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Ross Williams in Cabo Verde

The 2008 PWA World Tour – Season Summary

With the 2008 season now done and dusted, and some time taken to reflect on yet another magnificent year of competition, here’s a run down of the trials and tribulations of the epic 2008 PWA World Tour.

The 2008 PWA World Tour At A Glance

Events: 9.
Days of competition: 71.
Competitors: >200.
Disciplines: Wave, Slalom, Freestyle.
Prize money: A combined total of $670,000 USD shared between men and women.
World Champions Crowned: 6.
Constructors Champions Crowned: 3.

The Season

Stop 1:
Sal, Cabo Verde.
Discipline: Waves (Men).
Dates: March 07 – 16.
Prize fund: €30K.

Igniting the flame of the 2008 PWA World Tour, the Cape Verde island archipelago made a bold statement for the season’s opening event, firing up the now infamous Punta Preta point break, and delivering truly world-class conditions once again.

The event took place over a ten-day period, and saw the PWA utilize the roving competition format, to complete a full single elimination and the majority of the double elimination.

Fighting through the ranks of the single elimination, Kauli Seadi (JP / NeilPryde / Mormaii / MFC) emerged victorious after staving off the local favorite, Josh Angulo (MauiSails / Dakine), to place him in waiting at the end of the ensuing double elimination.

Advancing into the double elimination, the contest roamed Sal’s exposed beaches to take in the finest waves on offer, and ultimately hand the first decisive victory of the season to Brazil’s finest, Kauli Seadi, after he avenged his previous years defeat at the hands of Josh Angulo.

Stop 2: Podersdorf, Austria.
Discipline: Freestyle (Men).
Dates: April 29 – May 04.
Prize fund: €30K.

Providing the first outing for the men’s freestyle fleet, the Podersdorf World Cup is an explosive mix of windsurfing, music and partying, set to the beautiful backdrop of Neusiedler See Lake.

Renowned for testing and variable conditions, Podersdorf stayed true to form in 2008, and challenged both the mental and physical strength of all the competing sailors. The competition also bore witness to the first entire event judged via the innovative ‘best move’ format, which has now been fully adopted by the PWA judging team.

After six days of competition in storms, squalls, and thermal breezes, the event came to an exciting conclusion, as the 2007 Freestyle World Champion, Marcilio ‘Brawzinho’ Browne (Mistral / Gaastra) dueled with Jose ‘Gollito’ Estredo (Fanatic / North / MFC) to decide upon the event winner in the last dying minutes of the competition.

The tense spectacle ultimately handed victory to Estredo, after a series of killer blows culminated with a merciless no handed flaka up the beach, leaving Browne silent in response. Champagne showers, huge crowds, and an electric prize giving ceremony provided a fitting farewell to Austria’s picturesque shores, before the tour undertook the 5000 mile journey to Korea’s, Jinha Beach.

Stop 3: Ulsan, Korea.
Discipline: Slalom.
Dates: May 12 – 17.
Prize fund: €45K.

Luring slalom’s biggest hitters to the shores of south east Korea, the PWA Ulsan World Cup is a glamorous collision of rich eastern culture, and windsurfing’s dynamic slalom racing discipline.

2008 marked the PWA’s second year of competition on Ulsan’s idyllic, Jinha Beach. Unfortunately, however, the event would fall victim to the single variable that was impossible to control, the wind.

Six days of nerve wracking stop-starting ultimately produced no official result, though the event will long live in the memories of all those lucky enough to take part in this cultural odyssey into the heart of Korea’s beautiful Ulju County. Special thanks are extended to the Ulsan Broadcasting Corporation for their sponsorship and support of this event.

Stop 4: Costa Brava, Spain.
Discipline: Slalom.
Dates: June 10 – 15.
Prize fund: €45K.

Situated at the foot of the breathtaking Pyrenean mountains, The Bay of Roses welcomed slalom’s elite athletes to its shores to celebrate a decade of competition at the event’s title sponsor, La Ballena Alegre 2 campsite, and kick start the second race event of the season. Hitting the history books from the outset, the event boasted the biggest slalom fleet in eight years of PWA competition.

