Alacati Windfest PWA Youth Slalom World Cup
After 5 days of solid racing, the 2023 PWA Youth and Junior Slalom World Cup champions have been crowned. Once again the beautiful Alacati Bay delivered as the wind machine simply did not stop with at least 4 rounds of fin slalom for each division and 9 rounds for foil slalom. The young athletes from all age groups put on a great show, which was enjoyed by the spectators from the stadium like venue that makes the Cagla Kubat Windsurf Academy an ideal site for World Class events.
It was an incredibly consistent event for John Soukos (RRD / RRD Sails), who pulled off victories in both the fin slalom and foil slalom categories in the U21 division. For the second year in a row, the young Greek showed up ready to fight for the titles. After last year’s battle with Armand Genevois (Starboard / S2Maui) of France, this time it was the the lightning fast Greek, who claimed the top spot on the podium. Already a veteran of several events on the PWA World Tour, Soukos has emphatically shown he is ready to fight it out with the big boys in the coming years.
In the fin division, Armand Genevois claimed second place behind Soukos, while fellow countryman Brendan Lorho secured the final place on the prestigious podium. Be on the lookout for Lohro in the coming years as this talented sailor is one to keep an eye on. In the Foil Slalom division it was once again Genevois in second place followed by the big Dutchman Sem Stroosma (Loftsails) in 3rd.
In the Girl’s U21 Fin Slalom fleet the top prize went to the ever smiling and hard working Sinem Alper, ahead of Zeynep Hacudi, who was closely followed by Agniya Mikheyeva, who finished just one point behind. The U21 Foil division saw a very dominant performance by Damla Kurtdemir with the Turk taking all but one of the 9 races completed. She was followed by the hugely talented sailor from Bonaire, Bobbi-Lynn de Jong (Starboard / Severne Sails), and the emerging Turkish talent of Yagmur Guzel.
The U17 Boy’s division saw some of the most closely contested and exciting fights on the fin throughout the week, with the Turkish duo of Mert Kacan and Tan Tandogan finishing tied on points. However, victory in the last race for Mert Kacan deservedly brought him the victory. The top two were followed by another great talent hailing from Bonaire, Storm Nicolai, whose consistency throughout the week secured him the final spot on the podium.
In the Foil division, it was another Turkish victory this time for the quiet and unassuming Burak Orhan, whose calm demeanour on the beach does nothing to hide his killer racing instincts. Tan Tandogan secured his second podium of the week as he once again secured second place, followed by the gybing phenomenon, Ibrahim Ali Donmez, who displayed impressive skills around the racing marks.
The U15 Boy’s category saw more heated battles in both the fin and foil divisions. In the fin, we saw a very impressive performance by yet another great talent from Bonaire, Tycho Smits, who was able to win 3 out of the 4 races with great speed and very consistent racing. Jules Kandasamy from the Seychelles was a very late entry into the event, but he came here meaning business. This was the second time for Kandasamy in Alacati and he showed an incredible improvement in his performance since making his debut in 2022 - claiming second place after winning one of the finals. He was followed by another two up and coming talents from Turkey, Kuzey Ziyal and his compatriot Mavi Ruzgar Falay, whose fight for the last spot on the podium came down to a tiebreaker!
In the U15 Boy’s Foil division, it was Kuzey Ziyal coming in first, followed by Mavi Ruzgar Falay, who was again involved in a tie breaker for second place. However, this time he came out ahead of yet another Turkish talent, Ayberk Deniz Pinar.
The U15 Girl’s Fin division saw more exciting battles on the race course between Bobbi-Lynn de Jong and Damla Kurtdemir. This time, however, it was de Jong who turned the tables and put in a dominating performance, which saw her win 4 out of the 5 eliminations. The Bonairean talent was followed by the ever consistent Damla from Turkey and her compatriot Zeynep Tecmen.
One of the most exciting and motivating age divisions of the week was the U13 category. The turnout for this division clearly showed that our sport is in good hands with these very young sailors showing no fear whether on fin or foil!
With a great performance throughout the week, Irem Metin from Turkey saw victories in both the Foil and Fin Slalom categories - showing an incredibly consistent level of concentration and delivery. In the Fin Slalom, the young twins from Bonaire put on a great show and took the final two steps on the podium just edging out Derin Gokmeral and Ilya Paksoylu.
The U13 Girl’s Foil division saw another impressive victory for Irem, but this time it was the fighting spirit of Ilya Paksoylu and the ever consistent Derin Gokmeral, who rounded off another Turkish podium clean sweep.
The U13 Boy’s showed great performance and potential - especially Ali Demirci, who convincingly took the victories in both Foil and Fin Slalom. This kid will be a big threat in a few short years. Demirci, was followed by the always smiling Sarp Mutluel and Sabri Ediz Garip, whom are both from Turkey, completing the podium. The U13 Boy’s Foil division saw another dominating victory by Demirci, once again followed by Sarp Mutluel, but this time rounding out the podium was Berk Orge, also from Turkey, who was one of the stars of Tae Kwon Do show at the awards ceremony.
The Alacati Windfest produced another great week of racing, activities, music, entertainment, night races, and a great parade marching through the majestic quaint streets of Alacati village. With these kids, we see that the future is bright, and the plan for 2024 will be to expand on these exclusive PWA Youth and Junior Slalom World Cups with potentially a tour of 3 to 4 events. Until next year!