New Caledonia returned as a stop on the PWA World Tour for the first time in 20 years in 2014 and delivered a superb week of racing. This year the Slalom Tour were fortunate enough to be able to return and Noumea once again provided a world class week of racing, which saw the pulsating conclusion the 2015 PWA Slalom World Tour — as the men’s title race took several dramatic swings, while the women’s fleet saw a fascinating battle for the places on the prestigious overall podium.
Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / NeilPryde / Mystic / Maui Ultra Fins) entered the final event of the year knowing that an 8th place finish or better would guarantee her a second slalom world title. From the outset this was never in danger and by the end of the event Offringa had only finished outside of the top 3 once, which saw her end the season with an impressive record of 2 victories and 1 2nd place. Offringa’s latest success means that she now holds an incredible 10 world titles — 8 freestyle and 2 slalom — at the age of just 24 years old.
At the start of the week 4 women — Lena Erdil (Patrik / Point-7 / Mystic / AL360), Cagla Kubat (Starboard / Severne), Fulya Ünlü (Starboard / Severne) and Delphine Cousin (Starboard / Gun Sails) — were tied in joint 2nd place with 4,002 points. The question was who would be able to produce the biggest performance under pressure to claim the remaining places on the heralded podium?
In the end Delphine Cousin returned to her very best form as she ended the season with her best performance of the year as the former two-time PWA Slalom World Champion dominated throughout to claim a well deserved victory in Noumea, which secured her position as the 2015 vice-world champion. Cousin was so dominant that she claimed an emphatic 7 bullets from the 10 elimination completed.
Lena Erdil secured the final place on both the event and overall podium with an accomplished display, which also saw her claim the last victory of 2015 with a bullet in Race 10. Erdil has enjoyed another fantastic season and has asserted herself as one of the top female racers in the world having also finished 2nd overall in 2014 and 3rd overall in 2012.
Marion Mortefon (Patrik / Gun Sails) completes the year in 4th place overall after finishing 4th in Noumea, which sees her overtake Fulya Ünlü (Starboard / Severne) and Cagla Kubat (Starboard / Severne), who finish 5th and 6th respectively for 2015 — with Ünlü being crowned the PWA Youth Slalom World Champion for the second year running.
At the start of the event 3 men were left standing in the battle for the 2015 PWA Slalom World Championship — Matteo Iachino (Fanatic / North), Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde / Chris Benz) and Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / North).
However, the opening day saw the title race turned on its head as Iachino and Albeau suffer disastrous days with two early exits in both of the first, two races, while Mortefon came flying out of the blocks to take full advantage of the opportunity presented before him to leapfrog to the top of the overall rankings.
As the week progressed though, Albeau slowly started to climb the rankings and by the penultimate day AA had re-established himself in the top 3, which was enough to send him back to the top of the overall rankings — with Albeau only needing a top 4 finish or better to mathematically guarantee him the title. The final day wasn’t straight forward with the drama continuing as Albeau was disqualified from the semifinals and then losers’ final for premature starts, which led to a nail biting wait for Albeau to see whether he had done enough to secure a 4th consecutive world title.
With Mortefon dominating, and ultimately winning, the event the Frenchman had done everything in his power to stop Albeau, but it wasn’t quite enough. The two sailors finish the season tied on 10,269 points, but Albeau wins the title on count back having beaten Mortefon more times this season than vice versa — recording a better result at 4 out of the 6 events in 2015.
So, Mortefon, may have narrowly missed out on a maiden world title, but 2015 still represents the 26 year olds best year to date and he has firmly established himself as one of the top contenders — with his performance in Noumea further reinstating this. Mortefon qualified for all but 1 of winners’ final and won the final event of the year by a clear margin of 19.3 points.
Things didn’t quite go according to plan for Iachino in the final event of the year, but the Italian can still be hugely proud of his efforts this season. The 25 year old had barely put a foot wrong before Noumea and he is deservedly rewarded with his first finish on the overall podium as he takes home 3rd place behind Albeau and Mortefon.
