Event Summary - Westerland beach provided a perfect week of wind and waves to conclude the 2009 World Tour in an epic showdown of freestyle, wave, and slalom, in front of the thousands of spectators lined up on Sylt’s superb Brandenberger Strand.
The Super Grand Slam event took place from the 25th September – 4th October in an array of conditions, allowing the sailors from all three disciplines a chance to wow the crowds on their given day, and battle it out for both event and World title victory.
This year Sylt will surely go down in the history books as the windiest on record, with the wave sailors competing in gusts of over 50kts during their double elimination showdown.
The organizers couldn’t have planned the weather better themselves. Momentum built throughout the week, allowing head judge Duncan Coombs to schedule the wave final for the second weekend in front of the biggest crowds on record.
Racing super star, Antoine Albeau (JP, NeilPryde) had already claimed the overall slalom crown for 2009 having won the previous five events in a row in a variety of conditions, from Korea to Costa Brava, Gran Canaria to Alaçati, and Fuerteventura as well.
This did however leave the remaining podium positions somewhat open, although Finian Maynard (RRD, NeilPryde) was fairly comfortable in second, and would only loose his position if something extreme occurred. The final place on the podium was wide open with many sailors able to step up if they had their day in Sylt. Four full rounds of slalom were completed during the week giving the racers plenty of opportunity to prove their worth.
In the winner’s final of race one, Albeau stamped his authority on the contest and proved his position as the World’s number one. He flew out of the starting blocks, and sped to the finish line without a hint of ever being overtaken. This was domination at its best, and Albeau looked comfortable at the top of his tree.
Behind Albeau there was a real race going on, and this time it was a family affair. Fellow Frenchmen, Benoit Moussilmani (Starboard, Simmer) and his brother Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard, North) fought hard, trading places at various points on the course for 2nd and 3rd respectively.
Patrick Diethelm (North) was also flying round the course during race one and managed to hold off a charge from windsurfing legend Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard, Severne). An excellent achievement for the Italian who has just launched his own board brand.
Maynard failed to qualify for the winners final of race one, but was in extremely good company with the likes of Micah Buzianis (JP, NeilPryde) and Ben Van Der Steen (Exocet, Simmer) also failing to make the grade. Maynard and Buzianis still managed to put on an awesome show for the spectators with a neck a neck race that Maynard eventually won.
The usual suspects dominated their heats during race 2, but the true excitement came during the final when the sailors were pushing extremely hard at the start. Both Josh Angulo (Angulo, MauiSails, Dakine) and Albeau showed the crowds just how competitive they were and both gained a PMS, for being over the line early. This could have been a fatal blow for both sailors had four races not been completed to allow for a discard.
After two recalls the fleet finally got away, and this time Maynard was leading the charge. He fought hard the whole way round the course, but failed to get planing immediately after his last gybe, allowing Buzianis to take the bullet, Cyril Moussilmani 2nd, and Diony Guadagnino (Hot Sails, MFC) 3rd. Maynard had to settle for 10th place - a bitter pill to swallow after leading from almost start to finish.
Top Brit all rounder, Robby Swift (JP, NeilPryde), sailed a great race to finish 4th, his best result of the contest. Also racing hard was another Frenchman, and light wind master, Julien Quentel (RRD, NeilPryde) who finished just behind Swift in 5th.
Dunkerbeck had failed to make the grade for the winner’s final and therefore had to settle with the next best thing, winning the loser’s final. This result just goes to show how tough the slalom fleet is at the moment and also what a great sportsman Dunkerbeck is.
At this point in the contest, Cyril Moussilmani was leading and would have claimed the final spot on the podium. Unfortunately for him, there was still plenty of wind, and the racing continued.
Many sailors raced in the wrong heats for race 3 which caused chaos on the course, and left many failing to qualify for the final.
Experience however shone through as Albeau and Dunkerbeck stole the show during the winner’s final. Dunkerbeck couldn’t quite match the newly crowned World Champion around the course and therefore had to settle for 2nd. Maynard also found his form in race 3, and this time, without losing any wind at the final mark, came home in 3rd.
The World’s highest ranked slalom sailors filled the rest of the spots in this race with Buzianis, Ross Williams (Tabou, Gaastra) and Gonzalo Costa Hoevel (Exocet, MauiSails) all proving that they’re up to speed and able to compete with the best of them. PWA Chairman, Jimmy Diaz (Starboard, North), also qualified for the final of race 3 and posted his best result of the contest.
The wind began to moderate during the heats for race four creating mayhem for those that sailed out to the start line on their smaller gear. Even the most experienced sailors were caught out causing huge upsets as they failed to qualify for the finals. Victims included seasoned veterans such as Angulo, Maynard and Kevin Pritchard (Starboard, Gaastra, Dakine).
