Ulsan PWA World Cup
After a short hop, skip and a jump from Japan to South Korea the world’s fastest sailors are ready for their next battle of the season as Jinha Beach prepares to host the next stage of the Men’s and Women’s Slalom and Women’s Foil between 18th-24rd May for the 2019 Ulsan PWA World Cup.
With there not being enough wind to complete any slalom in Japan things remain as they were after the opening event of the year in Marignane, but after a long week of waiting in Yokosuka, the slalom fleet will be pleased to see that the forecast for Jinha Beach looks much more promising.
Situated in the southeast of South Korea, Jinha beach is a thirty-minute drive from Ulsan and has developed the reputation of being the top windsurfing location in the country. With a rich eastern culture, amazing white sand beaches and reliable trade winds, it is easy to see why windsurfers all over South Korea hold this spot in such high esteem. Jinha Beach can often be one of the most testing stops on the world tour with its sometimes gusty winds and seaweed adding an extra dimension to an already demanding test.
As previously mentioned, no slalom eliminations were completed in Japan meaning reigning world champion and current world tour leader - Delphine Cousin Questel (Starboard / S2Maui) - will still start the third event of the year as the clear favourite. The 3-time world champion made the perfect start in France and is now on a winning run that stretches back to November 2017 and she may prove difficult to stop again - especially after also gaining victory in the first ever women’s foil contest.
Marion Mortefon (Fanatic / Duotone) made a solid start in France by claiming second place ahead of Oda Brødholt (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins), who is absent from proceedings, and could well prove to be Cousin Questel’s biggest threat again, however, the likes of Maëlle Guilbaud (Patrik / Loftsails) and Lena Erdil (Starboard / Point-7 / AL360 / Chopper Fins) are also more than capable of challenging for top honours. Erdil, in particular, may offer more of a threat here than in France with a couple of additional weeks training under her belt as she continues her come back from injury.
Elsewhere, Jenna Gibson (Fanatic / Duotone) could also feature with the Brit winning one elimination here in 2018, while the likes of Fulya Ünlü (Starboard / Severne), Mio Anayama (Starboard / S2Maui) and Ayako Suzuki (Tabou / GA Sails), Océane Lescadieu (S2Maui), Yuki Sunaga (Loftsails) and Nimet Tulumen (Tabou / GA Sails) could all feature.
Delphine Cousin Questel (Starboard / S2Maui / Starboard Foil) will enter South Korea as the favourite for the second ever women’s foiling world cup after claiming a clear cut victory in Japan last week. The 3-time slalom world champion showed the same devastating form on the foil course as she has done over the last few years on the slalom course and ended the week with a perfect score of 3.5 points after winning 5 out of the 7 eliminations completed.
However, 2012 Olympic Champion - Marina Alabau (Starboard / Severne / Starboard Foil) - will be looking to gain revenge and level up the race for the 2019 Women’s PWA Foil World Championship title race. Alabau went toe-to-toe with Cousin Questel in the opening 4 races and will more than likely be the 27-year-olds major rival.
Marion Mortefon (Fanatic / Duotone) completed the podium in Japan after performing extremely consistently throughout the week, which saw the French girl only finish outside the top 3 once in 7 eliminations. Mortefon will no doubt be challenging for the podium again and could well go a place or two better here.
Also look out for Blanca Alabau (Starboard / Severne / Starboard Foil) and Helle Oppedal (Fanatic / Duotone), who finished 4th and 5th in Japan.
Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / Duotone / Chopper Fins) will come into South Korea full of confidence after winning his first ever foil event in Japan. The Frenchman is the current world tour lead after pipping Antoine Albeau (JP / NeilPryde) to victory in France is on an incredible run with his first victory on the Foil World Tour meaning he has now won the last 3 racing events (2 Slalom victories - 1 Foil). Mortefon is flying high at the moment and will look to maintain that early season momentum as he bids for a maiden world title.
Having changed board sponsor late last winter, any questions about whether Albeau’s board speed would be competitive have been firmly answered in France. AA led the final and showed excellent speed throughout and he’ll once again be in the thick of the action as he eyes world title No.26.
