Torbole PWA World Cup

Event Summary: Justine Lemeteyer emerges as genuine world title threat, whilst Maciek Rutkowski makes a flying start to the season

The 2023 PWA Slalom World Tour kicked off with a new addition to the calendar with the Torbole PWA World Cup in beautiful Lake Garda. An unusual weather system meant that the event didn’t see the normally classic Lake Garda conditions with unseasonably cold temperatures and cloudy weather replacing the normal wall-to-wall sunshine and thermal winds. However, despite an unfavourable forecast the event still finished with a bang with 4 eliminations for the men and 7 for the women.



Justine Lemeteyer (FMX Racing / S2Maui) laid down the gauntlet over the last 5 days with a performance of true domination. The 20-year-old hit the ground running when making her debut last year to become vice-world champion, but she looks to have rapidly progressed over winter to emerge as a genuine world title contender. Lemeteyer blew the rest of the competition away here in Lake Garda as she won 6 out of the seven eliminations completed to claim an emphatic maiden victory on the World Tour, whilst she leaves Italy with the hugely deserved early world title race lead. 

Blanca Alabau (Starboard / Severne Sails) was Lemeteyer’s closest challenger and the Spaniard will be delighted to have recovered from a sluggish start in Italy where she recorded an 8th and an 11th in the opening two races to bounce back on the final day to claim second place on the podium. Alabau found her form on the windier last day to record two second places and three thirds to earn her best result to date on the World Tour.

Things didn’t quite go how defending world champion - Marion Mortefon (Fanatic / Duotone / Phantom Foils) - would have envisaged over the last five days with the 31-year-old failing to land any significant blows at this event. Mortefon also made a slow start the event with a 6th and a 9th, so she did did well to recover on the final day to claim the final place on the podium just ahead of Mae Davico (Patrik / Loftsails / Patrik Foils), who sailed solidly all week by only finishing outside the top 4 twice in 7 races. 

The top 5 is completed by Femke van der Veen (Starboard / Severne Sails), who led the event coming into the final day having won the opening elimination of the event, but saw her hopes gradually fade. Fifth still represents a great debut event for the young Dutch sailor.


Maciek Rutkowski (FMX Racing / Challenger Sails) made the perfect start to his world title defence as the Pole produced an accomplished display to not only win the event, but also claim his first 5-star event victory. The Pole sailed consistently throughout - qualifying for all four winners’ finals, which included one bullet in the second elimination to gather momentum. Rutkowski signed off in Italy with a solid third and a fourth which would see him claim the top spot on the podium with a 5 point margin. 

Having gone somewhat under the radar, Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / Duotone / Chopper Fins / Phantom Foils), shot up the rankings after the completion of the final elimination. Mortefon had missed out on two out of the three winners’ finals before that, but with a discard coming into play after the fourth, Mortefon’s bullet in elimination 4 saw him leapfrog into second place to keep his name firmly in the world title race conversation at this early stage of the season.

The only other sailor besides Rutkowski to qualify for every winners’ final was 17-year-old Will McMillan (Starboard / Challenger Sails / Patrik Foils), who enjoyed an incredible event, which saw him earn his first podium finish in only his second event on the World Tour. The young Thai possesses endless amounts of speed, which was evident throughout and it looked as though he was going to win the second elimination, only to fall at last hurdle when navigating the final gybe when holding a clear lead. McMillan quickly dusted himself off and righted that error in the very next race to claim his first bullet on tour and he will be a name to watch extremely closely - both this season and in years to come. McMillan eventually completed the podium after only missing out on second place on countback to Mortefon.

Johan Soe (FMX Racing / Point-7) continues his superb start to life on tour with the young Dane recording his best result to date - fourth. Soe missed out on the podium by just 0.3 of a point after bouncing back from a 15th place in the opener to reel off results of fourth, seventh and a second place to finish the event. Soe looks to real deal and will be a major threat for the rest of the season.