The heat carnage cleared the way for many younger sailors, allowing them to seize the moment and qualify for the final. However, none could quite match the masters. Plus, Dunkerbeck had a score to settle with Albeau and no one was going to get in the way of that. Dunkerbeck sailed a flawless race to take his first proper victory of the day, Albeau having to settle for second.
2009 Overall Slalom Ranking
Maynard had done enough to secure his spot next to Albeau on the podium for the year, but the third and final place was hard fought for throughout the contest. Buzianis and Kevin Pritchard (Starboard, Gaastra, Dakine) were in contention at the start of play, but failed to get the results needed to stop Dunkerbeck from overtaking them. Dunkerbeck sailed a fairly solid event, and with his final race victory claimed his place on the podium. Buzianis was unfortunate to finish the year in fourth overall on count back.
Although Jose ‘Gollito’ Estredo had dominated the last two events, he still had some work to do in Sylt to be crowned the 2009 World Champion. With only three events scheduled for the year, there would be no discard and therefore no room for error.
Also going into Sylt with high hopes of a podium finish - and all on equal points - was Kiri Thode (Starboard, Gaastra), Everon ‘Tonky’ Frans (F2, Gaastra), and Marcilio ‘Brawzinho’ Browne (Fanatic, North, MFC). Steven Van Broeckhoven (F2, MauiSails) also had a good chance of claiming an end of year podium position if he could secure a good result.
With the points so close, it was always going to be a tough competition, but factor in the difficult North Sea conditions, and it makes for an emotional roller coaster. One full double elimination round was completed and a second single started. Unfortunately due to the ballistic weekend winds the second round was never finished, and therefore the results would not stand.
After the first few rounds of playing it fairly safe in the typical Sylt style conditions, the World’s best freestylers began to raise the bar creating an amazing spectacle for the crowds gathered on Westerland’s iconic beach.
Arguably the most impressive heats took place during the quarterfinals where both halves of the draw were very tight creating difficult decisions for the judges. Taty Frans (Starboard, MauiSails) sailed an extremely impressive heat to take down the current World Champion Estredo. And his brother Tonky sailed an equally impressive heat to take the scalp of 2007 Freestyle World Champion, Marcilio Browne. On the other side of the draw, Kiri Thode’s technical superiority helped him get ahead of Four Dimension’s director, Andre Paskowski (Fanatic, North).
This could have put a stop to Estredo claiming overall victory for the year, but luckily for him there was still plenty of time to run the double elimination.
The Frans brothers’ success meant that they met in the semi-final. Taty managed to style his way through the heat with a huge shaka diablo and an awesome culo. His brother Tonky put every effort in to match him with a nice backloop and a shaka, but it wasn’t quite enough.
The final of the single elimination was a Bonairean affair between Thode and Taty Frans. Both sailors were busting out the most complex of moves despite the challenging conditions. Thode threw in some of his trademark moves to nudge ahead of Frans and claim single elimination victory.
With plenty of wind, the double elimination took place on the same day as the single. And with a few of the World’s highest ranked sailors not quite achieving the result they’d hoped for in the single, they were out for blood from the start.
Thomas Traversa was the first to start the charge, and took no prisoners until he finally met the 2008 Freestyle World Champion, Estredo. Estredo stopped Traversa dead in his tracks filing an impressive repertoire of tricks in order to begin his own run through the fleet.
Estredo was on a rampage and claimed numerous heat victories by the time he met Tonky Frans in a battle for third place. A fresh faced and super excited Tonky hit the water with a smile on his face, and Estredo never quite managed to wipe it from him! They both landed their full quota of moves, but Tonky stole the show and stopped Estredo from advancing any further.
It was a family affair in the next heat, with the Frans brothers sailing flat out against each other again. Taty showed his brother who was boss though and spun his way into the final against Thode.
The conditions were extremely difficult, yet Frans and Thode managed to pull off the most complex new-school freestyle moves, including burners, e-sliders, and massive shakas. The judges found it hard to make a decision, but finally gave it to Frans. This meant that because Thode had won the single elimination, Frans would have to beat him again to win the event.
So the final was set, a Thode versus Frans showdown for the double elimination crown. At first Frans failed to land the stylish moves he was nailing so easily in the previous heat, but luckily for him Thode had fallen a few times too. In the dying moments, the sailors went into overdrive and were landing three tricks per run, creating another amazing spectacle for those gathered on the beach. It was a close call for the judges to make, but in the end, Taty Frans had done enough to secure the double elimination victory and take the event title.
