Torbole PWA World Cup

Event Preview: Slalom set to return to Italy for first time in 11 years as world’s best racers prepare to battle it out in beautiful Lake Garda

Winter training is over and the final preparations are almost complete, which means the world’s best racers are raring to fly out of the starting blocks and kick off the 2023 PWA Slalom World Tour in style. The season opener takes place in beautiful Lake Garda as the PWA returns to Italy for the first time in just over a decade for the Torbole PWA World Cup, which takes place between 10th-14th May.

Located in northern Italy, Lake Garda is world renowned for its staggering beauty, however, it’s not just its natural beauty that makes Garda famous as it also reliably produces thermal winds (The Pelér and Ora) thanks to its unique geography and towering mountains, which have made it a haven for wind enthusiasts from around the world. The Ora, or south wind, is the most well known wind on Garda and it usually blows around 15 knots plus from noon to 1pm onwards until sunset on a typical sunny day in spring and summer. Over the next 5 days Lake Garda will host the elite of the racing world - bringing world class racing to your living rooms from one of the most picturesque windsurfing destinations on earth.


With the notable absentees of Delphine Cousin Questel (FMX Racing / S2Maui) and Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / NeilPryde / Maui Ultra Fins), both of whom are multiple-time slalom world champions, defending champion - Marion Mortefon (Fanatic / Duotone / Phantom Foil) - is the only world champion in the women’s line up, which makes her the obvious favourite in Italy. The 31-year-old produced an almost faultless performance in Japan at the end of last year to clinch her second world crown and she will be an ominous force to stop here.

It looks as though Mortefon’s main threats will come from last year’s vice-world champion - Justine Lemeteyer (FMX Racing / S2Maui / LOKEFOIL), who hit the ground running in her debut event by not finishing outside the top 5 in any of the five eliminations completed. 

Elsewhere, Spain’s Blanca Alabau (Starboard / Severne Sails) is another name that should be in the hunt for the podium positions, whilst the British duo of Sarah Jackson (Fanatic / Duotone) and Jenna Gibson (Fanatic / Duotone) will also be hoping to be in contention.

Meanwhile, local girls Caterina Biagiolini (Patrik) and Anna Biagiolini (Patrik / Challenger Sails / AL360), who is a Youth European and Italian champion, will be hoping to take advantage on their home waters.


With just 200 points separating 1st-4th last year it’s incredibly difficult to predict who will come out on top in the men’s division, which is part of the reason that slalom is so exciting at the moment. Reigning world champion - Maciek Rutkowski (FMX Racing / Challenger Sails) - will be hoping to make a flying start to his title defence, but he will have his work cut out by a myriad of sailors. The Pole had to endure an emotional rollercoaster on his way to a maiden world crown last year, so that should stand him in good stead for whatever is thrown at him.

Some of those threats will come in the shape of Matteo Iachino (Starboard / Severne Sails), who was the only man to claim a place on the podium at both events in 2022. The Italian agonisingly missed out on a second world title on countback and will be hoping to make a strong start to the season in his home country. 

Enrico Marotti (JP / NeilPryde) signed off 2022 in style as the Croat secured his first event victory on the World Tour, and the final place on the overall podium, with a storming finish to the event in Japan, which saw win two out of the final three races to come out on top. If Marotti can pick up where he left off then he could well be a serious force to be reckoned with for the season ahead.

Former Freestyle world champion - Amado Vrieswijk (Future Fly / Severne Sails) - has switched his focus to racing and having won a foil event in Costa Brava in 2018, the Bonairean showed his credentials again last year by winning the Sylt Windsurf World Cup in dramatic fashion as he pipped Maciek Rutkowski to the event title in the last elimination of the event. If things had have gone slightly more in favour of the 27-year-old then a first racing world title wouldn’t have been far away as a 5th place in Japan would’ve been enough to secure him the crown - however he just missed out in 7th place. Expect to see him in and around the podium places again.

2021 world champion - Nicolas Goyard (Phantom / Phantom Sails / Phantom Foils) - looked slightly out of sorts in Germany when he could only record a 9th place finish, but the Frenchman started to find his groove again in Japan, securing a solid second place and he should be there or thereabouts again. 

Other notable names in with a decent chance include last year’s World No.6 Mateus Isaac (Severne / Severne Sails), 2022 world champion Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / Duotone / Chopper Fins / Phantom Foils), who will be looking to bounce back after missing out on a place in the overall top 3 for the first time in seven years such has been his consistency at the very top of the game. Young Dane Johan Soe (FMX Racing / Point-7) enjoyed an outstanding first season on tour - recording two top 10 finishes - 5th and 7th places respectively - to finish 8th overall, whilst the likes of flying Dutchman Jordy Vonk (Fanatic / Duotone) and France’s Alexandre Cousin (Patrik / Patrik Sails / Chopper Fins / Phantom Foils, who finished 2019 as the Foil vice-world champion will be hoping to challenge for the top 10 and beyond as will William Huppert (Phantom / Phantom Sails / Phantom Foils) and Nico Prien (JP / NeilPryde), whilst Vincent Langer (Fanatic / Duotone) also returns to the fleet.

Elsewhere, the other Italians in the fleet will be hoping to make a mark in their home event such as; Bruno Martini (JP / NeilPryde) and Ennio dal Pont (I-99 / Challenger Sails).

Overall, the next 5 days promise to produce a thrilling opening to the much awaited season, with rail-to-rail racing set to make place against an absolutely stunning backdrop. Make sure you tune into between 10th-14th May to see how the the opening event of the season unfolds. You’ll be able to follow the action as it happens via the PWA live stream with Ben Proffitt to guide you through the best of the action. 

You can stay up to date with all the latest developments from Italy— including live stream, elimination ladders, entry list, images and live ticker simply by clicking HERE and scrolling to the bottom of the page.

Schedule For Day 1: (All Times GMT+2)

Registration: 09:00-10:30am
Skippers’ Meeting: 11am
First Possible Start: 12:30pm

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