PWA World Cup Turkmenistan - Event Summary

Cyril Moussilmani and Delphine Cousin head to the top of the world rankings

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 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.


Delphine Cousin
made the perfect start to her title defense 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 2. 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 organize 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, who managed to fight back from a 6th 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.

Lena Erdil 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 and Spain's Maria Andres.


There's a big change at the top of the rankings in the men's fleet after Antoine Albeau's 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 10 of either a racing or slalom event. Albeau's arch nemesis Bjorn Dunkerbeck also suffered a first round exit, which astonishingly means that neither Albeau or Dunkerbeck feature in the Top 10.

With Albeau losing his position at the top of the rankings, Cyril Moussilmani 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, who rises one place to second in the world.

Matteo Iachino entered the second event of the year in 8th 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, Ludovic Jossin, Ross Williams, Jimmy Diaz, Gonzalo Costa Hoevel, Taty Frans, Arnon Dagan, Matteo Iachino, Alexandre Cousin and Steve Allen.

Although the wind didn’t quite play ball here in Turkmenistan the infrastructure and organization 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.

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 PWA World Tour where you’ll be able to follow the action as it happens live.

Overall Results of the 2014 Awaza PWA World Cup Turkmenistan - Women’s

1st Delphine Cousin
Valerie Ghibaudo
3rd Lena Erdil
4th Marion Mortefon
Maria Andres

Current PWA World Standings - Men’s

1st Cyril Moussilmani
Pierre Mortefon
3rd Matteo Iachino
4th Ross Williams
5th Steve Allen
6th Taty Frans
Ben van der Steen
7th Pascal Toselli
Micah Buzianis
10th Alberto Menegatti

Day 5: Tension builds ahead of the final day

The waiting game continued on the penultimate day of the Awaza PWA World Cup. After a glassy and windless start, the wind slowly built in the late afternoon and shortly after five o’clock it looked as though we would see the conclusion of the men’s opening elimination. However, after a short period of planing wind, which saw Ross Williams hit the water first, the breeze soon dropped back as it continued to swing from onshore to offshore. Despite remaining on hold until 8 PM, the wind never returned meaning the competition will go down to the wire tomorrow.

With a promising local forecast tomorrow morning predicting winds ranging from 13 to 24 knots, the skippers’ meeting has been called for 5:30 AM to maximize the potential for racing on the final day. This means that the action will commence from 5:40 AM, if conditions allow.

First up tomorrow will be the winners’ final of the men’s opening elimination. After the completion of Race 1, there is a possibility of running the following eliminations as half fleet slalom, which could potentially make for an interesting change, whilst ultimately enabling more rounds to be finished. With a longer course for racing there would be more time and opportunity for sailors to stage comebacks, whilst also making jibing even more challenging and important in order to avoid collisions with other sailors. However, this idea will only be entertained if there is strong wind tomorrow.

Bjorn Dunkerbeck and Antoine Albeau will both be praying that there is sufficient time and wind to be able to complete four eliminations, so that they are able to discard there first round exits, which would currently cause a huge change to the overall rankings. Meanwhile, Pascal Toselli will be hoping for a carbon copy of his start two days ago, but with a different outcome and the end as he goes in search of his first ever elimination victory. However, eleven other sailors - Pierre Mortefon, Ludovic Jossin, Ross Williams, Jimmy Diaz, Cyril Moussilmani, Gonzalo Costa Hoevel, Taty Frans, Arnon Dagan, Matteo Iachino, Alexandre Cousin and Steve Allen - will all be doing everything in their power to also claim victory.

Similarly in the women’s division Valerie Ghibaudo will also be hoping for a further two races to be completed as she looks to discard a sixth place in the opening race. The 2012 PWA World Champion currently sits just behind her fellow compatriot, and reigning PWA World Champion Delphine Cousin, who will be eager to make no mistakes tomorrow. If Cousin is able to do that then the 23 year old will make the perfect start to her title defense, whilst also claiming a memorable first event victory.

