The first ever all-female PWA event proved to be a resounding success as a week of world-class competition was had by all in the world famous windsurfing town of Almanarre on the Mediterranean coast of France. Without a male in sight a fun vibe rippled its way through the beach, which only turned to one of a more serious nature when the women hit the water.
The most impressive women in the world of windsurfing have often felt overshadowed, and overlooked when it comes to PWA competition. All too often the organisers and media concentrate solely on the men, and the ladies have to settle for second fiddle. Enter former slalom racer and women’s PWA event manager, Marion Raisi who last year set about turning things around. Marion had one simple view: the men get their own exclusive events, so why shouldn’t the women…
Less than 18 months down the line, and one of the most enjoyable events on the female calendar has just come to a close. For full proof, just check out what the newly crowned women’s slalom world champion, Karin Jaggi (Patrik, Severne) had to say: “I’ve had a great time at this all-women’s final this week. It’s been an excellent end to a spectacular year on the women’s slalom tour, and this has been the best event by far!”
With more racing than normal, and the spotlight directed firmly on them, the women performed to an extremely high standard on the water putting on an awesome show for all of those that had gathered to cheer them on. When ashore they also caught the attention of those on the beach with their approachable demeanours, and fun do-it-all attitudes towards all of the extra activities that had been organised.
Returning to the well-known windsurfing spot on the south coast of France after six years was without doubt a huge contributing factor to the success of the event. The women may have spent a few days on standby, but it was all well worth it as the final day threw up some of the most outstanding conditions seen on tour this year. Warm temperatures, blue skies, and 20-27 knots of wind can only really be described as champagne sailing.
The 2009 world champion, Valerie Arrighetti (Tabou, Loft, Mystic) arrived in Almanarre fully in the knowledge that she couldn’t topple Jaggi off the top spot in the overall rankings, but sailed her heart out anyway. With the sort of consistency usually only reserved for Antoine Albeau (JP, NeilPryde) in the men’s fleet, Arrighetti stormed to victory with five consecutive race wins making it tough for anyone to challenge her from that moment on. The next few races weren’t quite as straight forward, but she’d already done more than enough to secure the final event crown with a race to spare.
Arrighetti’s nearest rival, Jaggi suffered on the first day of racing due to sickness. On the final day however, she left her mark on the fleet by winning the last two races in fine style, proving that the world title was in the right hands!
The final spot on the podium went to former French youth racing champion, Alice Arutkin (Starboard, North) who continues to show plenty of promise for the future. When not on the water she was seen studying hard for a History exam, but this didn’t stop her from transforming into a hardcore racer the minute the green flag went up. A first and two seconds were her highlights, and no doubt far more enjoyable than reading up on the past!
Throughout the week a whole host of other women also shared the limelight including the 2010 freestyle world champion, Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard, Gaastra) who claimed third for the year, despite having a mixed bag of results here in Almanarre – not bad for her first full year on the slalom world tour! Transatlantic hopeful, Sarah Hebert (Naish, Naish) who put together a consistent set of results to finish in fourth at the event, and fifth for the year – her second in the final race will surely have her counting down the days until the tour recommences. And, Fanny Aubet (JP, NeilPryde) who showed amazing speed, challenging the world champions in a couple of races, as did Olivia Piana (Exocet, Loft) who finished the season on a high with a second in race six, and third in race seven.
1st Valerie Arrighetti (Tabou, Loft, Mystic)
2nd Karin Jaggi (Patrik, Severne)
3rd Alice Arutkin (Starboard, North)
4th Sarah Hebert (Naish, Naish)
5th Lise Vidal (Exocet, North)
2010 Overall Rankings
After four events Karin Jaggi and Valerie Arrighetti finished the season on equal points forcing the tie break rules to come into effect. With two firsts a piece it came down to which sailor had the highest number of the next best thing. Jaggi had two seconds whereas Arrighetti had only a second and a ‘did not compete’ (Korea), making Jaggi the clear champion of 2010.
1st Karin Jaggi (Patrik, Severne)
2nd Valerie Arrighetti (Tabou, Loft, Mystic)
3rd Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard, Gaastra)
4th Alice Arutkin (Starboard, North)
5th Sarah Hebert (Naish, Naish)
The world tour moves to Klitmoller, Denmark where the wave sailors will be battling with the elements on the brutal North Sea from the 13th through to the 19th September.