Mercedes-Benz Sylt PWA Super Grand Slam
After a brief period of wind during the morning the breeze quickly dropped, so while efforts were made to start Elimination 3 of the Slalom, those efforts proved to be in vain with the wind soon dropping below 7 knots, while the waves made it difficult to set the course meaning no official competition was completed on Day 3 of the 2018 Mercedes-Benz Sylt PWA Super Grand Slam.
So, with things remaining relatively calm through the afternoon we decided to catch up with Iballa Moreno (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins), who is officially the 2018 Women’s PWA Wave World Champion with an event to spare after recording two victories and a 3rd place from the opening 3 events - you can read our interview with the newly crowned world champion below:
Hey Iballa, firstly congratulations! How does it feel to win a 5th world title in a row?
“(Gulp) well it’s obviously been a good year… we started with a new event in Morocco, which was exciting because it was a starboard tack event where we had good results and then also in Gran Canaria and Tenerife we got good results, so in the end I’m happy to come to Sylt having won the title as my sister - Daida - was the only girl who could overtake me, but unfortunately she has an injury which means she couldn’t compete here. But in terms of the title race she would’ve still had a lot of work to do as she would have had to win the event and I would’ve had to finish worse than 3rd, but in Sylt anything can happen - particularly with the top 6 girls all really pushing hard. So yeah, I’m happy to be taking this event as a discard and winning the title for the 5th year in a row. I still don’t believe it because 1999 was my first title and now this is my 10th world title now and 28th for us [Moreno twins]. It’s a pity for my sister because I like to be on the podium with her, but a 3rd is still a top result and Sarah-Quita [Offringa] has been very consistent for the whole season. Sometimes competition is like this… you know for me Daida is the best sailor especially, but overall I’m happy to have a complete tour with a lot of different conditions and to be able to show that I can be the best in a variety of conditions. So yeah, stoked especially as I won the SUP event in New York and now winning the title in the same week is unbelievable!”
How long have you been competing on the Stand Up Tour? And how does winning an event on the SUP tour compare to winning a windsurfing event?
On the Stand Up the level is incredibly high…. At the moment I would say in windsurfing the top 5 or 6 girls are capable of causing an upset, but on the SUP it would be anyone in the top 10.
New York was a difficult place to compete and I was happy it was on my backhand, even though it’s not my strongest side particularly in small waves, but in the final I was lucky and had some good waves and knew how to compete. And I was relaxed, that was my first final for many years, so it’s been a good week and now I will just do my best to enjoy what ever the conditions throw at us here in Germany.
Now that you have the title wrapped up… do you think you are as motivated about winning as if the title was still up for grabs between you and Daida?
Yeah for sure. You know I’d love to go home having won here or making the final, but you know here is a really difficult spot to sail and at the moment I’m still in the clouds from all this travelling and competition - switching between windsurfing and standup - but I feel very relaxed and I enjoyed sailing my heat on Friday. I felt like I sailed well and was motivated in the water, so lets just seen what happens when I sail my next heat. If I make it to the final I’ll be super stoked and if not I’ll still be stoked because it’s been an incredible week and it would be another good result. Whatever happens I’ll be happy.
Where has been your favourite stop this year and how do you think each event went so far?
Gran Canaria is always super stressful because what people don’t see is all the work we do behind the scenes and before the event to get everything ready, but to organise an event and compete is extremely difficult.
This year I actually spent more time there than in recent years because I was really training my jumps, which I think I did with one-hand backloops and finally throwing myself into some push tabletops. I was motivated to train jumping because the only way you have any chance of beating Daida there is if you can challenge her in the jumps.
And then in the end against Sarah-Quita it turned out I only needed a 3 point wave against her to win, but I couldn’t find the score I needed, but take nothing away from Sarah-Quita as she was also there for a month or more training and sailing good too. 3rd was still a good result but dropping from 2nd to 3rd was a little bit painful.
Morocco was a pretty fun event. The days before the finals I had a lot of fun surfing and sailing there and overall it was a lot of fun and great to get the win there.
Tenerife is almost like home and it consists of a lot of wave riding, which is what I like, so I like all 3 events, but if I have to pick one then Morocco as it was a new place and it was starboard tack.
Do you think with Sarah-Quita pushing so hard that that has possibly made you and Daida raise your level even higher again?
It’s not only Sarah, all the girls are improving each year and me and Daida are never sitting back and relaxing. You know when I’m competing whether it be against Sarah or Daida or anyone else I’m not thinking about beating her, I’m thinking about improving myself and doing my thing and the same goes for training - I’m not sailing thinking I’m the best - and I never think that - I set out trying to improve because that’s what I like and that’s what keeps me motivated. Learning new things keeps the fire alive and burning and I think the same goes for Sarah. She’s been very motivated and focused more on the waves and you can see the improvement in her level - especially in the jumping. It’s only a matter of time before she starts to integrate more of her freestyle moves into the waves and we will see the level continuing to increase. I’ll continue to do my best to improve myself, but it’s also great to see all the other girls improving as well.
Do you think that Stand Up Paddling has also helped you with your wave sailing?