Famed for its thrilling atmosphere, the event attracts fans from all over Europe, who come to rub shoulders with their idols at the weeklong windsurfing extravaganza. Over the duration of the competition, three race eliminations were completed in both the male and female slalom fleets.

Rising up through their respective ranks, Antoine Albeau (Starboard / NeilPryde) and Karin Jaggi (F2 / North) gritted their teeth to edge past the opposition and take the season’s early lead, in conditions ranging from howling Tramontana trade winds, to light and marginal breezes.

The Costa Brava will be remembered for Albeau’s awe inspiring racing that saw him systematically demolish his rivals, and the rise of one of Slalom’s future stars, Lee Korzitz (Tabou / Gaastra), who placed an impressive third in her first ever event.

Stop 5: Costa Teguise, Lanzarote.
Discipline: Freestyle.
Dates: June 23 – 28.
Prize Fund: €45K.

Launching into the inaugural event on the Canaries leg of the World Tour, Costa Teguise always delivers mammoth quantities of hard hitting action, thanks to the super consistent local trade winds, and the little known offshore reef, which sits directly in the centre of the competition area and frequently jacks up mast high sets.

Over the course of the event, both the male and female freestylers hit the water to complete two full double eliminations, a grueling undertaking. With well over 100 heats sailed in battering 25-40 knot winds, the event winners Jose Estredo, and Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / NeilPryde) could deservedly revel in their comprehensive victories, before regaining focus for their next Canarian showdown.

Stop 6: Pozo, Gran Canaria.
Disciplines: Slalom (Men) / Wave (Men and Women) / Freestyle (Women).
Dates: July 3 – 12.
Prize Fund: €90K

Pozo’s brutal proving ground can always be relied upon to deliver turbo charged winds and a bounty of ramps, with 2008 being no exception. Churning out wind and waves from day one, it wasn’t long before the wave fleet were soaring high above the foaming Pozo waters, and into the iconic, death defying jumps that typify this unique location.

Taming the high seas, Victor Fernandez (Fanatic / Simmer / MFC) laid waste to Ricardo Campello (JP / NeilPryde / MFC) in the men’s wave double elimination final, marking a memorable third successive victory in Pozo, with not a single heat dropped.

In the women’s wave double elimination, a characteristically slick performance from Daida Moreno (North) earned her victory ahead of fellow finalist, Karin Jaggi, to add to her unprecedented run at the top of the podium over her years on tour.

The slalom fleet completed an impressive nine eliminations over the course of the event, including one full fleet race. The headline story once again came from Albeau, who flexed his muscles to win eight of the nine races, in arguably one of the most decisive racing displays ever witnessed on the PWA World Tour. Kevin Pritchard (Starboard / Gaastra / MFC / Dakine) and Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard / North) chased the domineering Frenchman in second and third respectively.

In the women’s freestyle contest, Offringa hit the ground running after her previous victory in Lanzarote, effortlessly winning both single and double eliminations to give her a colossal lead en route to the final women’s freestyle event of the season, in Fuerteventura. In second, Daida Moreno utilized her local knowledge to fight her way passed fierce rivalry from Laure Treboux (Fanatic / North) and Junko Nagoshi (Tabou / Simmer).

However, Pozo 2008 will forever be remembered for the first triple forward loop ever attempted competition. Ricardo Campello was the man, and the story received media coverage in all four corners of the world.
 
Stop 7:
Sotavento, Fuerteventura.
Disciplines: Slalom / Freestyle
Dates: July 18 – 28.
Prize Fund: €90,000

Swapping the stones of Pozo for the sands of Fuerteventura, the PWA circus rolled into Sotavento, in the southeast corner of the island, to embark on ten days of adrenalin- fuelled, multi discipline windsurf action. Boasting a wealth of heritage, Fuerteventura proudly lays claim to being one of the most enduring fixtures on the World Tour, with a history of competition at the title sponsor, Rene Egli Pro Centre, that extends back over two decades.

Dividing the action into two, five day slots, the racers took centre stage for the first half of the contest. In total, a muscle trembling 14 slalom eliminations were sailed in both the men’s and women’s divisions, which included two spectacular full fleet races.

