PWA World Cup Ulsan event preview
by Vivienne Masters on 12 May 2011
PWA World Cup and the PWA's slalom fleets will be returning to the Far East for the Ulsan PWA World Cup which will take place at South Korea’s Jinha Beach.
Sunrise under Myeong - PWA Ulsan World Cup © John Carter / PWA http://www.pwaworldtour.com
This stop will mark the fifth anniversary of the Ulsan PWA World Cup and South Korea will once again be thrust into the limelight, as the world’s windsurfing media turn their attention to Korea’s windsurfing Mecca of Jinha Beach.
Located on the southeast corner of the South Korean peninsular, Jinha Beach has grown from a little known windsurfing spot, to one of the premier locations in the country. Fusing rich eastern culture with reliable trade winds and white sand beaches, this unique tour stop attracts a huge fleet of racers, and has fast developed a reputation as being a proving ground for upcoming Asian windsurfing talents, as well as one of the most testing world tour locations.
There will be seven days of fast paced slalom action, witnessing the PWA’s men’s and women’s slalom fleets battling it out in the discipline’s second tour stop of the year. Up for grabs is a share of the event’s €55,000 prize fund and of course all important world tour ranking points.
With one slalom event already notched up following the hugely successful Vietnam PWA Grand Slam, we’ve had a fairly decent insight into who’s looking strong at this early stage in the season.
In the men’s fleet, there are the obvious contenders of Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard / Severne / Mystic) and Antoine Albeau (JP / NeilPryde). This two-man axis of slalom elitism epitomizes the super competitive nature of the discipline. Inseparable in the past years, Dunkerbeck has started the season with a bang, following his emphatic victory in Vietnam. But as predicted, Albeau is never far behind. Having won this event the previous year, and narrowly missing out on victory in Vietnam, it goes without saying that this pair of slalom aficionados will be at each other throats as they exchange blows in a bid for event supremacy.
Also looking in dangerous form is US Virgin Islander, Jimmy Diaz (Starboard / North). Entering the event in third position, and having placed consistently in the challenging Korean waters over the past years, Diaz will be right up there jostling for a podium position, whatever the East Sea throws at him.
Without wanting to get too bogged down with name checks, it would be wrong not to mention sixth ranked Finian Maynard (RRD), last year’s fourth placed sailor at the event, Micah Buzianis (JP / NeilPryde) and Steve Allen (Starboard / Severne). These three guys need no introduction, and are obvious contenders when the green flag goes up on the 14th.
The final mention in the men’s fleet goes to Ludo Jossin (Loft). This enigmatic Spanish sailor hit the headlines when he stormed the fleet in Vietnam, to take a surprise fourth overall in the season opener. He’ll no doubt want to further assert his dominance and quash any rumors that it was a one-off lucky result.
In the women’s fleet there’s plenty to chew over. The event witnesses the return of Valerie Arrighetti (Tabou / Loft / Mystic), who’s spent the winter recovering from a persistent shoulder injury. Having placed second overall in 2010, she’s a contender for top honors should her injury stay in check.
Karin Jaggi (Severne / Patrik) is the last of the old guard to be punching it out at the front of the fleet, as a new generation of women’s slalom talent appears to be staking their claim at the sharp end of the discipline. Expect Jaggi, the reigning world champion to be fending off the likes of 2011 tour leader, Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / Gaastra / Mystic), runner up Alice Arutkin (Starboard / North) and third placed Morane Demont (Starboard / Severne), not to mention countless unseeded Japanese and Korean racers who’ll be setting their sights high.
14th May: Competition beginning for both fleets (men and women).
20th May: Final day of competition (men and women).
PWA World Tour website.
Ulsan PWA World Cup: website
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