Don’t miss any of the action on the final day of the first ever Awaza PWA World Cup by tuning in bright and early tomorrow morning. Here you’ll be able to follow the conclusion of the event via the PWA live stream and live ticker. Who do you think is going to win?!

Day 4: The waiting game continues as the event heads into the final two days of competition

The wind failed to make an appearance on the fourth day of the Awaza PWA World Cup as the searing heat prevented the local thermal effect from kicking in. With sailors on hold for the entirety of the day we caught up with a couple of them to discuss yesterday’s racing.

PWA: Yesterday you were leading the winners’ final… then the wind drops and the race is canceled, how were you feeling when that happened?
“For sure I was disappointed, but at the same time in one way it’s good. It’s good because it shows that I am capable of doing it in the light winds, which aren’t my favorite conditions. Of course on the other hand I am still disappointed because I made a good start, I had good speed and my jibe was okay too. I think at that point I was in control.”

PWA: Were you really on 8.6m² yesterday?
“Yes, I was on my 8.6m².”

PWA: What made you choose to go with 8.6m² when everyone else was on their biggest equipment?
“Just because this year I feel really good with my 8.6m². I also have my 9.3m² which I like, but for me whenever I’m racing I just feel more comfortable on my 8.6m². I’m heavy, but my 8.6m² is powerful and fast.”

PWA: You were leading a winners’ final in Costa Brava and here as well, but both times the victory has eluded you, do you feel like someone is against you?
“In Costa Brava I was leading until my crash with Antoine Albeau, which also happened at the third mark just like here (laughing). I think I have been a little bit unlucky.”

PWA: It looks like your first elimination victory is very close, you must be feeling confident with the way you are sailing?
“Yeah, absolutely I feel good. I’m really, really happy with my equipment, my Starboard’s and Point-7 sails. I can see that it is now possible for me to win races. I haven’t quite managed it yet, but hopefully it is coming.”

PWA: Finally, how did you prepare from Costa Brava to here?
“I just went back home to train. I made a few tuning adjustments to my equipment to finish my preparation and that’s it.”

PWA: Thanks Pascal and good luck for the rest of the event.

The skippers’ meeting for tomorrow has been called for 8:30 AM with the first possible start at 9 AM. Speaking to a few of the locals, they seem to think that tomorrow afternoon should produce some wind, so hopefully we will see the conclusion of the men’s opening elimination at the very least.

Day 3: A short, sharp, late visit from the wind sees Valerie Ghibaudo hit back

The waiting game continued on day three of the Awaza PWA World Cup as the sailors endured another long day on the beach. Just like yesterday, the wind arrived in the early evening allowing the second elimination of the women’s slalom to be completed, in similar tricky conditions to yesterday, whilst the men have been whittled down to the top twenty-four, meaning only the winners’ and losers’ finals are to be sailed. In the end, Valerie Ghibaudo managed to claim her first bullet of the year, before the wind disappeared, bringing an end to proceedings.


In the first semifinal, Pierre Mortefon showed fantastic speed in the light winds to comfortably book his place in the first winners’ final. Also qualifying with the Frenchman is Ludovic Jossin, Ross Williams, Pascal Toselli, Jimmy Diaz and Cyril Moussilmani, who was able to hold off Jordy Vonk to clinch the final qualifying position.

Gonzalo Costa Hoevel was the first man to qualify for the winners’ final from Heat 6 as he claimed victory ahead of Taty Frans, Arnon Dagan, Matteo Iachino, Alexandre Cousin and Steve Allen.

The men's winners' final was started, but the heat had to be canceled due to a lack of wind as Pascal Toselli saw his lead disappear before him. The Frenchman will be hoping for better luck next time around.

Women’s Elimination 2

Valerie Ghibaudo led from start to finish as the 2012 PWA World Champion produced a faultless display in the light winds to claim her first victory of the year and put her right back in contention for the overall event title. Delphine Cousin backed up her opening win with a solid second place today and the reigning PWA World Champion currently sits proudly at the top of the rankings. Behind her fellow compatriot Marion Mortefon clinched third to complete an all French top three, whilst Fulya Unlu edged out Lena Erdil to finish in fourth and fifth place respectively. Unfortunately Mio Anayama and Ayako Suzuki were disqualified from the first attempt to run the final after both Japanese women jumped the gun.

