Hvide Sande PWA World Cup
The last week in Denmark saw virtually the whole spectrum of slalom conditions it is possible to compete it, which provided the most all-round test of the season so far with winds anywhere from 8 knots right up to 45 knots testing the sailor's mettle and resolve against whatever Hvide Sande had to throw at them.
In the women’s division each day saw one of the main title contenders - Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / NeilPryde / Maui Ultra Fins), Delphine Cousin Questel(Starboard / S2Maui) and Lena Erdil (Starboard / Point-7 / AL360) - stake their claim for the event title, while trying to keep their world title aspirations alive.
Current vice-world Lena Erdil won the battle on the opening day as the Turkish beauty clinched the first bullet of the week before backing it up with a solid second place to lead the event at the end of day two - after a windless first day. However, after that bright start, Erdil saw her title challenge derail for the second year in a row in Hvide Sande after a disappointing run of results on the following days, which saw Erdil slip outside of the podium places at an event for the first time since August 2015. Despite a poor end to the event Erdil remains in 2nd place the overall rankings but will face a stern challenge in the season finale in New Caledonia to defender place on the overall podium.
With Erdil’s challenge falling by the wayside that left Offringa and Cousin Questel to battle it out, but after Day 3 it looked as the Aruban had all but wrapped up the 2017 PWA Women’s Slalom World Championship after the multiple time world champion reeled off a hat-trick of bullets to take a stranglehold over the event and world title race.
However, Cousin Questel hadn’t given up hope yet of denying Offringa and the former two-time world champion produced a rousing performance on Day 4 by taming the storm force winds to secure two clinical bullets which hauled her back into contention, while setting up an intense final day battle. If Cousin Questel could win the final elimination of the week she would snatch the event victory from Offringa’s hands and force the title race into a decider in New Caledonia.
The final race couldn’t have been any more dramatic as every girl - including Offringa - was disqualified from the opening semifinal for sailing the wrong course - presenting Cousin Questel with a dream scenario to stage a stunning comeback with just 5 girls left to compete in the winners’ final. The 26-year-old led, as many would’ve expected, into the opening gybe, but then disaster struck as she dropped her gybe - and with the light winds - Cousin Questel was left powerless as she watched her title hope dreams fade away for another year.
One persons misery was another’s joy - and relief - as Offringa was let off the hook for a rare mistake and after barely putting a foot wrong all season she deservedly wraps up this year’s Women’s PWA Slalom World Championship with an event to spare - which is her 4th slalom world title and her 14th overall - after collecting her 10th PWA Freestyle World Championship earlier this year.
Marion Mortefon (Fanatic / NorthSails) saw her incredible consistency (5 top 3 finishes out of the 7 races completed - including victory in the last) rewarded to earn her second podium of the season, which brings her firmly into contention for the overall podium as she will now hope to discard her 11th place from Japan. The 25-year-old will be battling it out against Cousin Questel, Erdil and Maëlle Guilbaud (Patrik / LoftSails) - who remains on course for her best season on the world tour after another solid performance in Denmark - 5th - which sees her remain 3rd in the overall rankings with an event to go, but with discards to come into play it is likely she will just miss out on the overall top 3 come the end of the year.
Elsewhere, debutant Jenna Gibson (Fanatic / NorthSails) caught the eye as she finished 3rd in the first elimination of the week, before wrapping up the event with another 3rd to take home an impressive 6th place in her opening event and she could be one to watch.
Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde) bounced back from an uncharacteristically slow start, which saw him finish 10th and 4th in the opening two races to eventually seal his third event in a row as the 23-time world champion remains firmly on course for another world title. After that slow start, by his standards, Albeau then activated beast mode to win 4 consecutive races, which shot him to the top the event rankings. With thewind not arriving until mid-afternoon on the final day, Albeau was officially crowned the winner of the event before the completion of the last race - with AA just out of the reach of reigning world champion Matteo Iachino (Starboard / Point-7 / Shamal Sunglasses).
In the preview, we stated that Iachino looked to be back to his absolute best and he showed that from the start in Denmark as he made a perfect start to the event with two bullets. However, there was nothing he or anyone could do against Albeau in the howling winds of Day 4 and despite winning Elimination 7 - his 3rd victory of the week - the Italian missed out by just 0.3 of a point.
The title race now looks as though it will be a two-man fight between Albeau and Iachino with Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / NorthSails / Chopper Fins) losing valuable ground to his two rivals. The Frenchman sailed solidly again to secure 5th place, but you’d have to feel he would need to win both of the remaining events and have Albeau and Iachino both underperform to have any chance. However, he remains firmly in the hunt for the overall top 3.
