Women’s Slalom 2009

A full season of high-level competition sees Valérie Ghibaudo win the world title.

The PWA Women’s Slalom World Tour began with a first stop in Korea, where the entire country welcomed our windsurfing stars. The competition took place in Ulsan, a metropolitan city in the south-east of South Korea, which is a real magnet for Asian windsurfers who visit the area for its beach scene, and great windsurfing conditions.

After Korea, the Tour hit Europe for the second event in Costa Brava, and the final event in Turkey. The women’s fleet had their own sponsor at the final event, Rozi, who organized some special women's fun cups to keep the public entertained - it was a great success!

The whole 2009 season was once again a hard battle for the female riders but this meant they were assured of some wonderful moments together.

The winners

Slalom World Champion // Valérie Ghibaudo (Tabou, Loft)

First place comes naturally this year to French sailor Valérie Ghibaudo. After 3 victories out of 3 events she is the 2009 PWA Slalom World Champion without any doubt. She's been racing on the PWA world tour for several years now, and the experience she has acquired is leading her to the highest level. For many years she'd been battling hard with Karin Jaggi (Severne), and this is the first time she has beaten her in the overall rankings. Valerie had the following to say:

This year was a tough one for me personally because of lots of medical problems. Luckily I found the strength to go on, even if it wasn't easy every day, but I really wanted to give it my best to get the world title. And that's what I did! I'm really happy about that and I will fight hard next season to keep this title in hand.”

Vice Slalom World Champion // Karin Jaggi (Severne)

In second position is Karin Jaggi, who has lead the women’s slalom tour for many years. Karin simply notes:

“You can never really be happy with a second place if you’ve been first! But I am really happy for Valerie, and don't worry I'll be back!

When speaking with her, she seemed surprise in a good way about how competition is moving up in the girl's fleet:

“The fight was very hard because of my own poor performance. In Korea I was not yet really set with my new gear. Then by Costa Brava I felt a lot better and it was a close fight between Valerie and me. But in Alacati I didn’t perform, mainly because I was not used to having to fight that much! The level is much higher than in previous years and the girls fight a lot harder for a good ranking.”

3rd position // Sarah Hebert (Starboard, Naish)

Getting third in the PWA slalom world championships for the 3rd time, Sarah Hebert, born in France and sailing for Armenia, feels more and more confident on the water.  She tells us:

“This was a really exciting year, as the level is getting better and better with more women competing, and coming from all over the world. It's great for women’s windsurfing!”

Sarah has just left Brittany, where she lives in France, to spend the whole winter in New Caledonia, where she comes from, to train hard by focusing on race strategy and tuning her new equipment.


What now?

Female PWA pro riders will be at the heart of the action next year with a Women’s only final event in France, at the end of October. This women's event will be the last competition for both the slalom and freestyle pro riders. Time for a bit of girl power as the spot light will be fixed firmly on them.



1 – Valérie Ghibaudo (Tabou, Loft)

2 – Karin Jaggi (Severne)

3 – Sarah Hebert (Straboard, Naish)

4 – Alice Arutkin (Starboard, North)

5 – Cagla Kubat (Starboard, North)