Sylt’s iconic Westerland beach provides a fitting backdrop for the final chapter of the 2008 PWA season to be written into the annals of windsurfing history.
Celebrating 25 years of competition since the birth of the seminal Sylt World Cup, the 2008 season will reach its final destination on the historic sands of Brandenburger Strand, from Sept 26 – Oct 05.
Nine days of Super Grand Slam competition will witness the women’s fleet battling it out for the Wave Title, while the men’s fleet engage in all three PWA disciplines; Wave, Freestyle and Slalom. What’s At Stake?
Besides a hefty prize purse, the Sylt World Cup is the final, definitive stop that will determine the ultimate standings for the 2008 season. Women’s Wave
In the women’s wave discipline, Daida Moreno (North) tops the current standings after victory in Pozo, however an uncharacteristic fifth place last year in Sylt may be playing on her mind as the event draws ever closer. Hot on her heels is sister Iballa (North), the 2007 World Champion and Sylt runner up last year. The Moreno’s are fiercely competitive and will throw everything they have at this event to retain their reputation as the best female wave sailors in the world.
Another heavy weight contender for the 2008 Wave Title is last year’s event winner Nayra Alonso (Fanatic, Severne). Currently ranked 5th, Alonso adapts her sailing well to the unpredictable Sylt conditions, and will be hungry to make this her second year on the top of the podium.
Also in contention is Karin Jaggi (F2, North). The Swiss sailor boasts a wealth of competition experience, and has shown she’s still very much a force to be reckoned with after finishing 3rd in Pozo this year.
Out of the running for the 2008 Wave Title (Wahl didn’t compete in Pozo), but very much with a point to prove, Steffi Wahl (F2, Gaastra) is a wild card that’s capable of big things. After finishing 3rd in Sylt last year, and backed by the local crowd, Wahl will be hell bent on climbing higher up the podium this year. Men’s Wave
Entering Sylt, the top ten wave sailors sit tantalizingly close to each other. Topping the ranks is 2007 World Champion, Kauli Seadi (JP, NeilPryde, Mormaii, MFC). Seadi’s sailing is polished, fluid and dangerously creative, but a 3rd place in Pozo has shown he far from unbeatable.
Sitting in second place is Spanish sensation, Victor Fernandez (Fanatic, Simmer, MFC). Fernandez was runner up in the 2007 season having lost the title by just one heat, however this certainly doesn’t suggest he’ll occupy the same spot this year. Faultless execution of the Pozo crown in July sees Fernandez enter Sylt on a high. A betting man would definitely fancy his chances with this 24 year old all rounder.
Also in the running are the likes of Josh Angulo (MauiSails, Dakine), Marcilio Browne (Mistral, Gaastra), Robby Swift (JP, NeilPryde) and Ricardo Campello (JP, NeilPryde, MFC). In fact, it could be argued that standards are so high; anyone in the current top 20 could have a good shot at the podium.
The ultimate event wild card has to be Jason Polakow (JP, NeilPryde). This icon, big wave junkie and undisputed legend is something of a down the line specialist, but flair never disappears, even if the conditions do. Men’s Freestyle
The battle for the 2008 Freestyle World Title is very much a two horse race between Marcilio Browne and Jose Estredo (Fanatic, North, MFC). Estredo lost out on the 2007 title to Browne, in a nail biting double elimination that saw the title decided on the result of a single heat. Estredo won the event, but Browne the World Title.
This year the situation is equally close, but somewhat more technical. For Browne to retain the World Title, he has to win the event, and hope for Estredo to finish in fifth place or lower. Should Browne finish in second, he’d lose out to Estredo.
On the other hand, for Estredo to take the World Title, he has to place fourth or above. Should Browne win the event, there’s also potential for the pair to tie on points, which would result in victory for Browne since he won the last event, or a sail-off depending on the circumstances. Technicality aside, it’s going to be a mesmerizing display to watch unfold. Men’s Slalom
Stella sailing and impeccable results have already handed the 2008 World Title to Antoine Albeau (Starboard, NeilPryde), after the Frenchman claimed three straight event victories in the Costa Brava, Pozo and Fuerteventura.
Despite having victory in the bag, the Frenchman is never one to back down from a challenge, and will want to reaffirm his dominance after narrowly missing out on his fourth straight event victory to Bjorn Dunkerbeck (North) in Turkey.
The remaining podium positions are wide open for the taking, with the likes of Dunkerbeck, Kevin Pritchard (Starboard, Gaastra, Dakine, MFC), Ross Williams (Tabou, Gaastra), Finian Maynard (RRD, NeilPryde) and Ben Van Der Steen (Simmer, Exocet) all in the running.
Each of these sailors is suited to different wind strengths, sea states, temperatures and countless other variables. To win this event, or take a place on the overall podium with prove to be a massive challenge, and one hugely exciting to watch. What to Expect
Massive crowds barely sum up what can be expected at Sylt. In 2007, over 190,000 fans turned up to watch the action, which saw in excess of 100 PWA stars competing. This year looks set to be bigger and better.
On the water, the ferocious North Sea can serve up a full spectrum of windsurfing conditions. Expect anything from howling onshore storms, epic cross-shore jumping, sunny slalom blasting and everything in between. Either way, with so much at stake the action will be intense, in your face, and totally off the hook.
Off the water, a multitude of activities will cater for every possible taste. For beginners to the sport they’ll be surf simulators, and for the more experienced they’ll be pro clinics, so you can learn from the best. Throw in beach soccer, volley ball, the ‘Quattro High Jump’, autograph signings, endless awesome parties and you begin to get an idea of just how spectacular this event will be.
For more information on all the entrants, and to keep up to date with every piece of the action, click on www.pwaworldtour.com
There’s also a dedicated event website for our German fans at www.worldcupsylt.de