2014 Awaza PWA World Cup Turkmenistan: Delphine Cousin (middle) takes the victory. Left: Valerie Ghibaudo, right: Lena Erdil
The first ever Awaza PWA World Cup Turkmenistan proved to be a tricky, and sometimes frustrating affair, as light and shifty winds unfortunately interrupted the regular thermal winds which usually frequent Awaza. Juan Antonio Aragon and his race crew made the absolute most of the conditions which presented themselves and gained results for both the men's and women's fleets. Delphine Cousin (Starboard / Loft Sails) was eventually crowned the Queen of Awaza as she claimed her maiden event victory on the PWA World Tour, whilst the top twelve men share equal first.
Women's Delphine Cousin made the perfect start to her title defence as she claimed the overall event crown after an assured display of sailing, which saw her win the opening elimination and come second in race two. Not only is this perfect start to the season, but this event will live long in the mind of Cousin as it also represents her first event victory. Delphine Cousin speaks after claiming the first victory of the season: "Firstly I’d like to thank everyone who helped organise the event. We didn’t have a lot of wind but we still managed to complete two races. I’m surprised to win this first event, but I’m really happy to make such a good start to the year.”
Just behind her is fellow compatriot Valerie Ghibaudo (Tabou / GA Sails / Mystic), who managed to fight back from a sixth place finish in the first race by claiming her first bullet of the season in the second elimination. The 2012 PWA World Champion timed her start to perfection and showed fantastic board speed to climb to second place overall. Ghibaudo was hoping for at least two more races to be completed to allow for a discard, but unfortunately the wind refused to play ball. However, second place still represents a strong start to the season and is in firm contention for the title when the women resume their battle in Turkey in the middle of August.
Lena Erdil (Patrik / Loft Sails /Mystic /AL360) completed the prestigious podium having secured a second and fifth place in the two races completed. The Turk finished seventh overall last year, but is looking to return to the overall podium - having created history in 2012 by becoming the first Turk ever to finish in the top three. Erdil showed again that she is one of the quickest girls on the tour and she will be a major threat in Turkey again.
Completing the top five in Turkmenistan was France's Marion Mortefon (Starboard / Severne) and Spain's Maria Andres (Patrik / Gun Sails / Mystic).
Men's There's a big change at the top of the rankings in the men's fleet after Antoine Albeau's (RRD / NeilPryde) first round exit. The big Frenchman came into the event not only as the reigning PWA World Champion, but also the current tour leader. With no opportunity to erase to his early exit this means that Albeau plummets down the rankings to a lowly 26th place. Amazingly this also means that for the first time since 1998 that Albeau finishes outside the top ten of either a racing or slalom event. Albeau's arch nemesis Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard / Severne / Chris Benz / Dunkerbeck Eyewear) also suffered a first round exit, which astonishingly means that neither Albeau or Dunkerbeck feature in the top ten.
With Albeau losing his position at the top of the rankings, Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard / Severne) assumes the position as the tour leader. The Frenchman successfully navigated his way into the winners’ final to climb to the top, as did fellow countryman Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / North), who rises one place to second in the world.
Matteo Iachino (Fanatic / North) entered the second event of the year in eighth place, but now occupies third overall. The Italian showed great board speed in the light winds to qualify for the winners’ final and he also finishes in joint first, as do Pascal Toselli (Starboard / Point-7), Ludovic Jossin (Patrik / Loft Sails), Ross Williams (Tabou / GA Sails), Jimmy Diaz (Starboard / North), Gonzalo Costa Hoevel (Starboard / Loft Sails), Taty Frans (Starboard / MauiSails / Mystic / MFC), Arnon Dagan (RRD / NeilPryde), Matteo Iachino (Fanatic / North), Alexandre Cousin (Patrik / Loft Sails / Mystic) and Steve Allen (Starboard / Severne).
Earlier in the week Josh Angulo (Angulo / Gun Sails) was forced to retire from the competition early due to a foot injury he sustained whilst competing. If you missed that you can read the interview with Josh here. Although the wind didn’t quite play ball here in Turkmenistan the infrastructure and organisation of the event has been first class. As the week has progressed the sailors have warmed to the magic of Turkmenistan thanks to the unbelievable hospitality of the luxury Yelken Yacht Club and of course the locals, who have done everything in their power to make everyone feel welcome, whilst immersing us in their fantastic culture.
Where’s Next on the PWA World Tour? From the 14th to the 20th July the world’s most radical sailors will be making their debut appearance on the PWA World Tour as the male and female wave sailors head to Pozo Izqueirdo. Prepare yourself for the biggest aerial stunts in the world as they go all out in the first wave event of the year. Make sure you don’t miss any of the unbelievable action by tuning into www.pwaworldtour.com where you’ll be able to follow the action as it happens via the PWA live stream and live ticker. Overall Results of the 2014 Awaza PWA World Cup Turkmenistan - Women’s 1st Delphine Cousin (Starboard / Loft Sails) 2nd Valerie Ghibaudo (Tabou / GA Sails / Mystic) 3rd Lena Erdil (Patrik / Loft Sails / Mystic / AL360) 4th Marion Mortefon (Starboard / Severne) 5th Maria Andres (Patrik / Gun Sails / Mystic) Current PWA World Standings - Men’s 1st Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard / Severne) 2nd Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / North) 3rd Matteo Iachino (Fanatic / North) 4th Ross Williams (Tabou / GA Sails / Mystic) 5th Steve Allen (Starboard / Severne) 6th Taty Frans (Starboard / MauiSails / Mystic / MFC) 7th Ben Van Der Steen (Tabou / GA Sails / Mystic) 7th Pascal Toselli (Starboard / Point-7) 9th Micah Buzianis (JP / MauiSails) 10th Alberto Menegatti (Starboard / Point-7) 10th Arnon Dagan (RRD / Neilpryde)
More information on www.pwaworldtour.com