Earlier in the day we were able to catch up with Josh Angulo, who has unfortunately had to withdraw from the remainder of the competition due to the foot injury he sustained yesterday.

PWA: Hey Josh, what happened in your heat yesterday?
“Basically, as almost everybody knows by now the wind has been very light, shifty and gusty... I believe this was the 4th time starting Heat 2. I got to the first buoy in 3rd or 4th I think... Because it was so light we were all doing pretty slow motion jibes and just hugging the mark. I got so close that the nose of my board hit the buoy and unfortunately swung to the upwind side of the mark. I tried to kind of "snap jibe" it back the other way over the buoy, but to no avail at which point I jumped back in the water... In trying to get around this big fat buoy in 5 knots of wind. I kicked the front of my board to try and kick it around the buoy, unfortunately I kicked it back into my other foot and felt the fin hit.... Didn’t seem to hit hard and at the time I was pretty jacked on racing adrenaline so I didn’t know how bad it was…”

PWA: So what happened when you saw the cut to your foot?
“At that point, the heat was canceled due to lack of wind and I popped up to see my buddy Pieter Bijl right there. I asked him to go get some super glue, while I sailed back to the start boat for the restart. I jumped on the boat, super glued my wound shut and went on to sail a heat that I was in great position, but just stopped planing straight away (like I said: light shifty and gusty).

So when I got back to the beach the local doctors came to have an initial look. That wasn't going the way I wanted and it was a bit unnerving. Finally the King of the Beach, Rado, showed up and rescued me and got me to Arkin and their private hotel doctor who took great care of me…"

PWA: What was the extent of the injury in the end?
“The doctor cleaned me up and then I had 6 stitches put in.”

PWA: Is everything okay now?
“The doctor wasn’t too impressed with all the super glue I put in there but after some numbing injections, he got it all scraped out...!”

PWA: Ouch… What’s the score? Can you still compete?
“Initially, I figured I could still compete, but as reality set in, I did understand that it was a pretty deep cut and continuing to push would risk the recovery process. Although we have been so well received and taken care of. The reality is we weren’t having much conditions, so I decided the best thing is to get back to the USA, have my doctors double check it and work towards a speedy recovery for Fuerteventura.”

“I would like to send a great thanks to Polimeks, Arkin and Yulia, Rado and everybody else that made this event happen. I also wish all my windsurf colleagues a good event and until .... Fuerte!”

PWA: Thanks Josh, we wish you a speedy recovery.

The skippers’ meeting for tomorrow has been called for 8 AM with the action commencing from 8:30 AM if conditions allow. Don’t miss any of the action by tuning into PWA World where you’ll be able to follow the racing as it happens via the PWA live stream and live ticker.

Results After Elimination 2 - Slalom

1st Delphine Cousin
Valerie Ghibaudo
3rd Lena Erdil
4th Marion Mortefon
Maria Andres
6th Marianne Kaplas

Day 2: A long and largely frustrating day as first blood goes to Delphine Cousin

The second day of the Awaza PWA World Cup proved to be a long and largely frustrating affair, spanning twelve and a half hours, as light and gusty winds played havoc for much of the day. Early this morning Delphine Cousin made the perfect start to her title defense as she claimed the first victory of the year in the women’s fleet, however only one heat of the men’s was completed before the wind became too light. After an eleven hour long break the wind finally returned - swinging from east to northwest - allowing a further three heats to be completed in winds ranging from 8 to 13 knots.


Although only four men’s heats were completed today, there was plenty of drama as several big names fell in the light and tricky winds. In the first heat Bjorn Dunkerbeck failed to make the start line in the light winds, meaning for the second event in a row he suffered a first round exit in the first elimination. Julien Quentel became the first man to qualify for the semifinals ahead of Pierre Mortefon, Ross Williams, Malte Reuscher, Andrea Rosati and Sean O’Brien - who did well to out pump Sylvain Moussilmani to claim the final qualifying place.