The last week in Noumea will live long in the memory of Taty Frans (Starboard / GA Sails / Mystic) after the multi-talented Bonairean claimed his first finish on the podium. Throughout the week Frans showed blistering speed and aggressive gybing to earn 2nd place at the Airwave Noumea PWA Dream Cup.
Ross Williams (Tabou / GA Sails / Mystic) equals his best ever overall performance as the Brit completed the 2015 season in 4th place overall. Williams last finished 4th in 2008, so will be delighted with his efforts this season.
Behind Williams are his two teammates — Cedric Bordes (Tabou / GA Sails) and Ben Van der Steen (Tabou / GA Sails), who complete the year in 5th and 6th respectively. Both of whom were able to win one elimination each in Noumea, with Van der Steen claiming the final bullet of the season, which saw in finish 5th in Noumea.
Julien Quentel (RRD / NeilPryde) completes 2015 in 7th place, while Steve Allen (Starboard / Severne) holds onto his 8th place despite being absent from proceedings.
Last year’s vice-world champion — Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard / Severne) — recorded his best performance on the year as the Frenchman earned his first podium finish — 3rd in Noumea — which sees him rise to joint 8th alongside Allen.
Another Frenchman — Antoine Questel (Starboard / GA Sails) — completes the overall top 10 after achieving 9th place in Noumea. Questel finishes just ahead of Argentinian Gonzalo Costa Hoevel (Starboard / Point-7) and Micah Buzianis (JP) — who ended the year with a flourish after recording one bullet before going on to claim 6th in Noumea — his only top 10 finish of the year.
Over the past 6 days Noumea further enhanced itself as a windsurfers paradise with its strong, reliable trade winds and pristine azure blue waters, but its also so much more than that with the its lagoon, which is the largest in the world, boasting a rich and diverse marine Eco-system, which offers world class diving and a plethora of paradise islands. The Airwaves Noumea Dream Cup provided a fitting finale to the PWA World Tour as the sunsets on another fantastic year. Thanks to all the organisers, the hospitality of the locals and congratulations to all the winners. See you again in 2016. Overall Rankings of the 2015 Airwaves Noumea Dream Cup - Women’s 1st Delphine Cousin (Starboard / Gun Sails) 2nd Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / NeilPryde / Mystic / Maui Ultra Fins) 3rd Lena Erdil (Patrik / Point-7 / Mystic / AL360) 4th Marion Mortefon (Patrik / Gun Sails) 5th Fulya Ünlü (Starboard / Severne) Overall Rankings of the 2015 Airwaves Noumea Dream Cup - Men’s 1st Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / North) 2nd Taty Frans (Starboard / GA Sails / Mystic) 3rd Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard / Severne) 4th Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde / Chris Benz) 5th Ben Van der Steen (Tabou / GA Sails) 6th Micah Buzianis (JP) 7th Gonzalo Costa Hoevel (Starboard / Point-7) 8th Cedric Bordes (Tabou / GA Sails) 9th Antoine Questel (Starboard / GA Sails) 10th Matteo Iachino (Fanatic / North) Overall Rankings of the 2015 PWA Slalom World Tour - Women’s 1st Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / NeilPryde / Mystic / Maui Ultra Fins) 2nd Delphine Cousin (Starboard / Gun Sails) 3rd Lena Erdil (Patrik / Point-7 / Mystic / AL360) 4th Marion Mortefon (Patrik / Gun Sails) 5th Fulya Ünlü (Starboard / Severne) Overall Rankings of the 2015 PWA Slalom World Tour - Men’s 1st Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde / Chris Benz) 2nd Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / North) 3rd Matteo Iachino (Fanatic / North) 4th Ross Williams (Tabou / GA Sails / Mystic) 5th Cedric Bordes (Tabou / GA Sails) 6th Ben Van der Steen (Tabou / GA Sails) 7th Julien Quentel (RRD / NeilPryde) 8th Steve Allen (Starboard / Severne) 8th Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard / Severne) 10th Antoine Questel (Starboard / GA Sails)
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