2008 PWA Colgate World Cup - nine heats down in the first slalom race, and there’s already plenty to talk about from day one in Sylt.
Following registration and a typically high profile Sylt opening ceremony the previous day, all the PWA fleets were rigged ready to compete in whatever day one threw at them.
As it turned out, the morning was to be a leisurely affair, bathed in sunshine and teased by light westerly winds. The afternoon looked to follow a similar pattern until the sun started to drop, and a modest 7-11 knot breeze arrived at the competition area.
Springing into action, the race committee quickly tweaked the four buoy downwind slalom course for the start of the very first heat of the event.
Two heats down, and just as proceedings looked to be following a relatively predictable path, Josh Angulo (MauiSails, Dakine) made a catastrophic error, when he crossed the finish line from the wrong side in his heat 3 clash. The shock mistake meant that he not only had to relinquish his victory, but also failed to qualify for the subsequent round of the race.
As normality looked to be restored, the next big surprise of the day came when 2008 Slalom World Champion, Antoine Albeau (Starboard, NeilPryde) failed to qualify from his heat 8 showdown. The usually dominant Frenchman looked to have a firm grip on second place in the heat, until he stalled exiting the second gybe mark, leaving his rivals free to pass him.
As the swarming crowds lining the beach came to their senses after Albeau’s shock departure, they were to witness another rare spectacle, when current slalom number three, Kevin Pritchard (Starboard, Gaastra, Dakine, MFC) missed out on qualification from his round two heat, by just one position.
Entering the subsequent heat, the wind backed off, forcing the race officials to abandon the heat and call an end to the first, and highly controversial day of competition in Sylt.
If day one’s events were anything to go by, the coming days are going to deliver ample loads of windsurf competition that’s as varied and unpredictable at the Sylt weather.
Be sure to tune back into pwaworldtour.com tomorrow, to follow all the action from day two of the 2008 PWA Colgate World Cup, Sylt, starting with the skippers meeting at 10.30am.
There’s also a dedicated event website for our German fans at www.worldcupsylt.de