On day one of the PWA Ulsan Korea World Cup, registrations took place between 10am and 12pm. Weather conditions remained changeable throughout the morning and early afternoon with cyclonic winds also occurring. At around 15:00, Korea showed its true unpredictability as the wind swung cross-shore and picked up in an instant.
Antoine Albeau - PWA Ulsan Korea World Cup 2012
Cue a whole host of sailors head out onto the water to check out the conditions. After a further forty-five minutes, the wind stabilized sufficiently, and the first heats of the event were underway.
Heat one had to be immediately restarted as Taty Frans (Starboard / MauiSails / Mystic / Maui Ultra Fins) was a little too eager to cross the start line and was thus disqualified. When the race was restarted it was Alberto Menegatti (Starboard / Gaastra) who crossed the line in first place.
Menegatti leads the way - PWA Ulsan Korea World Cup 2012
The Italian sailed a commanding heat as he led from start to finish, showing both a great top speed and fluid gybes. Jesper Orth (F2 / KA) was second going into the third gybe mark, but he couldn’t hold off Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / North) as the Frenchman burst clear of Orth and Chris Pressler (Starboard / Severne) to claim second place. In the end Orth and Pressler secured their place in the second round, finishing third and fourth respectively.
Into heat two, and a general recall was required again. This time it was Thomas Malina (Fanatic / Simmer) who jumped the gun. Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde), who is the third seed coming into Korea, was the first man across the start line and he put in a dominating performance as he cruised to victory, building a sizable lead in the process.
The race for second and third place was a much more interesting battle, Matteo Iachino (F2 / Challenger / Mystic / Al 360) led Arnon Dagan (Tabou / Gaastra) going into the final reach, but Dagan came storming out of the final gybe mark to appear right on the tail of Iachino. Dagan didn’t quite have enough in tank to steal second place but it was certainly the most exciting finish of the day. The final place in the next round went to Japan’s Kouichiro Kaku (Starboard / Gaastra).
Heat three was the final heat of the day to be completed, and the wind slowly deteriorated throughout its duration. After a tight start it was Julien Quentel (RRD / NeilPryde) who rose to the top of the pack to book his place in the second round. Accompanying him would be Antoine Questel (Starboard / Loft Sails), Kurosh Kiani (Fanatic / Simmer) and Micah Buzianis (JP / MauiSails), who had to pump almost all the way from the third gybe mark to the finish line due to the fading wind.
Earlier today we had a quick chat with the reigning world champion Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard / Severne / Mystic / Dunkerbeck Eyewear):
PWA: You won the event here last year, how are you feeling about retaining the event title?
BD : 'After Italy and all the practice I’ve been getting in the last month combined with my new equipment, both my iSonics are going really well and my Severne Reflex III are working even better than last year, the acceleration has improved especially as has the rotation of the sail. Both are aspects that I think are very important for the competition here on Jinha beach because the wind is quite gusty. '
PWA : Who do you think your biggest rivals are for the coming year?
BD : 'I’m sure Antoine Albeau and Ben Van Der Steen will be the two toughest ones because they have showed already in the last few years that they are good in a variety of conditions. But in different wind conditions I think there will be different people posing a threat.'
PWA : You are still at the top of your game, do you have any time-frame in mind for how long you want to continue to compete?
BD : 'As long as I’m still enjoying doing it and as long as my body permits. My switch to Starboard and Severne has really paid off - it’s been a big challenge but also a big motivation for me. I’m still windsurfing a lot and when I’m not I’m usually stand up paddling, surfing or mountain biking, so I’m still very active. The competition side of things is important to me because it keeps me focused and in line, so as long as I stay successful at it and I’m having fun doing it I will continue. Even if I stop slalom I could do the speed sailing or it would give me time to compete in the long distance races.'
PWA : Are there any stops in particular that you look forward to?
BD : 'I enjoy the Canary Islands, because we compete every day. Turkey is also a good place for the wind and Jinha beach has been having good years as well. The variation of conditions is what keeps it interesting for me.'
The forecast for tomorrow looks as though it should deliver an exciting day, full of intense racing. The skippers’ meeting has been called for 10am tomorrow morning with racing commencing from 10:30. Make sure you tune in.
At 5pm, the Mayor of Ulsan started the 'Official Opening Race'. This saw all the contestants going to head-to-head for a share of the $5000 prize money. The race started when the wind had begun to drop already, but it was quite a sight to see the top windsurfers in the world racing straight off the beach. Sadly the wind dropped to almost nothing so the majority of the race was non-planing.
The race saw the top ten men and top five women receiving a share of the prize money, which was split $3500 to men and $1500 to women. After a long drawn out race, it was eventually Pieter Bijl (JP / NeilPryde) who claimed the victory in the men’s division, followed by Korea’s very own Hyung-Kwon Kim in second. whilst the first woman to finish the race was Japan’s Fujiko Onishi.
Bijl wins the fun race - PWA Ulsan Korea World Cup 2012
Results From The Opening Race (Not Counting Towards PWA)
1st Pieter Bijl (JP / NeilPryde)
2nd Hyung-Kwon Kim
3rd Ertugrul Icingir (JP / NeilPryde)
4th Ross Williams (Tabou / Gaastra)
5th Peter Volwater (Fanatic / Avanti)
6th Gonzalo Costa Hoevel (Fanatic / North)
7th Cedric Bordes (Tabou / Gaastra / Mystic)
8th Julien Quentel (JP / NeilPryde)
9th Jimmy Diaz (Starboard / North)
10th Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde)
1st Fujiko Onishi
2nd Lise Vidal (Fanatic / North)
3rd Mio Anayama (Starboard / NeilPryde)
4th Ayako Suzuki (Starboard / Gaastra / Mystic)
5th Greta Benvenuti (Patrik / Point-7 / Al 360)
Quentel leads the pack - PWA Ulsan Korea World Cup 2012
Slalom action at Jinha - PWA Ulsan Korea World Cup 2012
Dunckerbeck gybes - PWA Ulsan Korea World Cup 2012
Mussilmani twins tune up - PWA Ulsan Korea World Cup 2012
PWA World Tour website
PWA Ulsan Korea World Cup website