Event Preview - As the final competition of the 2009 PWA World Tour draws ever closer, the pressure rises amongst the sailors, and Sylt’s iconic Westerland beach gears up for what promises to be a dramatic conclusion to the season.
From September 25th through to October 4th the Worlds best wave sailors, freestylers, and slalom sailors will battle it out for their final end of year rankings, and a share of the €105,000 prize purse at the prestigious German windsurfing location on Brandenburger Strand. Not only will they be earning points, but the wave sailors and freestylers will also be gunning for the most coveted prize of all, the PWA World Championship titles!
Sylt has played host to the World Tour for more than 25 years now, so a win here will mean the rider gets their name inscribed in the history books along side windsurfing legends such as Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard, Severne), Robby Naish (Naish), and Jutta Muller.
For the third year in a row, the slalom-racing superstar Antoine Albeau (JP, NeilPryde) has taken the World Title with an event to spare. Albeau has performed outstandingly throughout the year taking 5 victories back to back from Ulsan to Alacati. However, rest assured he’s still going to make the journey to Sylt and compete none the less to affirm his dominance. The rest of the podium is left relatively open with Finian Maynard (RRD, NeilPryde), Kevin Pritchard (Starboard, Gaastra, Da Kine), Micah Buzianis (JP, NeilPryde), Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard, Severne) and Ross Williams (Tabou, Gaastra) all capable of standing tall next to Antoine in the overall rankings, but also more than capable of taking the event win if everything goes their way. With this in mind, be sure to follow the action live. Even though Albeau has the overall title, it doesn’t mean he’s got the final event in the bag!
The freestyle tour also reaches its conclusion in Sylt, and the main players will all be on the water busting out their best tricks in an effort to claim event victory and the overall title. Last years PWA Freestyle World Champion Jose ‘Gollito’ Estredo (Fanatic, North) has been the most consistent sailor so far this year, claiming event victories at both of the previous stops of the tour in Lanzarote and Fuerteventura. Although he currently leads the rankings, it doesn’t mean that he’s claimed the overall title for a second year running just yet. Hot on his heels – and all on equal points behind Estredo – are, the youngster from Bonaire Kiri Thode (Starboard, Gaastra), fluid freestyler Everon ‘Tonky’ Frans (F2, Gaastra), and 2007 PWA Freestyle World Champion Marcilio ‘Brawzinho’ Browne (Fanatic, North, MFC). This is set to be a showdown not to be missed, expect powerful moves and mind-blowing action.
Leading the charge right now for the women is the Spanish wave sailing legend, and many times World Champion, Daida Ruano Moreno (North) from Gran Canaria. Having won the first event of the tour at her home spot in Pozo, she now has to prove her worth in the unpredictable conditions of the North Sea. She managed to lay to rest any demons that she might have had for Sylt last year by finishing joint first with her twin sister Iballa Ruano Moreno (North). Daida will surely be the one to watch if the conditions turn nuclear. Iballa is currently lying just behind Daida in second place in the overall rankings for the year, and the fearless Karin Jaggi (F2, Severne) is close behind in third with a wealth of competition experience to boot. Also in contention for the event and the overall title is 2007 Sylt Women’s Wave Champion Nayra Alonso (Fanatic, Severne). She has the ability to adapt to all manner of conditions and has the mental advantage that she knows she can be victorious here as she has been in the past. A win for any of these women could see them topping the overall rankings.
With no event discards this year for the men’s wave title, we will see the most consistent competitors rise to the top of the crop. Josh Angulo (Angulo, MauiSails, Da Kine) currently has his head above the rest, but not by much. His victory at his home spot of Cabo Verde, and his joint ninth place in the dizzy jumping heights of Pozo place him well for the season, but he must perform here in Sylt if he wishes to take home the ultimate prize in windsurfing. The points are so close in the men’s wave rankings that literally anything could happen. 2008 PWA Wave World Champion Kauli Seadi (JP, NeilPryde, Mormaii, MFC) will be hoping to do well in order to make it three in a row, and his current position bodes well for it. Other contenders include French feather weight Thomas Traversa (Tabou, Gaastra), former freestyle world champion Ricardo Campello (JP, NeilPryde, MFC), British wave sailing legend Robby Swift (JP, NeilPryde), plus many more – almost any of the current top 15 could take the title if things went their way! Victor Fernandez (Fanatic, North, MFC) took the top spot here in Sylt last year, and if he manages to do the same again, he could also take the overall. When the right conditions arrive here in Sylt, we will be sure to see the true all rounder crowned as 2009 PWA Wave World Champion.
The weather in this part of the North Sea can be anything from absolutely brutal with huge shore break and rough seas to flat calm freestyle heaven, making it an event not to be missed. With so many disciplines competing in the same place, there’s bound to be some sort of action on the water everyday. And remember, no competitors are guaranteed the win – Sylt is a true test of all round abilities.
Expect to see huge crowds arriving at the event site over the next day or so, in 2008 over 190,000 people turned up to watch the action unfold right in front of their very eyes. You too could be a part of it, so if you get the chance, book that flight, ferry, train, or helicopter and feast your eyes on the September spectacular here in Sylt.