Fly! ANA Yokosuka PWA World Cup
The 2018 Fly! ANA Yokosuka PWA World Cup saw a one round slalom shootout, which saw Delphine Cousin Questel (Starboard / S2Maui) and Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde) come out on top in the opening event of the year, while Gonzalo Costa Hoevel (Starboard / Severne / Chopper Fins) dominated the first official foil event to claim top spot on the podium. While the promising forecast may not have delivered as much racing as first thought, Japan still proved to be a great opening the 2018 PWA Slalom World Tour and the PWA would like to extend their thanks to the organisers and everyone involved, and also to the local people for their fantastic hospitality.
Delphine Cousin Questel made the perfect start to the season, in her quest to win a third world title, after winning a tight and exciting final ahead of her main rival - Lena Erdil (Starboard / Point-7 / AL360 / Chopper Fins), who will be slightly disappointed she couldn’t capitalise when leading the final.
The Turk will now look to hit back immediately when they compete again in just a few days time in South Korea as another victory for Cousin Questel would make it extremely hard to prevent her from regaining the world title for the first time since 2014.
Marion Mortefon (Fanatic / NorthSails), who completed the overall podium last season, earned 3rd place in Japan as the top seeds dominated the opening event and she’ll look to continue that fine start in South Korea as she looks to cement her place in the top 3.
17-year-old Lilou Granier (Starboard / Severne), who only made her debut in November in New Caledonia showed she’s one of the most promising young talents on the tour as she produced a great performance to take home 4th place ahead of Fulya Ünlü (Starboard / Point-7), who looked to have rediscovered the form that saw her crowned youth world champion for 3 consecutive years between 2014-16.
Just like in the women’s fleet, the top seeds in the men’s draw also dominated proceedings in Japan with last year’s top 3 - Antoine Albeau, Matteo Iachino (Starboard / Severne / Shamal Sunglasses) and Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / NorthSails / Chopper Fins) - finishing 1-2-3, while 6 out of the 8 finalists came from 2017’s top 8 and 8 out of the top 11 recorded top 10 results - Ross Williams (Tabou / GA SAils) - 4th in 2017, 7th here - Pascal Toselli (JP / Loftsails / Chopper Fins) - 5th 2017, 5th here - Arnon Dagan - (RRD / NeilPryde) - 8th in 2017, 6th here - Sebastian Kördel (Starboard / GA Sails) - 10th in 2017, 9th here - and Jordy Vonk (Fanatic / NorthSails) - 11th in 2017, 8th here.
That means Albeau takes the early season lead into South Korea after leading the final from start to finish, but it looks as though it is going to be an extremely competitive year, which should make for a thrilling title race.
The only members of last years top 10 to have missed out on the winners’ final were last year’s event champion - Julien Quentel (Patrik / Avanti) - and Austrian Marco Lang (Fanatic / NorthSails) - both of whom suffered shock quarterfinal exits in the opening race - before both men progressed through their second round heats of Elimination 2, which couldn’t be completed in the end.
Elsewhere, Tristan Algret (Starboard / Severne / Chopper Fins) started the season by equalling his best ever result on the world tour after sailing brilliantly to secure 4th place, while Maciek Rutkowski (I-99 / Loftsails) completes the top 10.
Ethan Westera’s (Tabou / GA Sails) first appearance since suffering a major injury in Fuerteventura saw the Aruban sail superbly as the 20-year-old looked as though he’d never been away from the race course to record a top 16 result - 14th, but things didn’t go quite so well for Taty Frans (Starboard / GA Sails / Shamal Sunglasses), who suffered a shock second round exit. However, you can expect to see the Bonairean bounce back with more racing to come next week.
Gonzalo Costa Hoevel produced a near perfect performance in the first official foil event as the Argentine recorded counting results of two 1sts and a second to dominate in Japan. Costa Hoevel showed excellent straight-line speed and tactics to dispatch of his rivals here and he’ll look to do the same again in South Korea.
Antoine Albeau won the opening foil race and was well placed in the second until he dropped a tack at the first mark. AA still recovered to 5th place in that race, but lost valuable ground on Costa Hoevel and opens the season with a second place, while Sebastian Kördel enjoyed a great final day, which saw the German rise from joint 7th to 3rd as the 27-year-old pipped Julien Bontemps (JP / NeilPryde) to the final place on the podium.
Meanwhile, Maciek Rutkowski won the final foil elimination of the week to end the week on a high as the victory marked his first race win on the world tour.
Although there may have only been one round of slalom, the foil discipline again showed itself to be exciting and dynamic with plenty of close calls and overtaking over the 4 eliminations completed. Both the men’s and women’s slalom fleets plus the men’s foil fleet will be in action again in just a couple of days time after taking a short flight to South Korea for the 2018 Ulsan PWA World Cup. You’ll be able to follow all of the action as it happens via the PWA live stream by tuning into www.pwaworldtour.com between 19th-24th May.
For a full recap from Japan — including the live stream, elimination ladders, entry list, images and live ticker simply click HERE and scroll to the bottom of the page.
Result 2018 Fly! ANA Yokosuka PWA World Cup - Women’s Slalom
1st Delphine Cousin Questel (FRA -Starboard / S2Maui)
2nd Lena Erdil (TUR - Starboard / Point-7 / AL360 / Chopper Fins)
3rd Marion Mortefon (FRA - Fanatic / NorthSails)
4th Lilou Granier (NC - Starboard / Severne)
5th Fulya Ünlü (TUR - Starboard / Point-7)
6th Esther de Geus (NED - Fanatic / NorthSails)
7th Jenna Gibson (GBR - Fanatic / NorthSails)
8th Maëlle Guilbaud (FRA - Patrik / Loftsails)
9th Océane Lescadieu (NC - NeilPryde)
10th Yuki Sunaga (JPN - Loftsails)
Result 2018 Fly! ANA Yokosuka PWA World Cup - Men’s Slalom
1st Antoine Albeau (FRA - RRD / NeilPryde)
2nd Matteo Iachino (ITA - Starboard / Severne / Shamal Sunglasses)
3rd Pierre Mortefon (FRA - Fanatic / NorthSails / Chopper Fins)
4th Tristan Algret (GPE - Starboard / Severne / Chopper Fins)
5th Pascal Toselli (FRA - JP / Loftsails / Chopper Fins)
6th Arnon Dagan (ISR - RRD / NeilPryde)
7th Ross Williams (GBR - Tabou / GA Sails / Shamal Sunglasses)
8th Jordy Vonk (NED - Fanatic / NorthSails)
9th Sebastian Kördel (GER - Starboard / GA Sails)
10th Maciek Rutkowski (POL - I-99 / Challenger Sails)
Result 2018 Fly! ANA Yokosuka PWA World Cup - Men’s Foil
1st Gonzalo Costa Hoevel (ARG - Starboard / Severne/ Chopper Fins)
2nd Antoine Albeau (FRA - RRD / NeilPryde)
3rd Sebastian Kördel (GER - Starboard / GA Sails)
4th Julien Bontemps (FRA - JP / NeilPryde)
5th Alexandre Cousin (FRA - Patrik / GA Sails / Chopper Fins)
6th Mateus Isaac (BRA - JP / NeilPryde)
7th Antoine Questel (FRA - Starboard / S2Maui)
8th Julien Quentel (SXM - Patrik / Avanti)
9th Jordy Vonk (NED - Fanatic / NorthSails)
10th Cedric Bordes (FRA - Tabou / GA Sails)