Day 1: Registration, rigging and relaxing on the opening day in New Caledonia

On the opening day of the Airwaves Noumea Dream Cup PWA, which is the final event on the 2014 PWA World Tour, the competitors registered for the upcoming six days of contest, which will see fifty-seven men and twelve women battling it out over Noumea’s pristine waters. The sun shined all day, but unfortunately the wind didn’t cooperate, meaning the sailors were released at 4:30pm, before the spectacular official opening ceremony was held at the Chateau Royal Beach Resort and Spa at 6pm to conclude the first day.

Over the course of the day we caught up with a few of the competitors for a quick chat:

Event Ambassador Robert Teriitehau – who last competed on the PWA eleven years ago had this to say: “I’m feeling good ahead of the event – it’s sunny and it looks like it should be windy. On the first day of the Royal Contest we had wind, so everyone has already been on the water to try their stuff.”

On competing again Territehau said: “I have no idea how I’m feeling about competing again. I just put my feet back in the straps for the first time two days ago and it is not easy at all. I was quite lost, my footstraps weren’t the right positions and my feet the next day were so sore as well as my back and all my muscles. It was super hard work and that wasn’t even racing. That was just sailing up and down - practising. It was like another world.”

Territehau on the title race: “Do you know what, I’ve only seen a bit of the result, but it looks pretty close between the three remaining guys, so I think either of them has a good shot at it.”

“I think even for the young guy [Mortefon] who is slightly further behind, I think it would be really good thing for him and the sport if he could win. It would give a new name at the top, which I think would be a boost for windsurfing and giving the young guys on the tour more motivation to make it. I think the title will be decided by whoever is seeing the start line more clearly and who is able to keep their concentration for the whole time.” 

Next up was Turkey’s Lena Erdil (Patrik / Loft Sails / Mystic / AL360) - who has been in New Caledonia for the last twelve days and currently sits third in the overall rankings:

PWA: What have your first impressions of New Caledonia been?

LE: “It’s really, really beautiful. I was really lucky, there was a girl I met, on Facebook actually, who is from here and also sailing on Patrik and Loft Sails and she invited me to stay with her for the first week - she even took holidays, so I had my own personal tour guide. She’s taken me to the most amazing places. We went camping about three hours away from here in a place called Poya Beach, which is famous for its crystal clear waters, so we were windsurfing and camping there for a couple of days - it was really, really nice.”

PWA: You are currently tied on points with Valerie [Ghibaudo] for second and third - how are you feeling ahead of the final event?

LE: “I’m feeling good. I’ve had an okay season up to now, so we’ll just have to see. She’s a really good sailor, so it’s going to be tough. We’ve had this kind of fight already a couple of time over the past few seasons, with each of us coming out on top on different occasions, so we’ll just have to see how it goes. It should definitely be a good battle though.”

PWA: Thanks, Lena, good luck for the remainder of the event. 

We also caught up with Björn Dunkerbeck (Starboard / Severne / Chris Benz / Dunkerbeck Eyewear), who will be participating in his final event here in New Caledonia, bringing down the curtain on a star studded career:

PWA: How are you feeling ahead of your final event on the PWA World Tour?

BD: “I’ve been here a couple of times 20 to 25 years ago, so I’ve had many hours on the water here and when the trade wind blows it’s a really nice slalom venue. The weather forecast looks good too, so I think we’re going to windsurf more here this week than the whole year. I’m looking forward to it and it should be a good one.”

PWA: Are you pleased to be back here?

BD: “Absolutely pleased to be back in New Caledonia, it’s a shame it’s been twenty years since the last one, but hopefully the forecast will come through and you guys will be back for many years to come.”

PWA: Thanks, Björn and good luck in your final contest.   

The forecast for tomorrow looks similar today, so there may be one more day to wait before the racing begins. However, the forecast from Thursday onwards looks as though the trades will return guaranteeing plenty of warp speed slalom. Skippers’ meeting will be held at 10am tomorrow morning with the action commencing from 10:30am. Don’t miss any of the action by tuning into - here you’ll be able to follow the event as it happens via the PWA live stream and live ticker.

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