2009 Overall Men’s Freestyle Ranking
Estredo had a lucky escape. If there hadn’t been time to complete the double elimination, he would have lost the overall title to Thode. Fortunately for him, Sylt delivered the goods. Tonky Frans and Thode had sailed consistently enough to secure their positions on the podium next to Estredo. But Browne had unfortunately lost his battle and therefore has to settle for fourth place for the year.
Josh Angulo (Angulo, MauiSails, Dakine) and Kauli Seadi (JP, NeilPryde, MFC, Mormaii) were both in contention for the overall title going into Sylt, which created a tremendous build up for the final showdown of the year. Angulo was just ahead on points, but Seadi could easily still take it.
As is customary with Sylt, the wave sailors competed in ballistic cross onshore winds, with head high shore break, heavy sections, and a strong current. A full double elimination was held in these tough conditions, creating an awesome show for the thousands of spectators and world media.
The first heats saw some shock exits for some of the World’s best wave sailors. The first of these came in the form of Aussie big wave legend Jason Polakow (JP, NeilPryde) who was taken down by an on form Alex Mussolini (Tabou). It turned out that Polakow was in good company going down to Mussolini though as Mussolini tore his way through the fleet knocking down absolutely everyone that got in his way with no exceptions to end up on top!
The next shock exit came from Dany Bruch (Exocet, Severne, MFC) who failed to get out during his heat allowing Antoine Albeau an easy ride through to the next round. It later transpired that Bruch might not have even stood a chance against Albeau anyway. Albeau took down almost everyone in his path with a powerful display of sailing to finish third after the single elimination.
Other big news in the single elimination came in the form of 2009 Gran Canaria Wave Champion, Philip Köster (Starboard, NeilPryde, Dakine), who failed to progress past his second heat. He went down to experienced rival, Peter Volwater (F2, MauiSails), who seemed to be punishing the less experienced sailors amongst the fleet.
John Skye (RRD, Naish, MFC) was having an awesome event and was totally at home in the North Sea conditions. Being are hardened lake sailor from the UK, we expected nothing less. After seeing off aerial mad man Ricardo Campello (JP, NeilPryde, MFC), Skye came up against 2008 Wave World Champion, Kauli Seadi, and many thought his run of good fortune was over. Skye had other thoughts though. He scored an impressive wave and landed the only frontside aerial of the day back on the face to knock Seadi out and carry on with his stampede to fourth place.
That heat could well have been the end of the title race for Seadi. Luckily for him, he’d get another chance in the double elimination, but he’d have to win every heat and then beat Mussolini twice to be crowned Overall Wave Champion for the year.
The final of the single elimination saw Angulo go up against Mussolini, who was still going at it full throttle. Mussolini was putting his kit and his own neck on the line, attempting gutsy goitas in the teeth of some of the heaviest waves of the day. This style of riding had paid him dividends since the early hours though, and it wasn’t about to stop now. Mussolini had done enough to secure victory in the first part of this Super Grand Slam finale.
As soon as the double started, it was quite clear that there were going to be a few guys charging through, eager to make amends for their previous performance. Seadi being one of them, was obviously firing on all four cylinders as soon as he hit the water. What he hadn’t accounted for though was the sailor of the day, Klaas Voget (Fanatic, NeilPryde, MFC) who was taking the sailing to another level.
Voget stormed into the heat, opening with some of the biggest jumps of the day, right on the beach in front of his home crowd. Seadi fought hard, but the local lad finished him off by landing the only wave 360 of the contest.
This meant that Voget had basically handed Angulo the overall crown for the year, but he hadn’t finished his own run of annihilation just yet. He carried on passing everyone in his wake, including Bruch, Skye, and even the mighty Albeau. Voget actually won 8 heats in a row on Fanatic production boards, right up to the final - even the newly crowned World Champion, Angulo, was no match for him. Alex Mussolini however, was. Voget put up a strong fight after charging through his heats, but the Spaniard was fresh from the wrapper and ready to defend his single elimination victory. Mussolini landed some stylish jumps throughout, and in the last few seconds put the final nail in Voget’s coffin by spinning round an awesome taka.
2009 Overall Men’s Wave Ranking
Angulo had secured his place as the 2009 Overall Wave Champion by finishing in 3rd at Sylt. Seadi had to settle for 2nd overall having only managed a joint 9th in Sylt. The final podium position for 2009 went to Robby Swift (JP, NeilPryde). His consistent results throughout the year, including his 7th place in Sylt had earned the young Brit his first Overall podium finish since sustaining his foot injury a few years ago.
Going into the final event, Daida Ruano Moreno (North) was leading the overall rankings with the first place that she claimed in Gran Canaria. The race for the title was fairly open though, with only two events counting and no discard. This meant there was plenty of pressure still on Daida to perform because her sister Iballa Ruano Moreno (North) could still take the title if she won in Sylt.
