The PWA’s fastest females will be battling round the buoys off the south coast of France from the 4th through to the 8th of September. And, with a €15,000 prize purse up for grabs, and one last chance to improve those all important overall rankings, there’s bound to be some world-class racing from the toughest female fleet on the planet.
Located equidistance between Marseille and Cannes, the town of Hyeres lies on the beautiful Cote d’Azur where the beach of Almanarre meets the Mediterranean Sea. The huge stretch of sand runs for approximately four kilometres, and has a history of hosting top-notch windsurfing events including those of the PWA, who last visited in 2004.
Conditions found at this world famous windsurfing beach can range dramatically during September, with anything from a howling ‘Mistral’ to a gusty ‘vent d’est’ meaning the competitors will have to be ready for all types of slalom action from light 9.0 weather right down to white knuckle ride 5.0 racing.
Former slalom world champion, Karin Jaggi (Patrik, Severne) has sailed consistently enough throughout the year to almost guarantee that she’ll take home the overall world title from Almanarre – all she has to do is turn up and register! Her two event wins at the start of the year put her in a commanding position, and her second in Alacati basically sealed the deal. Having not finished lower than second all season, she’ll certainly be one to watch here in Almanarre, and will surely want to finish the season on a high by claiming victory.
Fighting hard with Jaggi will be the 2009 world champion, Valerie Arrighetti (Tabou, Loft, Mystic). Despite missing the first event of the year in Korea due to personal problems, she’s fought her way back throughout the rest of the season. Currently she’s lying in tenth overall, but as soon as a discard kicks in she’ll shoot up the rankings and potentially onto the podium. A top three result for her this week would see her into second overall for the year. However, after claiming the crown in Turkey, she’ll no doubt be looking to race her way into first with a repeat performance in front of her home crowds here in France.
Also battling hard for an overall podium finish will be 2010 freestyle world champion, Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard, Gaastra), French rising star, Alice Arutkin (Starboard, North), and transatlantic hopeful, Sarah Hebert (Naish, Naish). Going into the final event Offringa has the upper hand, with both Arutkin and Hebert needing to score a second here in Almanarre to equal the freestylers already impressive score sheet.
With two thirds of the fleet being of French origin, there will be a whole host of hot local talent racing alongside the tour regulars that could potentially cause an upset at any moment, so be sure to keep a keen eye on the web or the water at all times!