The final day of the PWA Catalunya World Cup witnessed a mammoth final elimination, which took four hours to complete due to the gusty and shifty winds. After a long and largely frustrating afternoon, Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde), eventually powered to victory in race four and more importantly this clinched the overall event victory for him. The reigning world champion’s first event victory of the year sees him return to the top of the overall rankings too. A grueling day was eventually completed shortly after 7pm to conclude another fantastic event on the beautiful shores of Costa Brava.
Antoine Albeau was able to claim two bullets, as well as a third and a fourth to cement his place as the King of Costa Brava. The reigning world champion became the first man to stop his arch nemesis - Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard / Severne / Dunkerbeck Eyewear / Chris Benz) - from claiming the title for the first time in three years. Albeau demonstrated his perfectly timed starts time and time again, along with a phenomenal top speed to blow the competition out of the water.
Words from the winner:
"I’d like to thank all the organizers - thanks Panxo - because you did a great job again to organize this wonderful event. Thanks also to the owner’s of the campsite as we stay here, and this really is a beautiful, beautiful place to windsurf, and it is perfect for holidays too. I’m also really happy to see new blood on the podium [Julien Quentel and Matteo Iachino], it’s really nice and I think I’m going to have a big battle with Julien this year. And thanks to everyone because today was really hard. Thanks to Juan Aragon and his team, I think they did a really good job re-adjusting the course so quickly and see you next year!
”Bjorn Dunkerbeck managed to recover from a disastrous first round exit in the opening elimination to fight back to fourth place. The most successful windsurfer of all time started his recovery with a seventh and a tenth place, before showing what he is truly made of to take home second place in the final elimination, which allowed him to discard a 44.5 point score, which then saw him fly up through the rankings.
Micah Buzianis (JP / MauiSails) was able to put the disappointment of Korea behind him and firmly get his season back on track with a fifth place finish. The American showed his perfectly timed starts and super consistent gybes to claw his way back towards the top of the pack. He will now be hoping to continue the form he showed here, at the next event in Turkey.
Flying Dutchman - Ben Van Der Steen (Starboard / Gaastra / Mystic / Different) - was able to back up his third place finish in Korea with a solid sixth this week with a gritty display of sailing. Van Der Steen now sits in fourth place overall in the rankings, perfectly poised to make an attack for the top in Turkey. Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard / Severne) is similarly positioned and showing the kind of consistency that is required to finish in the top five and above overall.
Arnon Dagan (RRD / NeilPryde) continues to prove that his change of equipment in the winter is working wonders for him as he now sits inside the top then. The Israeli was able to finish seventh this week, and his result may have been even better - with a bit more luck - if the first attempt to complete the winners’ final hadn’t been cancelled due to a drop in the wind.
Alberto Menegatti (Starboard / Point-7) came into the event as the leader of the tour, but a combination of bad luck and a major error - sailing to the wrong mark in the opening elimination - cost him dearly. The Italian finished eighth overall and still finds himself in third place overall. Menegatti reaffirmed his title winning credentials with another bullet in the third elimination, so it remains to be seen whether his mistake in the first race comes back to haunt him, come the end of the season.
Andrea Cucchi (Patrik / Point-7) achieved his first top ten finish on the PWA in almost a decade with a fantastic display of sailing. The man behind Point-7 made one appearance in a winners’ final along with two losers’ finals to claim his best finish in a very long time.
The remaining winner of a race this week was Finian Maynard (RRD / Avanti) - who stole the show in the second elimination. Maynard lit a trail a blaze as he hunted down Patrick Diethelm (Patrik / Loft Sails) to move into the lead, and once in the lead he was in complete control of the race.
An Injection of New Blood
Whilst one of the stalwarts of the slalom world - Antoine Albeau - claimed his familiar place at the top of the podium, this years top three was dominated by an influx of new - youthful - blood as Julien Quentel and Matteo Iachino (F2 / Challenger Sails / AL360) claimed second and third place respectively, proving that it is possible for the "next generation” of slalom sailors to already strive for the top of the rankings. Quentel - twenty-seven - equaled his second place finish, which he achieved here last year to claim successive podium places in Costa Brava. Meanwhile, Iachino claimed his first ever podium finish to significantly improve his previous best result - 11th in Sylt last year. This may prove to be a pivotal moment of the season as younger sailors truly start to believe that they can crack the years of experience, which is so often associated with slalom in order to be successful.
It’s also important to realize the potential of the likes of Maciek Rutkowski (Patrik / Point-7) - 21 - who also enjoyed his best result in a winners’ final as he finished seventh in the first elimination of the week, whilst Enrico Marotti (Starboard / Point-7) - 22 - was able to claim ninth in the final elimination of the week, to prove that there is plenty of young talent coming through the ranks and starting to blossom, which should hopefully entice more young sailors to consider slalom as a discipline to pursue.
The next stop on the PWA World Tour sees the wave sailors feature for the first time this year. Once again they will be returning to the howling shores of Pozo to perform gravity defying stunts, as well as destroying the lip of the wave. The contest will be taking place between the 9th to the 14th July. Make sure you tune in to www.pwaworldtour.com to follow the action as it happens.
The 2013 PWA Catalunya World Cup Standings:
1st Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde) 2nd Julien Quentel (RRD / NeilPryde) 3rd Matteo Iachino (F2 / Challenger Sails / AL360) 4th Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard / Severne / Dunkerbeck Eyewear / Chris Benz) 5th Micah Buzianis (JP / MauiSails) 6th Ben Van Der Steen (Starboard / Loft Sails / Mystic / Different) 7th Arnon Dagan (RRD / NeilPryde) 8th Alberto Menegatti (Starboard / Point-7) 9th Andrea Cucchi (Patrik / Point-7) 10th Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard / Severne)
Scope The ActionFor information on all the entrants, and to keep up to date with every piece of the action, navigate to www.pwaworldtour.com