by Chris Yates
The 2012 PWA Sotavento Fuerteventura World Cup is set to take place from 20th-30th July where Rene Eglie will play host to the planet’s fastest slalom sailors and the world’s most extreme freestylers for the 27th consecutive year of World Cup competition. The fleet will once again be congregating on the beautiful beaches of Sotavento as they provide a scintillating display.
Sudden impact - PWA Sotavento Fuerteventura Grand Slam 2011
Sotavento is situated on the South East coast of Fuerteventura and boasts a world renowned reputation thanks to its super consistent nuclear winds, beautiful golden sand beaches and year round sunshine. Sotavento provides some of the most exhilarating conditions on the PWA tour, the slalom sailors will be reaching for their smallest equipment as they charge around the racing buoys at mach 10, whilst the freestylers will be taking full advantage of the ever present stunt ramps to launch into the most extreme and radical tricks on the planet.
All of the action will be just meters from the beach, ensuring that the spectators will be able to enjoy the best of the action from the comfort of their sun loungers.
A ten day slalom and freestyle extravaganza as the men prepare for their fourth slalom battle of the year. The men’s freestylers are armed and ready for their second event, whilst their female counterparts prepare to make their first appearance of 2012. The competitors will be fighting it out for the €85,000 prize purse, as well as those all-important world tour points as the title races gather pace, it’s make or break time.
Dates To Remember:
20th July: Registration day
21st - 25th July: Men’s slalom competition
26th - 30th July: Men and Women’s Freestyle competition
Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde) currently leads the 2012 PWA Slalom World Tour. The big Frenchmen holds the narrowest of leads over his nemesis Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard / Severne / Starboard / Severne / Mystic / Dunkerbeck Eyewear / Chris Benz). Albeau excels in the extreme and tricky conditions that present themselves in Fuerteventura and he has dominated the event in recent years, so he’ll be hoping to continue his phenomenal record to extend his lead over Dunkerbeck and the rest of the chasing pack come the end of the week.
Mousilmani and Van Der Steen chase Albeau - PWA Sotavento Fuerteventura Grand Slam 2011
Bjorn Dunkerbeck dominated the last event in Costa Brave as he won three out of the six races sailed. Dunkerbeck demonstrated his blistering straight line speed and silky smooth gybes to put himself back in contention for the title. Expect to see the Terminator gunning for the top as he prepares himself for another intense battle with Albeau, the winner of the duel this time around is likely to leave as the tour leader so the rivalry is going to be fiercer than ever.
Bjorn holds down his 6.2m - PWA Sotavento Fuerteventura Grand Slam 2011
Julien Quentel (RRD / NeilPryde) claimed his maiden race victory in Costa Brava after another brilliant display and he currently sits third in the rankings. The man from Saint Maarten has been one of the most consistent riders on the tour thus far and he’s certainly one of the quickest. With confidence at an all-time high we expect to see Quentel charging around the course faster than ever as he looks to continue to fine form. by the end of the event he should definitely be in and around the podium positions.
The ever consistent Jimmy Diaz (Starboard / North) will be determined to continue his fine start to the season. Diaz’s starts are on point and he has a wealth of experience which he will be using to ensure that he finishes in the top ten. Ben Van Der Steen (Starboard / Loft / Mystic / Different Eyewear) finished on the podium in Fuerteventura last year and he’ll be looking to replicate that result again as he searches for his first top three finish of 2012. The Dutchman is without doubt one of the quickest guys on tour, if he’s able to link a few solid races together then he is capable of beating anyone.
Alberto Menegatti (Starboard / Gaastra) is looking like the real deal so far this season. The Italian possesses both straight line speed and flawless gybes which make him a major threat in Fuerteventura. Elsewhere the likes of Josh Angulo (Angulo / Point-7), Pascal Toselli (RRD / Point-7), Antoine Questel (Starboard / Loft) and Micah Buzianis (JP / MauiSails) are all more than capable of pushing for the top three. The slalom tour is super competitive at the moment so we expect to see another five days of nail biting racing.
Jose ‘Gollito’ Estredo (Fanatic / North) won the opening freestyle event of the year in Austria. The Venezuelan looked in formidable form as he goes in search of his fifth PWA World Championship. Gollito loves the full power conditions in Fuerteventura and he has a great track record in the Canaries. Gollito is sure to be launching into unbelievable air chachoos and a whole myriad of other radical tricks as he looks to guarantee himself first place, and in doing so cement his place at the top of the rankings.