When Heat 2 was finally completed Cyril Moussilmani booked his places in the next round alongside Pascal Toselli, Jordy Vonk, Ludovic Jossin, Benoit Moussilmani and finally Jimmy Diaz. However, there was no place in the next round for Josh Angulo, who suffered a cut heel after colliding with his own fin.

In the penultimate heat of the day, Gonzalo Costa Hoevel came out on top, whilst Micah Buzianis, Steve Allen, Taty Frans, Ben Van Der Steen and Arnon Dagan all successfully navigated their way into the semifinal.

The final heat of the day saw the reigning PWA World Champion and current world tour leader - Antoine Albeau - make a catastrophic mistake as he crossed the line early, along with Gunnar Asmussen, to be disqualified from Heat 4. The big Frenchman will now be praying that at least four eliminations are completed in order for him to discard this result. Upon the restart Antoine Questel managed to finish in first place ahead of Finian Maynard, Alexandre Cousin, Alberto Menegatti, Matteo Iachino and Enes Yilmazer.


With each women’s heat being run as a final this week there is added pressure on the women, knowing that a perfect start is even more crucial. Reigning PWA World Champion - Delphine Cousin - showed no signs of cracking under the pressure as the French woman claimed the first bullet of the season with an assured display of sailing. Behind her Lena Erdil battled her way into second place, ahead of Mio Anayama who eventually finished in third place, ahead of Marion Mortefon, Maria Andres and 2012 PWA World Champion Valerie Ghibaudo, who had to settle for sixth place in Elimination 1.

The skippers’ meeting has once again been called for 6 AM with the action commencing from 6:30 AM, if conditions allow. Don’t miss any of the action by tuning into PWA World Tour where you’ll be able to follow the racing as it happens via the PWA live stream and live ticker.

Results After Women’s Elimination 1 - Slalom

1st Delphine Cousin
Lena Erdil
3rd Mio Anayama
4th Marion Mortefon
Maria Andres

Day 1: A slow start as anticipation builds ahead of tomorrow

The inaugural day of the Awaza PWA World Cup saw the opening ceremony take place at 11 AM as the President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow arrived to mark the official beginning of the event, who was introduced to the PWA Chairman Jimmy Diaz, reigning world champions Antoine Albeau and Delphine Cousin as well as the extremely talented Taty Frans. Unusually today also saw cloudy weather accompanied by rain and thunder and lightning, but thankfully the forecast for the next few days predicts a return to the usual clear and sunny skies.

With light winds prevailing for the whole afternoon the sailors were eventually released at 5:30 PM, before then we caught up with a few sailors. First up, Delphine Cousin!

PWA: What have you been up to during the long winter break?
“Yes, it’s been a very long time since we last raced. During the off-season, I changed sponsors to Starboard and Loft Sails, so I’ve been using the winter months to practice on my new gear so I am 100% comfortable with it. I was obviously disappointed about the cancellation of Korea, but now we are here and I feel like I am ready.”

PWA: When did you arrive in Turkmenistan?
“I arrived on Saturday morning, so a few days before the start of the competition. I’ve been on the water once since I’ve been here and the wind seemed good. I was on my 7.8m² and my biggest board the iSonic 117. Sometimes it was a bit much, 7.0m² would have been better. I’ve brought all my kit with me except my 5.9m² because we don’t know the spot, but we’ll soon see.”

PWA: Feeling confident about the start of your title defense?
‘Yeah, I feel ready! But of course all the other girls will have been training a lot too so we’ll just have to wait and see.”

PWA: Thanks Delphine and good luck for the competition

The skippers’ meeting tomorrow will be held bright and early at 6 AM with the promise of wind right from the word go. This means that the action will commence from 6:30 AM as long as conditions are suitable. You’ll be able to follow all of the great racing as it happens by tuning into the PWA live stream and live ticker.

- Text and pictures are courtesy of John Carter / PWA World Tour -