Michele Becker (Patrik / Patrik Sails / Patrik Boards) is competing in his first full year on tour and things couldn’t have gone much better for the German, who walks away from Lake Garda with a solid 5th place. The 24-year-old was in contention for the podium after recording a second and third place in the opening three eliminations, but saw his hopes ruled out after being caught up in a crash in the last semifinal which caused him to miss out on a place in the top 8.

Matteo Iachino (Starboard / Severne Sails) has been a world title contender for the last 8 or 9 years, so a sixth place in Italy won’t have been the result he was looking for. In reality though, Iachino wasn’t far off the pace with only 2.3 points separating 2nd to 6th. Expect to see Iachino challenging for the podium again next time around. 

Alexandre Cousin (Patrik / Patrik Sails / Chopper Fins / Patrik Foils) led the event coming into the last day having won the opening elimination of the event, but he eventually just missed out on the podium as things started to unravel on the final day. Cousin, like Becker was involved in a crash in the third semifinal which stunted his momentum and a 14th in the last race saw Cousin finish 7th in the opening event of the year. 

Having won the last event of the season in 2022, Enrico Marotti (JP / NeilPryde) looked like he had cracked the code to find the consistency he needs to compete at the very top of the sport, but the Croat made a couple of costly errors here, which ultimately cost him dearly. Marotti was certainly considered as a potential world title contender before the start of the season, and whilst he can still get his name back in contention, he’s going to have to do it the hard way after starting the season with a somewhat disappointing 8th place.

Nicolas Prien (JP / NeilPryde) had the aim of cracking the top 10 before the event and that’s exactly what the German managed to achieve with a solid 9th place here. Prien qualified for two out of 4 winners’ finals on his way to earning his place in the top 10, whilst William Huppert (Phantom / Phantom Sails / Phantom Foils) completes the top 10 after ending the event with a flurry with a 4th and 5th place. The Frenchman looked blisteringly quick in the windier weather and would be one to watch at medium to high wind foiling events. 

The other thing that was very evident was that there are also a number of new names on the tour who are capable of mixing it with the best in the business, such as the French trio of; Lucas Guiraud (Tabou / GA Sails / LokeFoil), who finished in 11th place, Alexis Mathis (Tabou / GA Sails) - 15th - and Benoit Merceur (Starboard / Severne Sails) - 16th. The top 16 is completed by Amado Vrieswijk (Future Fly Boards / Severne Sails) - 12th - Bruno Martini (JP / NeilPryde) - 13th - and Ennio dal Pont (Fanatic / Duotone) - 14th.

Despite the less than favourable forecast Lake Garda still produced plenty of exciting racing and the last way was the perfect way to sign off the 2023 edition of the Torbole PWA World Cup. The PWA would like to extend their thanks to the organisers and volunteers, whom without it would not be possible and we hopefully look forward to return next year. Congratulations once again to all of the winners.

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Result 2023 Torbole PWA World Cup - Women’s Slalom

1st Justine Lemeteyer (FRA | FMX Racing / S2Maui / LokeFoil)
2nd Blanca Alabau (ESP | Starboard / Severne Sails)
3rd Marion Mortefon (FRA | Fanatic / Duotone / Phantom Foils)
4th Mae Davico (FRA | Patrik / Loftsails / Patrik Foils)
5th Femke van der Veen (NED | Starboard / Severne Sails)

Result 2023 Torbole PWA World Cup - Men’s Slalom

1st Maciek Rutkowski (POL | FMX Racing / Challenger Sails)
2nd Pierre Mortefon (FRA | Fanatic / Duotone / Phantom Foils)
3rd Will McMillan (THA | Starboard / Challenger Sails / Patrik Foils)
4th Johan Soe (DEN | FMX Racing / Point-7)
5th Michele Becker (GER | Patrik / Patrik Sails / Patrik Foils)
6th Matteo Iachino (ITA | Starboard / Severne Sails)
7th Alexandre Cousin (FRA | Patrik / Patrik Sails / Chopper Fins / Patrik Foils)
8th Enrico Marotti (CRO | JP / NeilPryde)
9th Nico Prien (GER | JP / NeilPryde)
10th William Huppert (FRA | Phantom / Phantom Sails / Phantom Boards)

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