Exit 2005, enter 2006: PWA sailors' reflections and ambitions.
The 2005 PWA World Tour is history, but with 2006 just around the corner, PWA sailors around the world are getting ready for a new season of competition. We caught up with several of them reflecting on the 2005 tour and the season up ahead. Find out what their highs and lows of 2005 were and how they prepare for battle on the upcoming tour.
Home sweet home
After finishing their tour of duty, most sailors went back home. For a lucky few such as Kevin Pritchard, home means Maui where relaxation could be combined with training in the best conditions. Others like Dan Ellis and Cyril Moussilmani, had to make due with what the changeable European conditions would throw at them. The Canaries also offered many PWA sailors a safe haven for being with family, training and studying, including Antxon Otaegui, Nayra Alonso and Iballa Moreno. Bjorn Dunkerbeck went south to scream down the speed course in Namibia, while wave discipline’s 2nd in command Nik Baker traveled between Maui for testing and the UK for being with his newborn son. John Skye went from Sylt to winning in Tiree and then on to South Africa and Maui to prepare for the 2006 season. Antoine Albeau and Allison Shreeve didn’t slow down a bit and proceeded to win the Formula Worlds in Sydney.
For many sailors it has been a year of ups and downs, but the overall feeling among the riders is definitely a positive one. Some, like Nik Baker, went from rock bottom straight to the top: “I’m pretty happy considering I started the year in hospital with a dislocated shoulder and then managed to finish the tour second in waves”. For Antxon Otaegui it was all good. “It was great! I had a lot of fun doing the whole tour and met a lot of people; a super nice experience!” as the Spaniard reflects on his 2005 season. Kevin Pritchard doesn’t let himself off too easy: “2005 was a pretty so so season for me. I finished second in Super X and fourth in waves and Slalom 42, so it wasn’t too bad. I just expect a lot out of myself.”
For Dan Ellis, this was his best season yet:” It’s great that slalom racing is back on the tour, breathing some fresh life into the PWA disciplines.” Race machine Bjorn Dunkerbeck is pleased to see slalom back on the menu as well: “Winning in Slalom 42 shows that I can still do it, even after not having competed in any slalom contest for four years.” Antoine Albeau is not complaining either: ”I finished third in Slalom 42 and I had a good result in Pozo, getting fifth in waves. Not too bad.” John Skye has mixed emotions about 2005:”I had some really good moments and some really bad ones. This year I finished eleventh in waves, one place lower in waves than in 2004. I had a lot of bad luck and close calls against me, but it has motivated me more than ever to really focus on sailing my best in every heat.” Both Iballa Moreno and Nayra Alonso have been troubled by injuries, preventing them from giving it a 100%. “I am really happy with my wave result, but in freestyle I was basically recovering from an injury and it took me a while to get back into it”, Moreno explains while Alonso had a similar year:” On the one hand I am very happy with my waves result, but on the other I’m not too pleased, as I have been a bit weak due to back injuries making me very unconfident.” Cyril Moussilmani has his sights firmly set on the future: “I don’t look back. What’s done is done.”
Highs & lows
Throughout a touring season anything can and will happen. Taty Frans is one sailor that experienced the sweet and the sour of the PWA World Tour: ”Highlights for me were getting second in freestyle in Lanzarote and competing in Super X. The London Indoor was awesome too! Getting my chin all stitched up after hitting myself in the face with my knee in a double forward in Pozo was not my greatest moment on tour!” Nik Baker also went from injury to euphoria, first dislocating his shoulder at the London indoor and later on getting second in waves in Pozo and the overall. Dan Ellis enjoyed winning slalom heats against Dunkerbeck best and cannot think of any lows:” How can there be bad parts, when you’re living the life of your dreams!” Pozo girls Nayra Alonso and Iballa Moreno had their best moments in the Gran Canaria wave contest. Alonso isn’t too thrilled about her freestyle performance though:” My worst times were during my freestyle contests. I just haven’ t been very motivated for freestyle this year.” Moreno is still kicking herself for letting the Super X title slip through her fingers, but is highly motivated to retaliate next year. For John Skye, Guincho formed the highlight of the 2005 tour:” I finished fourth there, which was my best result in waves ever. Having grown up in the middle of England, learned to sail on a lake and never having sailed waves until I was seventeen, it was pretty special to get a good result in that discipline. It really motivated me.”
Preparations for the 2006 tour are well underway with most sailors getting as much time on the water as possible to train for various disciplines and tuning their equipment. While Iballa Moreno adds surfing to her training mix, Antxon Otaegui prefers wakeboarding and motor cross to help him when practicing new moves on the water. John Skye spends a lot of time in the gym, finding it helps him to muscle his way through new moves. Whatever the method of preparation, the goals are clear:
Taty Frans: “Top 3 in freestyle and Super X and compete in Slalom 42 on Fuerte if I get a wildcard.”
Nayra Alonso:”Do better in waves, and by that I don’t mean a better result, but to improve my wavesailing.”
Nik Baker:”To go one better in the waves and to get into the top 3 at least in Super X.”
Kevin Pritchard:”To win everything, have fun and enjoy life.”
Antoine Albeau:” World champ in Slalom 42, Super X and speed; a lot of work!”
John Skye:” I am going to really focus on the waves and Super X. I would like to get inside the top 5 in both disciplines. I know that’s difficult, but with more focus and more preparation I know it’s possible.”
Iballa Moreno: ”I would like to win at least one of the three disciplines.”
Dan Ellis: “Put up a good fight, and always keep moving up.”
Cyril Moussilmani: “Do the same or better.”
Bjorn Dunkerbeck: “Winning Slalom 42.”
Antxon Otaegui: “To become world champion. That’s why we’re all here!”
For all the latest on the world’s best windsurfers and their quest for glory, stay tuned to www.pwaworldtour.com. Opening the 2006 PWA World Tour is the London Boat Show, kicking off on the 12th of January.