Windsurfing paradise - Noumea, New Caledonia
New Caledonia played host for the final event of the 2014 PWA World Tour as the Airwaves Noumea Dream Cup PWA took place - seeing the curtain brought down on another brilliant year in spectacular style as Noumea provided four thrilling days of slalom - out of a possible six. Over the course of the event there were highs, lows, brutal crashes and moments of pure brilliance as the title race took twists and turns until Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde) eventually won the race against Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard Severne), whilst Ben Van Der Steen (Tabou / GA Sails / Mystic) finished the year in the perfect fashion as he claimed his maiden event victory on the PWA World Tour with a great display of sailing. Meanwhile, Delphine Cousin (Starboard / Loft Sails) made it two world title in two years after clinching an emphatic victory in Noumea, which saw Cousin win seven out of the fourteen races completed - only finishing outside the top three on one occasion such was her consistency.
Men’s Ben Van Der Steen claimed his maiden victory on the PWA World Tour in Noumea. The flying Dutchman enjoyed an outstanding day on day four, which saw him win two eliminations and come second in the other, sending him to the top of the event rankings. From here Van Der Steen continued to look blisteringly quick as he secured two more third places, before sealing victory with a bullet in the final race of the year. Van Der Steen finished 2014 in the best possible fashion and his maiden victory sees him finish fourth overall for 2014. Ben Van Der Steen on claiming his maiden event victory: "I’m really stoked to win. I didn’t have the best preparation coming into the event with not much wind in Sylt, no wind in La Torche and also at home we didn’t have too much wind either. Also I had a problem with my neck after some training I did - it just got stuck. So I came here injured and then the physio sorted me out quite well, so thanks to them. I’d also like to thank the organisers for making this event happen it’s been a great event with good wind and conditions and I hope to be back next year.”
Ben Van Der Steen celebrates
Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde) made an indifferent start to the Airwaves Noumea Dream Cup as the first day of racing saw him record a bullet in-between eighth and a ninth place finishes. The big Frenchman was fighting for a hat-trick of world titles and eventually his class showed over the following three day of racing as he held off stern competition from Cyril Moussilmani to clam the 2014 PWA Men’s Slalom World Championship, much to the delight of the local crowd. Albeau proved once again why he has an incredible twenty-two world titles to his name and he’s showing no signs of slowing down yet, as he continues to dominate at the top of the sport. Antoine Albeau secures a famous hat-trick of world titles: AA: "It feels good because in a second it can all change and you can just as easily miss out on a world title, so I’m very happy it turned out well for me today. It was also nice to have my parents and my girlfriend on the beach too, together with a lot of guys who wanted me to win - so they were happy to see me do well in the final. Overall I’m pretty happy.”
Jumping for joy - Antoine Albeau
Cyril Moussilmani made a strong start in his bid for a maiden world title, but unfortunately things weren’t to be on this occasion. The title race came down to a grandstand finale - in which Moussilmani required a top four finish or better to have any chance of the winning the title, whilst requiring Antoine Albeau to finish fifth or worse depending on the fiery Frenchman’s result. In the end Moussilmani missed out, but 2014 still represents a great year as he finishes as the vice-world champion, whilst returning to the overall top three for the first time since 2010.
The 2014 PWA Slalom Vice-World Champion - Cyril Moussilmani
Julien Quentel (RRD / NeilPryde) continued his fine form to end the season with a credible fourth place. The man from Saint Maarten combined blistering pace with text-book gybing to qualify for all but two winners’ finals in Noumea. After a slow start to 2014 - Quentel recovered brilliantly to eventually finish the year in sixth place overall.
Julien Quentel on the fly
2014 proved to be Pascal Toselli’s (Starboard / Point-7) best year to date on the PWA Slalom World Tour. The Frenchman achieved his first podium finishes - third place in both Fuerteventura and Turkey - this year and ended the year with a solid fifth place to claim fifth place overall in the world rankings. Toselli showed great consistency over the course of the season and has looked like one of the fastest men on the water time-and-time again.
From above - Pascal Toselli
Another Frenchman - Cedric Bordes (Tabou / GA Sails) - enjoyed a fine finish to 2014 with his best result of the season. Bordes led the event at the end of the first day of racing after recording a bullet together with a third and fourth place. The thirty year old eventually finished sixth in Noumea and twelfth overall.
Cedric Bordes cranks a gybe
Taty Frans (Starboard / MauiSails / Mystic / MFC) may not be the biggest man on the PWA Slalom World Tour, but is certainly one of the most technically gifted, leading to impressive top speed and some of the best gybing in the business. Frans won number of heats in Noumea and threw in several duck gybes - proving just how confident and relaxed the Bonairean was feeling. The thirty year old claimed seventh place in Noumea, which sees Frans finish in the overall top ten for the first time - ninth.
Taty Frans ducks it
Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / North) produced the best form of his life, so far, over the course of 2014 as he finished in the top ten at every event. The Frenchman, who is one of the most talented young sailors on the slalom tour - twenty-five years old - was duly rewarded for his superb performance by earning the final place on the overall prestigious podium for the first time in his career. Mortefon had been in such hot form this year that he discarded his final result of the season - eight in Noumea.
Pierre Mortefon on fire
Another young up and coming sailor - Matteo Iachino (Fanatic / North) - enjoyed a fine end to year as he claimed ninth place in Noumea, which sees him finish eight overall, building on his tenth place finish from last year. The future looks bright for the twenty-four year old Italian.
