Preview: La Torche PWA Grand Slam

Flagge_deutsch Der Herbst wird heiß – auch auf der PWA Worldtour. Ein echter Blockbuster Grand Slam steht an – nach über 20 Jahren steht „La Torche“ zurück im Worldcup Kalender. Einer der radikalsten Euro-Wavespots, der in den 80er und 90er Jahren mit Robby Naish und Robert Teriitehau für Furore gesorgt hat feiert ein hoffentlich grandioses Comeback. Ein Waveriding der Männer sowie Slalom bei Frauen und Männern steht im Kalender und vom 18. – 26 Oktober läuft der Event. Schon am Samstag sieht die Vorhersage extrem vielversprechend aus. Wer das Trainingsvideo von Victor Fernandez gesehen hat kann bereits ahnen, welche Brecher in die Bucht von „La Point de la Torche“ rollen werden wenn es richtig Wind hat – denn im Clip ist Victor auf dem großen Board und 5,3 unterwegs. Auch für die Slalom Fahrer wird der Event sicher eine besondere Herausforderung.

Die offizielle „Preview PR“ haben wir euch unten veröffentlicht – ab morgen geht es los und mit der guten Vorhersage für den Eröffnungstag möchte Headjudge Duncan Coombs wenig Zeit verlieren und schon um 11:30 Uhr mit Action starten. Natürlich mit Livestream – wir halten euch auf dem Laufenden!

Flag_EnglishThe wait is nearly over. After almost 20 years, the PWA are preparing to return to La Point de la Torche, France, for a blockbuster grand slam. From the 18th to the 26th October the most radical male wave sailors, together with the fastest men and women in the world, will be battling it out for the penultimate time this season as the 2014 PWA World Tour heads towards its climax. There’s all still to play for, with all three titles still up for grabs. Who will be able to hold their nerve? And who will buckle under the pressure?

La Point de la Torche is located in the Bigouden region of Finistère, France and now holds legendary status for watersports enthusiasts – largely due to windsurfing. During the 1980s and 90s La Point de la Torche consistently showed the world class conditions that it is now renowned for as greats such as Robby Naish (Naish) and Robert Teriitehau shot to stardom, during the hugely successful world cup events. La Point de la Torche is found at the southern end of the wild Bay of Audierne, which receives its name due to being exposed to the brunt of Atlantic storms, which consistently hit La Point de la Torche’s shores during the European autumn and winter, bringing with it ferocious wind and waves. For most people, this may sound like a nightmare, but for windsurfers and surfers this is the prime reason to visit.

DK14_wv_Victor_fernandez_table_Forward

Ones to Watch | Men’s | Wave

On current forecasts La Point de la Torche is set to be firing from day one with the promise of 20-30 knot winds and waves of up to 3.8m at 12 seconds being predicted. With this in mind the decision has been made to reserve the opening day solely for waves – with the action commencing from 11:30am.

As the current PWA Wave World Tour leader – Victor Fernandez (Fanatic / North / MFC) – will be hoping to continue his charge to the title. The Spaniard headed to La Torche early to make sure he is fully prepared for whatever the Atlantic may throw at him. Up until now, Fernandez, has looked in irresistible form both in the air and on the wave and has finished in the top three at every event so far – including victory in Pozo. Expect to see Fernandez continue his fine form as he closes in on his first world title since 2010.

Two-time PWA Wave World Champion – Philip Köster (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins) – sits just behind Fernandez for the time being with a victory and two joint fifths, so far in 2014. However, Köster, will be determined to reclaim his world crown and knows that victory here is critical to keep those hopes alive, by closing the gap on Fernandez, who has a substantial lead. The Spaniard is guaranteed to end the event ahead of Köster no matter what, due to the discard coming into play in the fourth event of the year.

Thomas Traversa (Tabou / GA Sails) completes the top three at this stage and is the only man who could potentially topple, Fernandez, from the top of the rankings come the end of the event. The Frenchman has backed up his victory in Denmark with a solid second place in Tenerife and will now be looking to discard his ninth place finish from Pozo. Another victory here for Traversa would guarantee him top spot in the overall rankings with one event to go. Second place could also prove good enough, but only if Fernandez fails to win the event himself. TT comes into his own when the conditions get big and gnarly – proven by the fact that he was crowned the Red Bull Storm Chase Champion – so the current forecast could play into his hands. Expect to see Traversa charging for the lip as he tries to continue his charge for the number one spot.

Reigning world champion – Marcilio ‘Brawzinho’ Browne (Goya Windsurfing / MFC) – will be determined to force his way back into the top three come the end of the nine days ahead, having missed out on the podium at the previous two events. The Brazilian possesses all the armoury in his artillery to do just that and he’ll be calling upon his whole bag of tricks to take down his rivals.

Klaas Voget (Fanatic / Simmer / MFC) will be hoping to continue his fine form this season as he goes in search of his first overall top five finish since 2009, currently fifth. Meanwhile, Britain’s Robby Swift (JP / NeilPryde / Mystic / Maui Ultra Fins), will enter the event full of confidence having earned his maiden podium finish in Denmark.

The discard could see Ricardo Campello (Patrik / Point-7 / MFC) and Jaeger Stone (SSD / Severne) slingshot their way up the rankings, with both sailors currently counting a joint seventeenth place. Campello has shown glimpses of genius this year and will be hoping to reignite his fight for the prestigious podium, with a solid performance here. Stone, meanwhile, will be displaying more of his fluid, radical riding as he attempts to continue his hugely impressive return to the PWA World Tour.