The top ranked women all sailed well during their first heats to see off competition from the likes of Laure Treboux (Fanatic, North), Steffi Wahl (F2, Gaastra) and Evi Tsape (Fanatic NeilPryde), but not without a fight. Wahl and Treboux put in excellent performances on the waves, whilst Tsape raised the bar when it came to jumping.
Karin Jaggi (F2, Severne) put in a great performance to beat Nayra Alonso (Fanatic, Severne) in the losers final and claim third place. In the winners final, Daida got plenty of jumps in, but failed to score quite as many high scoring waves as her sister Iballa who got at least six turns on one of her highest scoring waves. This left the crowds wandering who’d taken it, but when the scorecards were counted, Iballa had done enough to secure victory.
This left Iballa and Daida neck a neck for the overall title.
When it came to the final, Daida was well in tune with the conditions having sailed against Alonso to successfully defend her position - Alonso having successfully defended her own position, and then gone on to beat Jaggi and therefore challenge Daida for 2nd.
In the final Daida upped the level and actually sailed a better heat than most of the men did in their early rounds, landing huge tweaked push loops to beat her sister. Therefore a second final would have to take place to decide the event winner.
Second time round, both of the Moreno twins were pushing hard and getting some excellent jumps and riding in. Iballa however pushed the sailing a notch higher and landed a huge push loop followed by a high scoring ride, which just edged her out in front, winning her the heat, and the event.
All of the women sailed extremely well in the tough conditions. Evi Tsape (Fanatic, NeilPryde) stood out in the early rounds with some great forward loops and an excellent riding style, but she was halted in her tracks by an on form Alonso. Alonso was hitting heaps of sections with plenty of power, and going for some frighteningly high push loops. Laure Treboux (Fanatic, North) also looked more comfortable in the port tack conditions and was unlucky not to progress further.
2009 Overall Women’s Wave Ranking
Due to a tiebreak situation between Daida and Iballa for 1st and 2nd, and another tiebreak for 3rd and 4th between Jaggi and Alonso, they all had to have a sail off for their overall positions. Jaggi sailed a great heat and earned her 3rd for the season, whilst Daida took the overall title.
1st Antoine Albeau (JP, NeilPryde)
2nd Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard, Severne)
3rd Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard, North)
4th Micah Buzianis (JP, NeilPryde)
5th Julien Quentel (RRD, NeilPryde)
1st Elton ‘Taty’ Frans (Starboard, MauiSails)
2nd Kiri Thode (Starboard, Gaastra)
3rd Everon ‘Tonky’ Frans (F2, Gaastra)
4th Jose ‘Gollito’ Estredo (Fanatic, North)
5th Nicolas Akgazciyan (Starboard, Gun Sails)
1st Alex Mussolini (Tabou)
2nd Klaas Voget (Fanatic, NeilPryde, MFC)
3rd Josh Angulo (Angulo, MauiSails, Dakine)
4th Antoine Albeau (JP, NeilPryde)
5th John Skye (RRD, Naish, MFC)
1st Iballa Ruano Moreno (North)
2nd Daida Ruano Moreno (North)
3rd Nayra Alonso (Fanatic, Severne)
4th Karin Jaggi (F2, Severne)
5th Evi Tsape (Fanatic, NeilPryde)
2009 PWA Overall Results:
1st Josh Angulo (Angulo, MauiSails, Dakine)
2nd Kauli Seadi (JP, NeilPryde, Mormaii, MFC)
3rd Robby Swift (JP, NeilPryde)
4th Klaas Voget (Fanatic, NeilPryde, MFC)
5th Thomas Traversa (Tabou, Gaastra)
1st Daida Ruano Moreno (North)
2nd Iballa Ruano Moreno (North)
3rd Karin Jaggi (F2, Severne)
4th Nayra Alonso (Fanatic, Severne)
5th Evi Tsape (Fanatic, NeilPryde)
1st Jose ‘Gollito’ Estredo (Fanatic, North)
2nd Kiri Thode (Starboard, Gaastra)
3rd Tonky Frans (F2, Gaastra)
4th Marcilio Browne (Fanatic, North, MFC)
5th Steven Van Broeckhoven (F2, MauiSails)
1st Antoine Albeau (JP, NeilPryde)
2nd Finian Maynard (RRD, NeilPryde)
3rd Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard, Severne)
4th Micah Buzianis (JP, NeilPryde)
5th Ross Williams (Tabou, Gaastra)
2009 PWA World Tour Overall Results – Constructors Championship, Board Brands
2009 PWA World Tour Overall Results – Constructors Championship, Sail Brands