Aruba Hi Winds Youth Slalom World Cup

Day 1: 3 eliminations completed on the opening day in Aruba in 14-18 knot winds

The opening day of the 2024 Aruba Hi Winds Youth Slalom World Cup saw all the fleets combined so that everyone raced in one big elimination. By the close of play, three eliminations have been completed to cap a great start to the event. 

With 17 aspiring slalom sailors signing up that that meant each elimination consisted of the semi-finals and the final and this format worked brilliantly with several great battles on the water as the next generation fought based on their level and not just their age.


Bobby-Lynn De Jong (Starboard / NeilPryde) produced a mightily impressive display to claim fifth overall in the opening race - bearing in mind that she is only 14-years-old and was still holding her own against those who are much older. The Bonairean currently leads the Girl’s U17s after a very consistent day which saw her finish 6th in the other two eliminations - which with the format used today - means that she completed a brilliant hat-trick of bullets for her age category and she is currently the top ranked girl overall. 

De Jong’s current closest challenger is her sister, Kit De Jong (Starboard / NeilPryde), who is competing and currently winning the U15s. The 12-year-old still managed to qualify for a winners’ final.

The girl’s top 3 is currently completed by Louise van der Meulen (Starboard / NeilPryde), but the young Aruban will be hoping to pick up better results in the coming days after probably underperforming a little on the opening day. The good news for her is that there is still plenty of time to turn things around. 


After finishing second in the opener, Brendan Lorho (FMX Racing / Point-7 / Chopper Fins) really hammered home his advantage at the top of the Boy’s U21s as the young Frenchman reeled off back-to-back bullets to open up a 3.3 point lead over Tame Mondria. Lorho finished second in the opening elimination, but after that it really seemed like he clicked into action as he claimed two clear-cut victories and if he maintains that level of performance, particularly his gybing which was the real difference, it’s very difficult to imagine anyone being able to stop him - even at this early stage.

The first victory of the event was claimed by local boy Tame Mandria (Tabou / GA Sails), who is sailing in the Under 21 division and he looked highly convincing throughout the day. Meanwhile, Nicolai Storm (Duotone) from Bonaire finished third overall in the opening elimination, which was more than enough to see him claim first place in the U17s and he only trails Lorho by 3.6 points in the overalls between all age groups. In the battle for first in the U17s, Storm currently holds a 5 point advantage over Tycho Smits (NeilPryde), who won the U15 Boy’s in Alacati last year, so he could still mount a come back. 

Elsewhere, Joey Ross may be the only U13 Boy, but he’s currently ranked 13th out of 17 despite only being 11-years-old, so it’s impressive to seem him pitting his wits against those significantly older than him. 

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