Fuerteventura PWA World Cup
After a short break the Men’s Slalom fleet will be back in action during the first 5 days (25th-29th July) of the 2019 Fuerteventura PWA World Cup - sponsored by René Egli - while in the second half of the event (30th July - 3rd August) the contortionists of the windsurfing world will be battling it out in their second event of the season. With a windy forecast to come the next 10 days promise to be a pure feast of world class racing and Freestyle.
Sotavento is located on the Southeast coast of Fuerteventura and has developed a world-class reputation due to its year round sunshine, stunning golden beaches and most importantly, as its name suggests, strong winds, which create some of the most exhilarating conditions on the PWA World Tour. Fuerteventura is one of the most challenging stops on the tour for the freestylers, but it can also be one of the most rewarding when there is a swell running as it produces the perfect stunt ramps for the freestylers to launch into the latest aerial power moves, while the slalom fleet will be reaching for their smallest gear and trying to reach the end of the course unscathed.
Antoine Albeau (JP / NeilPryde) and Jordy Vonk (Fanatic / Duotone) come into Fuerteventura currently tied on 19,600 points, but it will be Albeau who starts the fourth slalom event of the year as the heavy favourite having won here for the last 5 years. Last season Albeau was simply untouchable here as he completed the event with a perfect record - winning all 4 eliminations and he’ll be a hard man to stop.
Vonk, meanwhile, will look to maintain his title challenge having finished 2nd and 4th so far this year. Last year Vonk produced a breakthrough performance to finish 4th overall and will be buoyed by the fact that he recorded his best result yet in Fuerte last year - also 4th - while he also won his first elimination on the world tour in South Korea and he will be looking to notch up another bullet here.
The other two members of the ‘Big Top 3’ - Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / Duotone / Chopper Fins) and Matteo Iachino (Starboard / Severne / Shamal Sunglasses) - have suffered a slightly topsy turvy start to the season. Mortefon began the season in perfect fashion by winning in Marignane, France, but then finished 12th in South Korea and comes into Fuerte ranked 3rd. While Iachino bounced back from a disappointing 25th in Marignane by winning in South Korea to climb back into 10th in the overalls. Both will be keen to return to the podium here and reduce the deficit between themselves and Albeau/Vonk.
Mateus Isaac (JP / NeilPryde) - 4th overall, Ethan Westera (Tabou / GA Sails) - 5th overall and Tristan Algret (Starboard / Severne / Chopper Fins), who earned his first podium in South Korea - 6th overall will all come into Fuerteventura full of confidence as the trio are all enjoying their best seasons to date on the world tour and will be eager to maintain that momentum over the next 5 days.
Having been forced to retire last season from an ongoing virus - Marco Lang (Fanatic / Duotone) - has made a solid return to the race course - recording a 10th and 14th so far this season, which sees the Austrian ranked 7th overall.
Elsewhere, Ross Williams (Tabou / GA Sails) comes into Fuerte ranked 8th overall, but you can expect to see him challenging for the top prizes here. The Brit has finished on the podium in 3 out of the last 4 years, while he finished 5th here in 2018 and he should make another bold bid for the top 3.
Sebastian Kördel (Starboard / GA Sails) completes the top 10 in 9th place and the German will look to rediscover the form that saw him podium in France having then finished a disappointing 23rd in South Korea.
The slalom has seen a real mixed bag of results this year, but other notable sailors to keep an eye out for include last year’s world No.5 and 7 Julien Quentel (Patrik / Gun Sails) and Pascal Toselli (JP / Loftsails / Chopper Fins), who currently find themselves ranked 16th and 22nd in the overalls.
Bruno Martini (I-99 / Challenger Sails) is currently ranked 11th and will be looking to maintain pace as he bids to break into the overall top 10 for the first time in his career. The Italian won his first race in South Korea and could be a threat again. As could the likes of Antoine Questel (I-99 / S2Maui), Finian Maynard (FMX Racing), who won here in 2012, 20-year-old Basile Jacquin (I-99 / Point-7), Frenchman Cedric Bordes (Tabou / GA Sails) and teammates Arnon Dagan (Future Fly / NeilPryde) and Taty Frans (Future Fly / Point-7), who showed glimpses of being back to his best in South Korea. There are plenty of other sailors who could also be involved in the battle for the top 16 and beyond, but there are too many to name.
Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / NeilPryde / Maui Ultra Fins) and Maaike Huvermann (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins) look set for a title race showdown here after a thrilling battle in Bonaire earlier this year, which saw Huvermann force a Super Final. Offringa eventually came out on top and will start as the favourite for the event, but there’s no doubt that Huvermann is bridging the gap each year. Offringa’s consistency in Fuerte’s tough choppy waters may prove critical in deciding the event and world title, but it promises to be an intriguing battle.
However, Oda Brødholt (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins), will be hoping to impose herself on the top two and could very well do just that. The Norwegian has been locked in several tight battles with Huvermann in recent years and will be determined to gain the upper hand this time around.
Elsewhere, Arrianne Aukes (Fanatic / Duotone / Maui Ultra Fins) should be in an around fourth place, but a spot on the podium may prove a step too far. Meanwhile, Johanna Rümenapp (I-99 / Gun Sails / Maui Ultra Fins) will be hoping to challenge Aukes for fourth place as will Olya Raskina (JP / NeilPryde), who returns to the lineup after missing last year’s event.
With the Freestyle coming after the Slalom this year - Amado Vrieswijk (JP / Severne), who is currently ranked 12th in the Slalom - has chosen not to compete in the racing as he understandably prioritises his bid to finally get his hands on the Freestyle world title. The Bonairean completed a sublime comeback in Bonaire to claim victory on home waters, which puts him in pole position coming into Fuerte. Vrieswijk won the event here in 2016 and knows another win here would cement his spot at the top of the rankings.
Vrieswijk’s biggest rival in recent years has been 9-time PWA Freestyle World Champion - Jose ‘Gollito Estredo (Fanatic / Duotone) - but the Venezuelan finds himself in the unusual position of coming into Fuerte ranked in a lowly 13th after a shock loss to Julian Mas (Gun Sails) in Bonaire, which more than likely rules him out of this year’s title race. However, Vrieswijk can expect no favours from Gollito, who will no doubt be looking to return to the top of the podium. The 30-year-old has won here for the last two seasons and could well complete a hat-trick.
Youp Schmit (I-99 / Avanti) is currently Vrieswijk’s closest rival in second after the Bonairean won the single elimination in Bonaire, but couldn’t quite hold on to that crown while sailing through injury. However, whether Schmit can keep up with the pace remains to be seen as he last finished in the top 10 here in 2013. The same could also be true for Julian Mas, who earned a brilliant first podium in Bonaire, but often struggles in Fuerte’s choppy waters.
Yentel Caers (I-99 / Point-7) should be a major threat over the 5 day freestyle battle with the Belgian finishing on the podium here in each of the last three years. Caers will also come into the event full of confidence having just been crowned European Freestyle champion.
You can also expect to see strong performances from Italian Giovanni Passani (Tabou / GA Sails / AL360), who was one of the standout sailors in Bonaire and he deservedly earned his best result yet - 5th with his finesse and power catching the eye.
Elsewhere, Antony Ruenes (Tabou / GA Sails) usually performs well here and will be hoping for a result in the top 5. Meanwhile, current vice-world champion - Adrien Bosson (Fanatic / Duotone / Maui Ultra Fins) - will be hoping to return to the podium here. The Frenchman was a little unlucky in Bonaire as he posted one of the highest scoring heats of the contest, but ran into an on fire Vrieswijk. Bosson finished 2nd here last year and has all the latest moves on both tacks and could challenge for the event title again.
Other names to keep an eye out for are Steven Van Broeckhoven (Starboard / Gun Sails), Jacopo Testa (RRD / RRD Sails / AL360), Sam Esteve (JP / NeilPryde), Dieter van der Eyken (Severne / Severne Sails), all of whom usually deal well with the tricky conditions. Davy Scheffers (Tabou / GA Sails) is currently ranked 7th in the overall, but sometimes struggles here Fuerteventura so it will be interesting to see how he fares.
As previously mentioned there’s an excellent forecast to come, so you won’t want to miss any of the action to come. You’ll be able to follow all the racing and freestyle as it happens via the PWA live stream @ www.pwaworldtour.com.
To stay up to date with all the latest developments from Fuerteventura — including the live stream, elimination ladders, entry list, images and live ticker simply click HERE and scroll to the bottom of the page.
Schedule For Day 1: (All Times GMT+1)
- Registration 10-11am
- Skippers’ Meeting - 12:30pm
- First Possible Start - 1pm