Current vice-world champion - Matteo Iachino (Starboard / Severne / Shamal Sunglasses) - will look to bounce back from a disappointing result in France, but with just one race completed in Marignane there’s no reason to panic and you can expect to see a strong showing from the Italian, who claimed the event title here in 2018.
Some people may have tried to write Sebastian Kördel (Starboard / GA Sails) off after a disappointing 2018 Slalom campaign, but the German clearly never lost faith in his own ability. Kördel bounced back immediately in France by earning his second ever slalom podium - 3rd - and continued his excellent start to the season with a second place in the Foil in Japan. Kördel will now look to maintain that early season momentum.
Jordy Vonk (Fanatic / Duotone) came into 2019 off the back of his best overall result to date - 4th - and the flying Dutchman showed in France that he’ll be a force to be reckoned with again for the coming season after starting the season with a solid 4th place.
Finian Maynard (FMX Racing) made a bright start in France as he qualified for the final where he finished 5th and he too could be in the running again here in if he’s back to 100%.
Last year’s world No.5 - Julien Quentel (Patrik / Gun Sails) - also made a decent start to the season with a 6th place and will be in the mix again.
The top 10 coming into South Korea is currently completed by Bruno Martini (I-99 / Challenger Sails), Malte Reuscher (Tabou / GA Sails), Mateus Isaac (JP / NeilPryde) and Marco Lang (Fanatic / Duotone),
Elsewhere, Ross Williams (Tabou / GA Sails / Shamal Sunglasses), Pascal Toselli (JP / Loftsails / Chopper Fins), Cyril Moussilmani (RRD / RRD Sails) and Tristan Algret (Starboard / Severne / Chopper Fins) will all look to bounce back from missing out on the top 10 in the opening event of the year.
Other names to look out for include the aspiring young talents of Ethan Westera (Tabou / GA Sails), Basile Jacquin (I-99 Point-7), Nicolas Goyard (Tabou / GA Sails) and Amado Vrieswijk (JP / Severne) - who finished 11th, 12th, 14th and 15th respectively.
The forecast looks extremely wet for the opening day of the 2019 Ulsan PWA World Cup with up to 50mm over rain expected to fall over a 3 hour period around 3pm (GMT+9), so while there is plenty of wind on the forecast it may prove too unstable to provide any racing on Saturday.
You can stay up to date with all the latest developments from South Korea — including the live stream, elimination ladders, entry list, images and live ticker simply click HERE and scroll to the bottom of the page.
Current Ranking 2019 PWA World Tour - Women’s Slalom
1st Delphine Cousin Questel (FRA - Starboard / S2Maui)
2nd Marion Mortefon (FRA - Fanatic / Duotone)
3rd Oda Johanne (NOR - Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins)
4th Maëlle Guilbaud (FRA - Patrik / Loftsails)
5th Lena Erdil (TUR - Starboard / Point-7 / AL360 / Chopper Fins)
Current Ranking 2019 PWA World Tour - Women’s Foil
1st Delphine Cousin Questel (FRA - Starboard / S2Maui / Starboard Foil)
2nd Marina Alabau (ESP - Starboard / Severne / Starboard Foil)
3rd Marion Mortefon (FRA - Fanatic / Duotone / LOKEFOIL)
4th Blanca Alabau (ESP - Starboard / Severne / Starboard Foil)
5th Helle Oppedal (NOR - Fanatic / Duotone)
Current Ranking 2019 PWA World Tour - Men’s Slalom
1st Pierre Mortefon (FRA - Fanatic / Duotone / Chopper Fins)
2nd Antoine Albeau (FRA - JP / NeilPryde)
3rd Sebastian Kördel (GER - Starboard / GA Sails)
4th Jordy Vonk (NED - Fanatic / Duotone)
5th Finian Maynard (KV - FMX Racing)
6th Quentel Julien (SXM - Patrik / Gun Sails)
7th Bruno Martini (ITA - I-99 / Challenger Sails)
8th Malte Reuscher (GER - Tabou / GA Sails)
9th Mateus Isaac (BRA - JP / NeilPryde)
10th Marco Lang (AUT - Fanatic / Duotone)