Reinforcing his magnificent run of form, Albeau once again raised his game, and excelled in the powered- up conditions to win seven of the fourteen races, and firmly cement himself at the top of the overall podium. In the women’s fleet, Valerie Ghibaudo (Tabou / The Loft) produced an even more domineering performance, winning nine out of the fourteen eliminations, handing her one of her most notable victories to date.

The freestylers were greeted with a building groundswell and relentless 30-35 knot winds. When battle commenced, Browne shone in the powerful Sotavento cross offshore winds, claiming two of the three double eliminations as his, and in turn the event victory.

In the women’s division, it was business as usual for Offringa, who clinically dispatched her rivals to win an unprecedented 3 double eliminations out of 3, handing her the 2008 Freestyle World Title without losing a single heat.

Stop 8: Alaçati, Turkey.
Discipline: Slalom.
Dates: August 11 – 16.
Prize Fund: €45K.

The tour’s penultimate event soaked up the sun and sand of Turkey’s windsurfing hotspot, Alaçati. Indulging in entirely contrasting conditions to the Canaries leg of the tour, balmy sun, mirror flat azure waters, and a refreshing 10-20 knot breeze greeted the record size slalom fleet to Alaçati’s shores.

With such disparity compared to all other events, it seemed fitting that Albeau relinquished his grip on the 2008 season, allowing Dunkerbeck to barge him aside and claim his first event victory of the season, thanks to four race wins out of eleven. For Albeau, his second overall was enough to hand him the 2008 PWA Slalom World Title.

The women’s fleet witnessed another courageous clash between Jaggi and Ghibaudo, however Ghibaudo’s seemingly machine- like execution propelled her to an untouchable level at the top of the ranks, after she won seven out of eleven races. Jaggi finished up in second, handing her the 2008 PWA Slalom World Title.

The PWA wish to express their thanks to the event’s title sponsor, Pegasus Airlines, for making this phenomenally successful event a truly world class windsurfing exhibition once again.

Stop 9: Sylt, Germany.
Disciplines: Slalom / Wave / Freestyle.
Dates: September 26 – October 05.
Prize fund: €105K

The 2008 World Tour reached its final destination on the white sands of Sylt’s famed, Westerland beach. The competition marked an extraordinary milestone in the competition’s heritage, signifying a quarter of a century of competition at the Sylt World Cup. For 2008, Colgate once again rose to the challenge and pulled out all the stops as the event’s title sponsor.

Always keen to make a statement to the windsurfing world, the event welcomed over 200,000 windsurf fans to its shores, to lay eyes on the world’s best windsurfers, throwing down in some of the best conditions the Sylt World Cup has ever witnessed.

The slalom fleet entertained a nail biting four elimination contest that culminated in victory for Bjorn Dunkerbeck, his second successive event victory. In the men’s freestyle fleet, an equally tense display saw underdog, Antxon Otaegui (JP, NeilPryde, MFC), take on Jose Estredo.

In a landslide judging decision, Otaegui was awarded the victory, handing him the event title. For Estredo, his second place finish was enough to bag him his second successive Freestyle World Title.

The wave fleet endured early starts, monster waves, and punishing 50 knot North Sea winds. Rising to the challenge, Victor Fernandez defeated Kauli Seadi in a truly epic final, which saw the sailors competing on 3.3m sails. Seadi’s second place was enough to crown him the 3 x PWA World Wave Champion, and Fernandez the 2008 PWA World Tour runner up.

In the women’s wave fleet, conditions proved to be just too brutal to complete the finals, cutting the competition short at the end of semi finals. This saw both Moreno’s tied in first place for the event, enough to hand Daida Moreno the 2008 PWA World Wave Title.


The PWA wish to extend their thanks to all the sponsors that made this remarkable season the spectacle it was, and to everyone who contributed along the way. We look forward to an equally inspirational season in 2009.  

Full summaries of all these events, including photos, videos, and an extensive archive of previous seasons, can be found at www.pwaworldtour.com

For more information, email: info@pwaworldtour.com

PWA / Andrew Buchanan