Ross Williams and Kevin Pritchard - 2008 Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam
The 2008 Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam – Registration Day. Registered and ready to go: The men’s and women’s slalom fleets sign up for the forthcoming five days of race action.
The 2008 Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam stands poised to explode into action following the registration of all the biggest names in racing. In total, 50 men and 15 women have signed up for the event.
The forecast for the days ahead looks exceptional, with unusually strong wind set to blow from the outset of competition tomorrow.
Karin Jaggi - 2008 Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam
While the racers took the opportunity to rig and prepare their equipment, we asked some of them what this event might hold in store over the following five days.
Q for Kevin Pritchard (Starboard, Gaastra, MFC, Dakine): Entering Fuerteventura ranked second place overall, you’re the closest man to Antoine Albeau, and one of the few people that might be able to beat him. Do you think you’ll be able to steal this event from him, and what will it take to topple Antoine?
'To win I’m going to need good speed and consistent racing. In Pozo I was too focused on trying to beat Antoine, rather than focusing on my own game. Here in Fuerte I’m going to go out there and concentrate on my own sailing, and just sail my own races. Hopefully that’ll put the pressure on him. I mean everyone’s beatable, and I’ve beaten him before.'
Q for Finian Maynard (RRD, NeilPryde): By your standards you had a disappointing result coming 8th overall in Gran Canaria. What do you think went wrong there, and will you be back on the podium here in Fuerteventura?
'In Pozo it was a little more windy than we normally get, so I wasn’t prepared for the really, really strong conditions. A few factors came into play there, but here in Fuerte I’m always confident, so I should get my season back on track. I’m just going to try my best, and for sure, I’m looking for a come back here.'
Q for Ross Williams (Tabou, Gaastra): You had a great result in Gran Canaria, coming 4th overall. Do you think you’ll be able to carry that form over to this event?
'Yeah, I think I should be sailing pretty well here. It’s a little lighter than Pozo, which suits my style better. My boards are all working really well, and my sails are great, so I’ll definitely be trying to push for a podium position overall.'
Q for Micah Buzianis (JP, NeilPryde, MFC): Firstly, you got injured in Pozo, what happened, and are you better now? And secondly, what aspects of your sailing do you think you’ll need to work on to pressure the top positions?
'There was a pretty solid impact from a fin just above my ankle, so I needed to have some stitches put in. It still hurts, but hopefully it shouldn’t affect my racing, I’ll see when we start tomorrow. With regards to my sailing, I think I just have to be a little bit more consistent, and maybe work on my starts. I’ve got pretty good speed compared to the top guys, and these conditions really suit me.'
Q for Dan Ellis (Fanatic, MauiSails): You’ve dropped off the pace a bit so far this season. What’s been going wrong for you, and what do you think you need to do to get back in the game?
'So far things haven’t gone exactly to plan and I’ve had a few issues along the way. In Pozo I snapped my board before the competition, so I had to take a new board and I just didn’t have time to get it set up right. I was always over or underpowered. At this level you just can’t afford to do that. Coming here to Fuerte I’m really confident. All winter I’ve been training for these kinds of conditions. I’m just going to put everything behind me, try and make every final, and hopefully finish up inside the top ten.'
Q for Lee Korzitz: You had an amazing start to your first ever PWA event, coming third in the Costa Brava slalom. Now that people know what you’re capable of, do you think it’s going to be harder for you to get a place on the podium again?
'Competition’s always going to be hard, especially when every location is new to me. Even though people know I can get on the podium, I think I now have a greater advantage, as I have more experience. I know more about the starts, and race tactics. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to make the podium again, but for sure I’m going to try!'
Be sure to tune into pwaworldtour.com tomorrow for the first day of racing here in Fuerteventura.
Albeau gybes - 2008 Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam
Valerie Ghibaudo warms up - 2008 Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam
Jamie Hawkins back slalom racing after eight years - 2008 Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam
Lena Erdil - 2008 Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam
Albeau and Dunkerbeck line up - 2008 Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam