventually ended for him. The Italian quite literally blew the rest of the competition away in the lighter winds, as he showed unrivalled pace, but in the stronger winds he wasn’t quite at his best and a couple of mistakes cost him dearly. Menegatti still made a decent start to the season - ninth - but it may be a case of rued chances.
Completing the overall top ten in the first event of 2014 was Josh Angulo (Angulo / Gun Sails), who demonstrated fantastic starts and consistency to qualify for two winners’ finals and two losers’ finals. Angulo has all the experience in the world and he’ll be in the thick of the action for 2014.
Elsewhere, Taty Frans (Starboard / MauiSails / Mystic / MFC) suffered a heart breaking last day where a couple of crucial mistakes cost him dearly. The Bonairean had achieved a second and fourth place before Sunday and was a serious contender for not only the podium but potentially the title too. Sadly Frans couldn’t quite hold his nerve as he eventually had to settle for thirteenth place overall. Jordy Vonk (F2 / Point-7) showed his winter training has paid off as he achieved his first ever top twenty finish, which also makes him the youngest sailor - twenty years old - in the top twenty. The young Dutchman finished seventh in the opening race, before a catastrophic error in the second elimination - sailing to the wrong mark - cost him. However, the future looks very bright for Vonk.
Where’s Next on the PWA World Tour?
From the 20th to the 24th June the contortionists of the windsurfing world will be returning to action as the freestyler’s prepare to make their debut on the PWA World Tour for 2014 in the beautiful spiritual home of freestyle - Bonaire. Don’t miss any of the explosive, mind blowing action by tuning into www.pwaworldtour.com.
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