Event Preview: Celebrating its third anniversary on the World Tour, South Korea’s Jinha beach prepares for the arrival of the PWA’s men’s and women’s slalom fleets.
Nestled in the south east corner of Korea, Jinha Beach has gained an international reputation for windsurfing over recent years. Having attracted mainstream media attention following its inclusion on the PWA’s World Tour, this once little known windsurfing location is fast becoming something of a Mecca to Korean windsurfers.
Now in its third year on the World Tour, the PWA Ulsan World Cup is undoubtedly one of the most colourful locations the slalom fleet visits over the course of the competition year. Combining a rich and diverse culture with white sands and consistent trade winds, Jinha beach is guaranteed to serve up a unique competition atmosphere for the week long World Cup.
Running from the 16th – 22nd of May, this year’s event has lured all of slalom’s big players to Korea’s shores. Following his victory in last week’s Dwarf8 Surf World Cup in Austria, Britain’s Ross Williams (Tabou / Gaastra) leads the men’s fleet as they prepare for battle in Ulsan.
Hot on his heels is Antoine Albeau (JP / NeilPryde), who’s working towards his fourth overall slalom World Title this year. Barging their way in behind him are new faces to slalom’s highest echelons; Gonzalo Costa Hoevel (Exocet / MauiSails) in third, and Julien Quentel (RRD / NeilPryde) in fourth. They’ll be working to hold onto their positions from the old guard, fronted by Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard / Severne), Finian Maynard (RRD / NeilPryde) and Kevin Pritchard (Starboard / Gaastra / Dakine) in fifth, sixth and seventh respectively.
The Ulsan World Cup will also see the women’s fleet embark on their opening event of the 2009 season. Following a ferocious battle for the top spot in 2008, Karin Jaggi (North Sails) and Valerie Ghibaudo (Tabou / Loft) will no doubt entertain another explosive fight for pole position.
Sarah Hebert (Starboard / Naish Sails) is another face to look out for. A consistent run of form in 2008 saw her secure third overall for the season. This year she’ll be hungry to make inroads to Jaggi and Ghibaudo’s dominance at the top.
With both the men’s and women’s slalom fleets showing more depth and talent than ever before, this year’s PWA Ulsan World Cup looks set to deliver jaw dropping race action from the outset.