by Chris Yates
The 2013 PWA Catalunya World Cup is set to take place from the 11th to the 16th June. The elite of the slalom world will return to action as they head to the beautiful white sand beaches of Costa Brava to battle in out in the second PWA Slalom event of the year. Alberto Menegatti (Starboard / Point-7) currently leads the way after a magnificent performance in Korea and it’s going to be very interesting to see if he can maintain his place at top, or will some of the heavy weights of slalom bustle the Italian out of their way and reaffirm their authority. The picturesque town of Sant Pere Pescador is located 150km to the north east of Barcelona and is blessed with twelve kilometres of jaw dropping white sand beaches and the beautiful blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea. The Gulf-de-Roses have become a world renowned destination due to its clockwork like sea breezes, which frequently grace Costa Brava with their presence during the summer months. However, Costa Brava can be transformed into a white knuckled assault course for slalom sailors - due to the ferocious Tramontana wind - which whistles down through the beautiful Pyrenees mountain range in excess of thirty knots. If the Tramontana wind prevails this year then be prepared to see the sailors tested to their limits in some of the most extreme slalom conditions in the world. Alberto Menegatti took the opening event of the year by storm, as he showed that his winter training has clearly paid dividends. The Italian demonstrated blistering straight line speed and perfectly timed starts to claim his maiden victory on the PWA World Tour. Now all eyes will be firmly fixed on Menegatti to see if he can hold his nerve at the top of the rankings in Costa Brava. Words from the winner of the first event of the year - Alberto Menegatti: 'The first event has now gone, it was for many a surprise to win the event, and I didn't expect it myself. Once home I've realised what I've done, and since then i'm training more and more to be ready for Costa Brava. I've been tuning up mostly with Andrea Cucchi (Patrik / Point-7) in Lake Garda and I'm going to go to Costa Brava a few days before the event to finalize my training.'
Menegatti leads the way - PWA Ulsan Korea World Cup 2012
Reigning World Champion - Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde) - made a solid start to the season in Korea with an assured display of sailing. Had it not been for a broken fin in the opening elimination then the big Frenchman could’ve been looking at a perfect start, but it wasn’t to be. Albeau holds a phenomenal record in Costa Brava - having not missed out on a place on the podium for the past seven years - so he’ll certainly be in contention for top honours come the end of the week. Ben Van Der Steen (Starboard / Gaastra / Mystic / Different) wasted little time in proving that he has had no problems in adapting to his new Gaastra sails, as the flying Dutchman claimed a place on the coveted podium at the first time of asking. Van Der Steen demonstrated his phenomenal straight line speed and silky smooth gybes in Korea and he is now perfectly poised to make an attack for the top.
Antoine Albeau - 2013 Ulsan PWA World Cup
Having come within touching distance of the world title in 2012 - Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard / Severne / Dunkerbeck Eyewear / Chris Benz) - surprisingly missed out on a place in the top ten in Korea. Expect to the see terminator return with a vengeance as he looks to get his season back on track and no one would bet against that happening, given the fact that Dunkerbeck has reigned victorious in Costa Brava for the past three years. Will anyone be able to stop him this time around? The French contingent dominated the top ten in Korea, so joining Antoine Albeau in the hunt for glory in Costa Brava will be the likes of Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard / Severne) - who achieved his best finish on Korean waters, fourth - Antoine Questel (Starboard / Loft Sails), Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / North), Cedric Bordes (Tabou / Gaastra) and Julien Quentel (RRD / NeilPryde). Argentina’s sole representative - Gonzalo Costa Hoevel (Starboard / Loft Sails) proved that his new equipment is working brilliantly for him by finishing sixth in Korea. Costa Hoevel looked dangerous in the light and medium winds on Jinha Beach, so if the sea breeze dominates over the Tramontana he’s definitely one to watch over the coming five days. Having also been training in Tarifa for much of the winter and during the break in between events, he’s going to be well equipped for battling it out in the high winds too. Micah Buzianis (JP / NeilPryde) was extremely unhappy with how he performed in the opening event of the season, but given that he finished in third place overall last year the American simply can’t be overlooked. Buzianis is renowned for his perfectly timed starts and usually undroppable gybes, which so often make him a formidable force at the forefront of the fleet. Expect to see him battling hard to make amends for Korea, as well as more importantly getting his season firmly back on track. The first event of the season may have come too early for Ross Williams (Tabou / Gaastra), but the Brit is now back to full fitness and ready to resume battle with the fastest sailors in the world. Having finished seventh overall last year and as arguably the most talented all round sailor in the world right now, you can be rest assured that Williams will be challenging for the top spots. Finally the likes of the ever consistent Jimmy Diaz (Starboard / North) and the two times wave world champion Josh Angulo will be challenging for places in the top ten by the end of the week. Also joining them in the battle for the top ten will be Israel’s Arnon Dagan (RRD / NeilPryde), who claimed his first elimination victory in four years in Korea and looked very dangerous in the lighter winds. Whether it’s the idyllic sea breezes or the Tramontana wind, the next five days promise to be packed with unmissable action as the battle for the world title begins to gather pace - make sure you don’t miss a thing by tuning into PWA World Tour.
Bjorn Dunkerbeck - PWA Catalunya World Cup 2012