Taty Frans (Starboard / MauiSails / Mystic / Maui Ultra Fins) proved that his involvement in the full slalom tour isn’t affecting his freestyling skills, after claiming second in Austria with an astonishing display of freestyle wizardry. Both he and his brother, Tonky Frans (Gaastra / Tabou), sail with a unique style that impresses both the crowds and the judges. The Frans’ brothers are always challenging for the podium positions and that’s exactly where we expect them to be again in Fuerteventura.
Taty lets one fly - PWA Fuerteventura World Cup 2011
The remainder of the super stylish Bonaire crew, Kiri Thode (Starboard / Gaastra) and Bjorn Saragoza (Starboard / Hot Sails Maui), will also be challenging for top honours in Fuerteventura. Thode made a solid start to his season in Austria as he finished in third place. Expect to see Thode busting out effortless spock-culos and massive air bobs as he looks to annihilate his opponents. Meanwhile, Saragoza, made a great start to his season as he claimed fifth, he’ll be looking to be finishing in the top five again.
The reigning World Champion, Steven Van Broeckhoven (JP / NeilPryde / Different Eyewear), will be looking to return with a vengeance in Fuerteventura after finishing fourth in the opening event of the year. The King of pop won the event here last year and we expect him to bounce back and head to top come the end of the week. Van Broeckhoven revels in the strong winds and he’ll be launching into gravity defying stunts to wow the judges.
The super radical Davy Scheffers (Tabou / Gaastra) looks like he has progressed to another level in his latest video. Scheffers can be seen landing incredible double burner funnels and perfect flaka-shaka-flakas. The super talented Dutchman will now be hoping that his hard work pays off in Fuerteventura as he looks to break into the top four.
Team France, which consists of Nicolas Akgazciyan (Starboard / Point-7 / Maui Ultra Fins) and Anthony Ruenes (Tabou / Gaastra), and Julien Mas (Patrik / Hot Sails Maui), will be setting their sights on the top ten in Fuerteventura after the trio made terrific starts to their seasons in Austria. All three riders have a radical style and they are all capable of taking down anyone on their day.
Other names to keep a close eye out for include; Belgium Dieter Van der Eyken (Starboard / Severne,) the freestyle maestro is another man who looks to have been training hard before the event in order to guarantee his spot in the top ten at a minimum. The super talented seventeen year old, Youp Schmit (JP / NeilPryde), has been out in Fuerteventura training ahead of the event and reports claim that he is absolutely ripping. Schmit finished in the top ten here last year and he’ll definitely be there or there abouts come the end of the event.
Israeli Yarden Meir (Fanatic / Simmer / Maui Ultra Fins) is one of the most fearless guys on the tour, so we are guaranteed to see him launching himself into some insane stunts. Finally the super consistent Phil Soltysiak (Starboard / Sailworks) possesses all the latest moves in his arsenal, therefore he’s another sailor who will be pushing for the top ten.
There are also a whole host of other sailors that are capable of breaking into the top ten or higher, such is the level of the freestyle tour right now.
The queen of freestyle, Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / Gaastra / Mystic), has been absent from the women’s slalom tour this year due to her studies, but she is ready and raring to go as she begins her World Championship defense. Offringa won all three of the freestyle events last year and she’ll be hoping to keep that record going this season too. Expect to see her busting out effortless double spocks and burners as Offringa looks to make the perfect start to her defense.
The Swiss styler Laure Treboux (Fanatic / North) is likely to be Offringa’s closest rival after she pushed the woman from Aruba all the way in every final last year. Treboux will be launching into sick shakas and a plethora of spock and grubby variations as she looks to steal the crown from Offringa.
Yoli De Brent (Fanatic / North) will be using her wealth of experience to battle her way onto the podium in Fuerteventura. Meanwhile one of the up and coming ladies of the women’s tour; Arrianne Aukes (RRD / Simmer / AL360) will be looking to build upon her excellent results from last year as she looks to make an assault on the top three.
The event is rapidly approaching and all that’s left for you to do is to prepare yourself for ten days of intense adrenaline fuelled racing and extreme, explosive freestyle. The event promises action packed every day and you are not going to want to miss a single moment of the epic action.
Cyril cranks round the gybe - PWA Fuerteventura World Cup 2011
Moussilmani takea Dunkerbeck on the home straight - PWA Sotavento Fuerteventura Grand Slam 2011
PWA World Tour website