DAVIDOFF COOL WATER SYLT WORLD CUP

Event Preview: It’s Super Grand Slam time as the slalom, freestyle and wave sailors head for Sylt

It’s that time of the year again when the elite of the slalom, freestyle and wavesailing world prepare to descend upon Germany’s famed Westerland, Sylt shores for the 31st edition of the Davidoff Cool Water Sylt PWA Super Grand Slam, which will be running from the 26th September until the 5th October.

Westerland is Germany’s northernmost town, located 186km northwest of Hamburg, and is situated on the beautiful North Sea Island of Sylt. Thanks to its affluent, glamorous lifestyle and thriving tourism industry, Westerland, has earned the reputation of being the ‘Beverly Hills’ of Germany.

Some say that variety is the spice of life and in this sense Sylt never disappoints as you never quite know what to expect - thanks to the huge variation of conditions that this wonderful island can produce. In strong onshore winds a colossal shore break develops - ready to crush the hopes of any unsuspecting competitors - along with powerful waves of up to three or four meters in size, which provide amazing wave sailing conditions, whilst producing a real challenge for the slalom and freestyle fleets. On the other hand Sylt can also produce idyllic racing and freestyle conditions, when offshore winds grace the island with their presence. One thing is for sure, to win here you need to be the complete all rounder who is willing to have their mettle tested to breaking point.

Wave

The opening day in Sylt is usually reserved as registration day, but with a promising forecast for the first day there will now be an opportunity to run the men’s and women’s wave contest if conditions prove suitable from 1pm onwards.

Men’s

As the current PWA Wave World Tour leader - Victor Fernandez (Fanatic / North / MFC) - remains the man to the beat. The Spaniard further extended his lead at the top of the rankings with an excellent second place in Cold Hawaii and we can expect to see another polished display from Fernandez - who is currently on track to earn his first world title since 2010. 

Just behind Fernandez is two-time PWA Wave World Champion - Philip Köster (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins) - who finished joint fifth in Denmark. However, Köster will still come into the event full of confidence due to the fact he was the last man to win here in Sylt in 2012. Add to this his adoring home fans, who will be backing him all the way, and he’ll be an even bigger threat. Expect to see trademark double forwards and radical tricks on the wave as he looks to reduce Fernandez’s lead at the top.

Fresh off the back of his latest success in Cold Hawaii, Denmark, Thomas Traversa (Tabou / GA Sails) will be brimming with confidence as the men head into their fourth event of the season. The Frenchman has earned a second and first place finish in his last two outings and with the fourth event of the year bringing a discard into play, TT will be hoping to discard his ninth place finish in Pozo, to move even further up the overall rankings - currently third. Traversa has been wowing both the judges and crowds with his unbelievable wave riding skills and jumping and he’ll be hoping to continue his rich vein of form here.

Reigning PWA Wave World Champion - Marcilio ‘Brawzinho’ Browne (Goya Windsurfing / MFC) - currently finds himself in fourth place overall after a third, a ninth and a fifth so far this year. Brawzinho is one of the best all round wave sailors in the world and we can expect to see the Brazilian throwing himself into more massive moves as he looks to re-establish his place in the illustrious top three.

Germany’s Klaas Voget (Fanatic / Simmer / MFC) will be another man in the mix as will Britain’s Robby Swift (JP / NeilPryde / Mystic / Maui Ultra Fins / SWOX), who moves into sixth place following his first ever podium finish in Denmark, Ricardo Campello (Patrik / Point-7 / MFC) and Jaeger Stone (SSD / Severne).

The top ten at this stage of the season is currently completed by John Skye (RRD / RRD / MFC) and Leon Jamaer (JP / NeilPryde). Of course the likes of Alex Mussolini (Tabou / GA Sails) Dany Bruch (Starboard / Challenger / AL360) will be major threats too, along with a whole host of other sailors.

Women’s

Daida Moreno (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins) sits proudly at the top of the rankings as the women head into their third event of the year. Daida holds a perfect record at this stage and will know that another victory here will make her uncatchable at the top of the rankings, so we can expect to see her going bigger than ever as she looks to secure yet another world title.

The 2012 PWA Wave World Champion - Iballa Moreno (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins) - sits just behind her twin sister in second place after pushing Daida all the way in each of the opening two events. Iballa was able to win here in 2012 and she’ll be hoping to do the same again to keep her titles hopes for this year alive. 

Steffi Wahl (Patrik / Sailloft Hamburg / SWOX) will be looking to cement her place in third position in Sylt. The German gem currently holds a third and a fifth after Pozo and Tenerife. Wahl will be desperate to produce another good performance here as she goes in search of securing her first ever finish in the overall top three.

Amanda Beenen (Tabou / GA Sails) is right on Wahl’s tail though and the two girls are currently tied on points. Only Wahl better third place finish keeps ahead compared to Beenen’s to fourth place finishes. Expect to see an epic battle between the duo as the result here could well play a pivotal role in deciding who claims the prestigious final place on the podium.

Alice Arutkin (Fanatic / North) will be another name in the mix and the French beauty currently holds fifth place overall, closely followed by the Freestyle Queen - Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / Mystic) - who is also starting to show her skills in the waves, after claiming her maiden podium in Tenerife. 

Other names to watch will be the likes of Eva Oude Ophuis (Fanatic / North, Justyna Sniady (Simmer / Mystic) and Olya Raskina (JP / NeilPryde).

Slalom 

Men’s

Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde) stormed back to the top of the rankings after finishing second in Turkey, enabling him to drop his last place in Turkmenistan. The reigning world champion has won the last two events in Sylt and he’ll be doing everything in his power to claim a famous victory of event titles. Expect to see Albeau right at the forefront by the end of the event. 

The French are currently dominating the slalom discipline with four places out of the top ten being held by a Frenchman. The next highest placed man from France is Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard / Severne) followed by Pascal Toselli (Starboard / Point-7) and Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / North) who sit second, third and fourth respectively. They may come from the same country but when they hit the water there is no room for niceties and we can expect to see more exhilarating racing.

Just behind the top four is flying Dutchman - Ben Van Der Steen (Tabou / GA Sails / Mystic) - who is one of the quickest men on the tour and will be hoping to produce another strong performance here. As will Italy’s Matteo Iachino (Fanatic / North) - who is enjoying his best season to date - Cape Verde’s Josh Angulo (Angulo / Gun Sails), Britain’s Ross Williams (Tabou / GA Sails / Mystic) and Israel’s Arnon Dagan (RRD / NelPryde)

After claiming his maiden victory on the PWA Slalom World Tour in Turkey - Julien Quentel (RRD / NeilPryde) - will be looking to carry the superb form he showed in the last event into Sylt. Quentel endured a slow start to the season, having finished third overall in 2013, but looks as though he’s back to his best and he should be challenging for top honours again here. 

Freestyle 

Men’s

Reigning world champion - Kiri Thode (Starboard / GA Sails) - comes into the final freestyle event of the year requiring a second place or better to guarantee himself back-to-back world titles. The Bonairean secured first place on his home island of Bonaire before claiming second in Fuerteventura. Thode fought his way to his maiden title with a brilliant display in Sylt last year, and he’ll be more determined than ever to clinch victory here as he goes for world title number two.

Hoping to cause an upset will be 2011 world champion - Steven van Broeckhoven (JP / NeilPryde) - and five-time world champion - Jose ‘Gollito’ Estredo (Fanatic / North / MFC). The Belgium maestro would claim back his title if he can win the event and Thode finishes fourth or worse, however if Thode finishes third then it would come down to a tiebreak. Meanwhile, Gollito would need Thode to finish fourth or worse, whilst winning the event himself in order to claim an incredible sixth world crown. One things for sure, there’s all to play for and we are set to see a fascinating finale to 2014 PWA Freestyle World Tour. Who will hold their bottle and who will crack under the pressure?

Just outside the top three is eighteen year old - Amado Vrieswijk (Starboard / Severne) - who finished last season as the PWA Youth Freestyle World Champion and has continued to go from strength-to-strength this year and is set for his best overall finish in his short career, so far, after third and fourth place finishes. The Bonairean has really announced himself on the freestyle stage this year with unbelievable consistency combined with an explosive array of tricks. Fellow Bonairean’s - Tonky Frans (Tabou / GA Sails), Taty Frans (Starboard / MauiSails / Mystic / MFC) and Bjorn Saragoza (Starboard / Hot Sails Maui) - will of course be major threats too with their unique, effortless, island style. Sadly though they’ll be no Youp Schmit (JP / Avanti), after the nineteen year old was forced to retire for the remainder of the season due to an ongoing knee injury.

Completing the top ten at the moment is brilliant Belgian Dieter Van Der Eyken (Starboard / Severne), France’s super stylish Anthony Ruenes (Tabou / GA Sails) and Dutch maestro Davy Scheffers (Tabou / GA Sails), who occupy fifth, ninth and tenth respectively. However, don’t be surprised any number of other world class freestylers breaking into the top ten such is the closeness in level on the tour at the moment. 

The next ten days are shaping up to be unmissable as the world’s best windsurfers prepare to perform in front of the biggest crowds of the year, in excess of 200,000 people come the end of the event. Luckily you won’t have to miss a moment of it at all, even if you can’t be there in person, simply by tuning into www.pwaworldtour.com, where you’ll able to follow the fantastic action as it happens via the PWA live stream and live ticker.