by Chris Yates
At the PWA Sylt World Cup, with an outside chance of some wind and waves on the horizon for this morning, the wave fleet met at 7am. Unfortunately though, the early start didn’t pay off as the competitors and crew were greeted with light cross-onshore wind and very little in the way of waves. Throughout the morning a small wave did develop, but without the presence of wind, no competition was completed today. The slalom sailors spent the remainder of the day on hold, with a marginal wind keeping everyone on their toes, before they were eventually released for the penultimate time of the GP Joule PWA Sylt World at 5pm.
With plenty of down time today we caught up with a couple of sailors to gain their thoughts on yesterday’s action packed day on the water, which saw Kiri Thode (Starboard / Gaastra) win the men’s freestyle double elimination - dedicated to André Paskowski - whilst Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde) won the fifth slalom elimination.
Dieter van der Eyken (Starboard / Severne), who is on the verge of breaking into the overall top five in the world for the first time in his career: 'I’m super stoked to have finished fifth overall. It was really close with Kiri [Thode] , but I’m happy for him because I think he really deserves to be the world champion (if not contest takes place tomorrow), finally.'
'Over the winter I’m planning to go to Australia for two months to work on my jumping and air moves, before also going to Bonaire for another couple of months, then I’ll go straight to El Yaque.'
Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde) reflects on yesterday’s slalom elimination victory. The big Frenchman now holds an almost unassailable lead in his bid for back-to-back world titles, after another flawless performance: AA: 'Yesterday was very, very hard day. The wind was still side off shore, gusty and shifty, rainy, not so great to be a slalomer on the water. It was also very hard to decide what sail to use, 9.5m or 8.6m / 9.5. I maybe should’ve been on 8.6m, but in the end I just used my 9.5m and my 129L RRD in all my heats. I was a bit overpowered in my first two heats - but comfortable in the semi and final.
'In the final the wind was strong so I decided to start in the middle of the line, I had a good start but Alberto [Menegatti] (Starboard / Point-7) was at the pin with a great start as well, I could see him thru my sail, we arrived same time at the first jibe but he was below so he gybed in first place. I was just behind and waiting for him to make a mistake, which he did at the third gybe. The wind was light after the mark and we got stuck with neither of us planing after the mark. I was pumping a lot and got planing before him, so I sailed on top of him and started to control him. At the arrived last gybe I arrived in first, at this point I knew he had no possibility to come back to me.
I’m super happy to have won the fifth race in those conditions.'
PWA: You are still one of the biggest guys on the tour, even though we’ve had a lot of light wind events this year you have consistently been one of the quickest guys on the water. Do you train a lot in light winds?
AA: 'At my place the wind is quite light, maybe not as light as Lake Garda where Alberto spends a lot of time. I think I’m right on the weight limit of it being able to work for me in the light winds, but also after every gybe and every close situation I’m fighting for my place by pumping as much as I can to get planing and I think that’s why I’m doing good.'
Tomorrow offers a marginal forecast with southwesterly winds being predicted, which offers the potential for the slalom sailors to compete one more time on their biggest equipment. The skippers’ meeting for all three fleets tomorrow morning will be at 10am with the action commencing from 10:30am, if conditions allow.
PWA World Tour
Windsurf World Cup