Completing the top ten at this stage are Britain’s John Skye (RRD / RRD / MFC) and Germany’s Leon Jamaer (JP / NeilPryde). Both will be serious threats to anyone in the fleet and you can expect to see them challenging for the top ten and beyond again. As will vice-world champion Alex Mussolini (Tabou / GA Sails), Moritz Mauch (Starboard / Severne / MFC) and many others.

Victor Fernandez warming up

Slalom

Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard / Severne) reassumed control of the title race after the last event in Sylt. The fiery Frenchman has been in unbelievable consistent form so far this year with three, second places and a joint first to his name, and will be doing everything in his power to maintain his lead at the top as he goes in search of a maiden world title. Expect to see more brilliant gybing and daring overtaking manoeuvres as he looks to keep in rivals at arms length.

An untimely, and uncharacteristic mistake, from Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde) in Sylt saw the reigning world champion slip to second place in the overall rankings, but he’ll be back stronger than ever for the penultimate event of 2014. In order to return to the top, Albeau, would need to win the event, whilst requiring, Moussilmani, to finish fifth or worse.

The French are dominating the slalom at the moment and Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / North) completes an all French the top three for now. The twenty-five year old is enjoying his best season to date on tour, so confidence will be sky high as he looks to maintain his fine form. Meanwhile, fellow compatriot Pascal Toselli (Starboard / Point-7), currently sits fifth and will be hoping to put the records straight after a disappointing showing in Sylt.

Arnon Dagan (RRD / NeilPryde) comes into La Torche fresh off the back of his maiden victory on the PWA Slalom World Tour and he will be in buoyant mood. The Israeli excelled in the rough seas of Sylt, which should stand him in good stead for the next nine days ahead, as La Torche could produce more exhilarating and challenging racing conditions.

For the first time this season Matteo Iachino (Fanatic / North) missed out on a place in the top ten in Sylt, but the Italian will no doubt be back to his best in France. The twenty-four year old is one of the most promising young talents on the tour and he’ll be aiming to maintain his place in the overall top ten at a minimum – currently sixth place.

Julien Quentel (RRD / NeilPryde) looks to have re-found the form which saw him finish third overall in 2013. The man from Saint Martin had been slightly off the pace earlier this year, but back-to-back podiums have seen him rise up the rankings into seventh. Quentel will now be hoping he can continue to show phenomenal board speed as he fights his way back through the fleet.

Josh Angulo (Angulo / Gun Sails) is another man who has been in consistent form this season, with four top ten finishes out of five. Expect to see more perfectly timed starts as Angulo aims for the top ten and beyond.

Teammates Ben Van Der Steen (Tabou / GA Sails / Mystic) and Ross Williams (Tabou / GA Sails / Mystic) currently complete the top ten, ninth and tenth respectively, and both will be firmly in the mix come the end of the event. Other names to look out for are the likes of Bonaire’s Taty Frans (Starboard / MauiSails / Mystic / MFC), France’s Cedric Bordes (Tabou / GA Sails) and American Micah Buzianis (JP / Maui Sails) among others. Also, after announcing his retirement from the PWA at the end of the season, could Björn Dunkerbeck (Starboard / Severne / Chris Benz / Dunkerbeck Eyewear) challenge for the top? If racing takes place in high winds, then it’s a definite possibility…

Women’s | Slalom

Reigning world champion – Delphine Cousin (Starboard / Loft Sails) – has made a near perfect start to her title defence with victory in Turkmenistan, followed by second place in Turkey. The twenty-three year old will need to be on her A-game though to keep the ominous figure of – Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / Mystic / Maui Ultra Fins) – at bay. The Aruban gem made an emphatic return to the slalom scene in Alacati with seven bullets out of nine and she’ll be gunning for the top again.

2012 world champion – Valerie Ghibaudo (Tabou / GA Sails) – currently occupies second place and the French lady will be hoping to use her excellent straight line speed to maintain her place in the overall top three.

However, Ghibaudo, will have her work cut out with – Lena Erdil (Patrik / Loft Sails / Mystic / AL360) –  right on her heels. The two girls are currently tied on points, with only Ghibaudo’s better second place keeping her ahead, for now at least. Erdil has looked a constant threat in the opening two events and has been rewarded with two, excellent third places and you can expect to see her displaying more excellent starts combined with fluid gybes as she looks to challenge for top honours again come the end of the event.

Fellow Turk – Fulya Ünlu (Starboard / Severne) – isn’t far behind in fourth and the eighteen year old should be in the mix again.

Meanwhile, fifth place in the women’s is up for grabs with Spain’s Maria Andrés (Fanatic / Gun Sails / Mystic) missing from proceedings. That could well open the door for the likes of Marianne Kaplas (Starboard / Loft Sails) and Japan’s Ayako Suzuki (Tabou / GA Sails / Mystic) and Mio Anayama (Starboard / NeilPryde).

The next nine days are shaping up to be epic with howling winds and powerful waves predicted from the word go. Are you ready for what promises to be one of the biggest events of the year, as the PWA returns to La Point de la Torche for the first in almost 20 years? If you aren’t lucky enough to be able to be there in person, don’t worry, as you’ll be able to follow all of the unbelievable action as it happens via the PWA live stream and live ticker @ www.pwaworldtour.com

Text: windsurfnews.de – Chris Yates – all pics by John Carter / PWA