Flying off the fin - Matteo Iachino
Completing in the top ten in Noumea was Antoine Questel - meaning the French held six out of the top ten positions in New Caledonia as they continued to dominate. The final event of the year proved to be Questel’s best result of the year as he finishes the 2014 world tour in fifteenth place overall.
Antoine Questel cruising
Meanwhile, Björn Dunkerbeck (Starboard / Severne / Chris Benz / Dunkerbeck Eyewear) brought the curtain down on an incredible 30 years on tour - which saw him win an incredible 41 world titles - with a thirteenth place. The most decorated sailor in windsurfing history was presented with a lifetime achievement award - recognising a feat which may never be repeated. Everyone from the PWA wishes Dunkerbeck all the best for the future.
Björn Dunkerbeck's last PWA event
Women’s Delphine Cousin secured consecutive world titles in the best fashion possible as she claimed an emphatic victory in Noumea. The twenty-three year old only required fourth place or better to guarantee herself the world title, but blew the rest of the competition away - claiming seven victories and only finishing outside the top three once. Delphine Cousin speaks after winning the Airwaves Noumea Dream Cup and the 2014 PWA Women’s Slalom World Championship: "I feel very happy after this season. I’m delighted to win the last event here [Noumea] in front of Lena [Erdil] and Sarah [Quita Offringa]. My goal at the start of the year was to be world champion again, so this is just the perfect finish for me.” "The whole week has been very good for me. We’ve had amazing winds - magic conditions really. We had fourteen races for the girls, so I don’t think we could do any better than that.”
Delphine Cousin - Number 1
Lena Erdil (Patrik / Loft Sails / Mystic / AL360) and Valerie Ghibaudo (Tabou / GA Sails) came into the final event of the year level on points - meaning whoever came out on top in Noumea would claim second in the overall world rankings. In the end Erdil won the battle in style as she clinched second place in Noumea thanks to three bullets and fantastic consistency in the other races - to ensure she enjoyed her best season to date as she claimed second place overall - bettering her previous best of third overall in 2012.
Flying - Lena Erdil
Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / Mystic / Maui Ultra Fins) endured a somewhat turbulent run of form in Noumea. The Aruban gem was still able to win four eliminations to finish third and looked set to complete a hat-trick of race victories, but suffered a brutal catapult - which was the catapult of the week - in race seven. Offringa only completed two slalom events this year, but a victory combined with third place here still sees her finish seventh overall.
On board with Sarah-Quita Offringa
María Andrés (Fanatic / Gun Sails / Mystic) produced an unbelievably consistent run of results to claim fourth place - both in Noumea and the overall world rankings - which represents her best perforce on the PWA Slalom World Tour to date.
In control - María Andrés
2012 PWA Slalom World Champion - Valerie Ghibaudo - finished the season with a fifth place - meaning she completes the overall podium come the end of 2014.
Preparing to gybe - Valerie Ghibaudo
The elite of the windsurfing world returned to Noumea, New Caledonia for the first time in twenty years and this piece of paradise - which boasts the largest lagoon in the world - showed both its beauty and the world class windsurfing conditions it is capable of - producing a spectacular finale to the 2014 PWA World Tour. We hope you all enjoyed this year’s events as much as we did and we’ll be back in 2015 with more radical action.
The sunsets for the final time on the 2014 PWA World Tour
Overall Results Airwaves Noumea Dream Cup PWA - Men’s 1st Ben Van Der Steen (Tabou / GA Sails / Mystic) 2nd Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde) 3rd Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard / Severne) 4th Julien Quentel (RRD / NeilPryde) 5th Pascal Toselli (Starboard / Point-7) 6th Cedric Bordes (Tabou / GA Sails) 7th Taty Frans (Starboard / MauiSails / Mystic / MFC) 8th Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / North) 9th Matteo Iachino (Fanatic / North) 10th Antoine Questel (Starboard / Loft Sails) Overall Results Airwaves Noumea Dream Cup PWA - Women’s 1st Delphine Cousin (Starboard / Loft Sails) 2nd Lena Erdil (Patrik / Loft Sails / Mystic / AL360) 3rd Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / Mystic / Maui Ultra Fins) 4th Maria Andres (Fanatic / Gun Sails / Mystic) 5th Valerie Ghibaudo (Tabou / GA Sails) Overall Results 2014 PWA Slalom World Tour - Men’s 1st Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde) 2nd Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard / Severne) 3rd Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / North) 4th Ben Van Der Steen (Tabou / GA Sails / Mystic) 5th Pascal Toselli (Starboard / Point-7) 6th Julien Quentel (RRD / NeilPryde) 7th Arnon Dagan (RRD / NeilPryde) 8th Matteo Iachino (Fanatic / North) 9th Taty Frans (Starboard / MauiSails / Mystic / MFC) 10th Ross Williams (Tabou / GA Sails / Mystic) Overall Results 2014 PWA Slalom World Tour - Women’s 1st Delphine Cousin (Starboard / Loft Sails) 2nd Lena Erdil (Patrik / Loft Sails / Mystic / AL360) 3rd Valerie Ghibaudo (Tabou / GA Sails) 4th Maria Andres (Fanatic / Gun Sails / Mystic) 5th Mio Anayama (Starboard / NeilPryde)
Scope The Action For information on all the entrants, and to keep up to date with every piece of the action, navigate to www.pwaworldtour.com