by Chris Yates
Throughout the opening day of the 2012 PWA Sylt World Cup, the tension slowly built as the prospect of tomorrows start loomed over the competitors heads. After the registration period, which took place between 11:30am and 1:30pm, the sailors spent the remainder of the day rigging their equipment and grabbing some last minute preparation on the water, making sure their setup is absolutely perfect for the contest.
Bjorn jumps - 2012 PWA Sylt World CUp
Meanwhile, thousands of spectators began to descend on the event area, as they took the chance to mingle with their idols or simply enjoy a glass of champagne, whilst absorbing the vibrant atmosphere, which surrounded the area.
At 4pm the event made a spectacular beginning as the opening ceremony was held with the sailors parading the flags of their countries, before being introduced to a massive crowd.
Before the opening ceremony, the PWA caught up with a number of sailors to gain their thoughts and impressions about the nine days that lay ahead.
The reigning PWA Freestyle World Champion, Steven Van Broeckhoven (JP / NeilPryde / Different), who currently sits in second place: 'I spent three weeks training in Dahab, and the last couple of weeks I have just been sailing in Holland. I still have a very slim chance of retaining my title, all I can do is sail my best and take it from there.'
Ross Williams (Tabou / Gaastra), who has aspirations of finishing in the top ten on both the slalom and wave tour: 'I’m just going to take the week as it comes. I really want to finish strongly in the slalom and I feel that I can do really well at this event, I’m going to have fun and hopefully have a good finish to the year, then I’ll turn my focus to training for next year.'
Heading through the shore break - 2012 PWA Sylt World CUp
PWA: There have been a few rumours that this may be your last year on the wave tour?
Ross Williams: 'At the moment I’m going to be focusing more on the UK due to the fact that I am going to be the Tabou and Gaastra 'guy' from now on. Having said that, I wouldn’t count me out coming back on the off chance, and just turning up the day before. I’m not 100% happy with my wavesailing right now because I don’t get enough practice in. Ultimately I’d like to improve my jumping before coming back for another event, and then at least I might be able to battle for the top five.'
Philip Soltysiak (Starboard / Sailworks): 'I’m rigging everything from 3.8-5.4m sails, the conditions can change super quickly here so I want to be fully prepared.'
Justyna Sniady (Quatro / KA Sail) on her recovery from her broken foot: 'It’s going much better now, I’ve been standing up and walking for the last two weeks without crutches. It’s also better because I am taller without my wheelchair (haha), but it’s painful to be here and watch everybody else. It’s likely to be another few months before I can windsurf, but some doctors said that I wouldn’t walk again, so I’m not doing too badly. I have my sights firmly set on next year’s competition season.'
With an amazing forecast, which offers strong winds every day, the next nine days are set to see some epic action both on and off the water. Windsurfing is set to hit fever pitch as the world’s elite sailors perform in front of the largest crowds of the season. The skippers meeting for the men’s freestyle and wave shall be held at 9am tomorrow morning with the action kicking off from 09:30, whilst the skippers meeting for the slalom will be held at 10am with the first possible start at 11am.
Van Broekhoven on form - PWA Reno World Cup Sylt Grand Slam 2011
Sylt sunset - PWA Reno World Cup Sylt Grand Slam 2011
Tonky Frans sliping and sliding - PWA Reno World Cup Sylt Grand Slam 2011
PWA World Tour website