The 2012 PWA Ulsan Korea World Cup is set to take place from 5-11 May with everyone preparing for more high-octane racing as the slalom fleet head to Asia, South Korea. The second leg of the tour is guaranteed to be an exciting event, as competitors go head-to-head at one of the most challenging spots of the year. The beautiful Jinha beach will once again be thrust into the limelight of the windsurfing world.
Situated in the southeast of South Korea, Jinha beach is a thirty-minute drive from Ulsan and has developed the reputation of being the top windsurfing location in the country. With a rich eastern culture, amazing white sand beaches and reliable trade winds, it is easy to see why windsurfers all over South Korea hold this spot in such high esteem. Jinha beach provides the perfect playground for copious amounts of fully charged slalom action.
Seven days of intense racing amongst the fastest sailors in the world, as they battle it out for a share of the €55,000 prize purse and those all-important world ranking points. After the close fought action of Reggio Calabria last month, competitors are still discovering their strengths and weaknesses, both in relation to their equipment and their rivals, so anything is possible as the contest begins to evolve.
Top seed for the men, Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard / Severne / Mystic / Dunkerbeck Eyewear), won the opening event of the season in Italy by the narrowest of margins, but he’ll be coming into the event full of confidence knowing that after holding back on his starts in Reggio Calabria, he still has the sheer speed and tactical know-how to reduce almost any deficit ahead of him. Dunkerbeck won in South Korea last year and he’ll be hoping he can replicate that result again over the next week.
Having had the event title snatched away from under his nose in Italy Gonzalo Costa Hoevel (Fanatic / North) will be wanting to exact revenge in the second event of the year. The Argentinian looked super sharp with perfectly timed starts and excellent board speed, meaning he should be battling it out for the top spots again.
Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde) finished third in the first event of the year. Expect to see the Frenchman firing on all cylinders in South Korea as he looks to make an assault on first place. Albeau has an excellent track record in the testing conditions that the Sea of Japan produces, with two event wins and a second place in the last three seasons. History indicates that he should do well here, so the week ahead could well see another colossal battle between himself and arch-rival Bjorn Dunkerbeck.
Ben Van Der Steen (Starboard / Loft / Mystic) may have missed out on the winner’s final in Italy, after catapulting over the line in the semi-final, but he looked in terrific form prior to that mishap, winning both of his heats with consummate ease. The Dutch supremo will be keen to make amends and get his season up and running in Korea. Initial impressions from Italy indicate that his winter training was a success and that he’ll be in and around the podium positions come the end of the week.
The ever consistent Virgin Islander, Jimmy Diaz (Starboard / North), is another sailor who tends to revel in the challenging conditions of the Korean waters. As a result it would be no surprise to see him do well here again. Diaz started his season with a solid fifth place and he’ll be looking to build upon that in the second event.
Other sailors who should be right in the thick of things include; Josh Angulo (Angulo / Point-7) who finished third in Korea last year, and demonstrated in Italy that he has already adapted to his new Point-7 sails, despite only having been sailing on them for a few weeks. Peter Volwater (Fanatic / Avanti) enjoyed a great start to 2012 with a fourth place finish. The Dutchman looked as quick as ever and he certainly has the potential to do a lot of damage. Of course Micah Buzianis (JP / MauiSails), Steve Allen (Starboard / Severne) and Finian Maynard (RRD / Avanti), should all be battling for top honors.
Finally there will be a whole host of Korean and Asian sailors who have the potential to cause an upset. With their extra inside knowledge about the local conditions, there’s certainly going to be no easy races at this event.
For the women, fresh off the back of her victory in Reggio Calabria, Karin Jaggi (Patrik / Severne) will be looking to add another event title to her name. With the reigning world champion Sarah-Quita Offringa once again absent from proceedings, it would seem that her main rival will be Valerie Arrighetti (Tabou / Gaastra / Mystic).
Arrighetti looked in good shape in Italy, and after missing out on the first winner’s final of the year, she recovered to win the second elimination and keep Jaggi on her toes. These two have had some great battles in the past few seasons and Korea should be no different.
Lena Erdil (Patrik / The Loft / Al360) enjoyed her best finish to date in the first event of the year with a second place. The young Turk will be brimming with confidence coming into Korea as she looks to upset the top two seeds.
Also in the mix is twenty-year-old Alice Arutkin (Starboard / North). The French woman showed she has the both the speed and gybing ability to make an impact at the top, after looking highly competitive in Italy. The second stop of the women’s slalom is shaping up to be a tight and engaging affair.
The next event of the PWA Slalom World Tour is just around the corner. Expect tensions to rise as the battle for both the men’s and women’s title’s heats up.
PWA World Tour website
PWA Ulsan Korea World Cup website
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7:57 PM Thu 3 May 2012GMT
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