At this stage Ross Williams (Tabou / GA Sails / Mystic / Shamal Sunglasses) is Mortefon’s biggest rival with the two heavyweights tied on points - 3010 - after the Brit recorded back-to-back podiums with another excellent performance. Williams held off a stern challenge from good friend Arnon Dagan (RRD / NeilPryde) on the final day to defend 3rd place, with Dagan having to settle for 4th, but he will be happy to have bounced back from a disappointing 36th place in Fuerteventura and one more good result would see him rise back into the overall top 10 - currently 13th.
Julien Quentel (Patrik / Avanti) rises to 5th in the overall rankings after being able to discard his 20th place from Costa Brava after producing a solid performance, which never saw him finish outside the top 16. Quentel’s consistency saw him finish 6th in Denmark.
Maciek Rutkowski (Tabou / GA Sails) made a bright start to the week with 3 top 10 finishes in a row (8th, 6th, 10th), but then faced a wobble in the middle of the event after 3rd round and quarterfinal exits in Elimination 4 and 5. In the past the Pole may have crumbled but this week he found the tenacity and mental resolve to bounce back - taking advantage of Amado Vrieswijk’s (JP / Severne) mistake in the final race to snatch the last place in the winners’ final - where he would record his best result of the week - 5th - which deservedly earns the 25th year old his best result since 2014 - where he also finished 7th in Sylt.
Antoine Questel (Starboard / S2Maui) has been Mr. Consistent throughout the season and the Frenchman maintained his form over the last week to record his 3rd top 10 finish of the year - 8th - here in Hvide Sande, which sees him rise one place to 7th in the overall rankings.
Tristan Algret (Starboard / Severne / Mystic / Chopper Fins) flies into the overall top 10 after an excellent week which saw him claim 9th place in Denmark. The former PWA Youth World Champion is still only 23-years-old, but already looks to becoming of age with added consistency and maturity in each of his performances this year. Algret will now be determined to maintain his current level of performance in the remaining two events as he is currently on course to smash his previous best of 18th overall in 2015.
Brazilian Mateus Isaac (JP / NeilPryde) seems to enjoy sailing in Denmark. The 23-year-old claimed 8th place here in 2016 and enjoyed another fine week to finish 10th, which is his best result of the season by far.
Elsewhere, Pascal Toselli (99NoveNove / LoftSails) just missed out on his 3rd top 10 finish in a row after being nudged out to 11th place on the final day, but the Frenchman still rises to 6th place the overall rankings after being able to discard his 29th place from Korea.
With two events to go Gonzalo Costa Hoevel (Starboard / Severne / Chopper Fins) and Cyril Moussilmani (99NoveNove /Severne) complete the overall top 10, but they have Marco Lang (Fanatic / NorthSails) and Sebastian Kördel (Starboard / GA Sails) right on their tails. Lang now sits in 11th after recovering brilliantly from a disappointing result in Japan, while Kördel slips outside the overall top 10 for the first time season after a bright start in Denmark quickly faded after a run of poor results.
The second edition of the Waterz Hvide Sande PWA World Cup was even better than last year - with many classing the 4th day of racing as some of the best they have ever competed in. The last week saw some incredible racing and plenty of drama that you couldn’t have scripted and the PWA would like to extend their thanks to the organisers and the local people for their hospitality and we look forward to hopefully returning in 2018.
You can review all the news from Denmark— including the live stream, elimination ladders, entry list, images and live ticker simply by clicking HERE and scroll to the bottom of the page.
Where’s Next on the PWA World Tour?
In just under two weeks time, arguably the biggest event on the calendar will begin with the Mercedes-Benz Sylt PWA World Cup, which takes place between the 29th September - 8th October, as the men’s and women’s wave fleets together with the men’s freestyle and slalom fleets prepare to do battle once again. Make sure you tune into www.pwaworldtour.com to follow all of the epic action as it happens via the PWA live stream.
Result 2017 Hvide Sande PWA World Cup: Women's Slalom
1st Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / NeilPryde / Maui Ultra Fins)
2nd Delphine Cousin Questel (Starboard / S2Maui)
3rd Marion Mortefon (Fanatic / NorthSails)
4th Lena Erdil (Starboard / Point-7 / AL360)
5th Maëlle Guilbaud (Starboard / Loft Sails)
Result 2017 Hvide Sande PWA World Cup: Men's Slalom
1st Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde)
2nd Matteo Iachino (Starboard / Point-7 / Shamal Sunglasses)
3rd Ross Williams (Tabou / GA Sails / Mystic / Shamal Sunglasses)
4th Arnon Dagan (RRD / NeilPryde)
5th Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / NorthSails / Chopper Fins)
6th Julien Quentel (Patrik / Avanti)
7th Maciek Rutkowski (Tabou / GA Sails)
8th Antoine Questel (Starboard / S2Maui)
9th Tristan Algret (Starboard / Severne / Mystic / Chopper Fins)
10th Mateus Isaac (JP / NeilPryde)