Yeah for sure. I mean I come from a surfing background originally and that’s something that I’m never going to forget. I started windsurfing when I was 17 - by 17 Sarah-Quita was already a multiple time world champion - so I know my background is surfing and it’s always what I loved. I discovered Stand Up Paddle back in 2009 and I can remember not being able to sleep at night because I was so excited. It was like that same feeling as when I started surfing or windsurfing. So I think SUP has definitely improved my windsurfing skills, but I think also vice-versa too. At the moment I have to say that I’ve been Stand Up Paddling more than anything. It’s really difficult to have wind and waves all the time, so when there’s not wind but waves I’ll be surfing and looking to gain as much time in the water as possible. It’s not only good physically but also for my head and for my happiness.
When this event is over… will you be allowing yourself to celebrate? And how will you be celebrating?
Actually, I celebrated with my friends from Australia in New York because I’ve been competing in SUP since 2012 and last week was the first time I have won a world tour event in that. Like they say it’s been a long time over due, but that’s just the way it can go with competitions, but I’ve just been trying to be more relaxed because I know in competitions I never feel like I surf like I normally do in free surfing, so in New York I was finally relaxed and didn’t think about anything. So, I will celebrate again, but probably when I’m back home.
Do you think you get as stressed whether its a windsurfing event or a SUP event?
It varies - it depends on the day. Normally I’m quite excited when I go to a standup event because I’ve been travelling to a lot of new places - like New York was new for me also Nicaragua, Mexico and I’m going to Chine this November for another standup event and then an event back home in Gran Canaria before travelling to Sunset, Oahu, so there’s a lot of crazy spots that I’m excited to visit. So, I still get nervous, but since turning 40 I think I’m more relaxed now because I’m really just enjoying doing what I love which is windsurfing and stand up. Lets see if I can do it much longer.
If you could give your younger self a piece of advice knowing what you know now what would it be?
Ooof tough one. None… I’ve been a pretty good girl hahaha. But I probably just wish I’d trained more seriously at the beginning (physically training). That’s what I’ve changed in the last few years - after starting standup and also after some knee injuries as it really helps a lot. Now I train most days because I have this event and so many others coming up, but also because of having so many previous knee problems I want to keep my knees strong and fit, but I think it’s also good for my head. So, yeah more physical training as it helps prevent injuries and also helps to improve your level. Both windsurfing and surfing have both evolved really fast in becoming more professional, so I’m happy to be part of that progression - two years ago I became a surf trainer so now I know exactly what you need to prepare for the season. That’s the only things - I don’t regret anything I’ve done. The only other piece of advice I would give is to keep enjoying myself. The ocean is my office and this is the life that I chose and I'm so happy to have the ocean as my office.
Thanks Iballa - congratulations on winning your 10th world title and good luck for the rest of the event here and the rest of your SUP events.
The forecast for tomorrow predicts stronger north-westerly winds - 21-23 knots during the morning - increasing to 30 knots by the evening so there should be more action to come on Day 4. Skippers’ meeting times for respective disciplines below:
- Freestyle skippers' meeting - 9:30am - first possible start 10am
- Wave skippers' meeting - 10:30am - first possible start 11am
- Slalom skippers' meeting - 10am - first possible start 11am
To stay up to date with all the latest developments from Germany — including the live stream, elimination ladders, entry list, images and live ticker simply click HERE and scroll to the bottom of the page.
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Current Ranking 2018 Mercedes-Benz Sylt PWA Super Grand Slam - Men’s Slalom
*After Two Eliminations
1st Pierre Mortefon (FRA - Fanatic / Duotone / Chopper Fins)
2nd Antoine Albeau (FRA - RRD / NeilPryde)
3rd Antoine Questel (FRA - Starboard / S2Maui)
4th Ross Williams (GBR - Tabou / GA Sails / Shamal Sunglasses)
4th Cyril Moussilmani (FRA - RRD / Severne)
6th Matteo Iachino (ITA - Starboard / Severne / Shamal Sunglasses)
7th Julien Quentel (SXM - Patrik / Avanti)
8th Basile Jacquin (FRA - RRD / Point-7)
9th Nicolas Warembourg (FRA - JP / NeilPryde)
10th Andrea Ferin (ITA - RRD / Challenger Sails / AL360)
Current Ranking 2018 Mercedes-Benz Sylt PWA Super Grand Slam - Men’s Foil
*After Two Eliminations
1st Matteo Iachino (ITA - Starboard / Severne / Shamal Sunglasses)
2nd Antoine Albeau (FRA - RRD / NeilPryde)
3rd Nicolas Goyard (FRA - Tabou / GA Sails)
4th Alexandre Cousin (FRA - Patrik / GA Sails / Chopper Fins)
5th Julien Bontemps (FRA - JP / NeilPryde)
6th Amado Vrieswijk (NB - JP / Severne)
7th Antoine Questel (FRA- Starboard / S2Maui)
8th Mateus Isaac (BRA - JP / NeilPryde)
9th Arnon Dagan (ISR - RRD / NeilPryde)
10th Steve Allen (AUS - Patrik / Severne)