PWA Slalom - Korea: MENEGATTI WINS!

Day 6: A magic day for Menegatti and Jaggi as they claim the opening victories of 2013

A promising forecast never quite materialized on the final day of racing at the Ulsan PWA World Cup as hazy skies and cooler air temperatures inhibited the local thermal effect from kicking in. With winds blowing anywhere between 3-23 knots, the competitors had to wait until 5:30pm before the racing began. However, after the completion of Heat 9, a combination of premature starts and fluctuating winds prevented any further heats from being finished. The sailors were released for the final time this week at 6:30pm.



Victory

With the fourth race not being completed, no discards came into play, which means this week will live long in the memory of Alberto Menegatti as he claims his maiden event victory on the PWA World Tour. However, the Italian was made to sweat it out for almost an hour this evening having been disqualified from Heat 11, after being a little too eager to make a good start. This presented the opportunity for Antoine Albeau to swoop in and steal Menegatti’s thunder, but it wasn’t to be as the wind soon deteriorated, leaving a delighted - but relieved - Menegatti to revel in his success. Today is also a big day for his sail sponsors - Point-7 - who will be celebrating in Italy tonight having finished on the podium for the first time in their history.



Menegatti was the fastest sailor in Korea

Alberto Menegatti speaking after his first ever event victory:

“I thought I’d lost the event - even though Antoine (Albeau) would have still had to finish third or better in the winners’ final - so I’m still processing it. I’m super happy, I’d like to thank my fin sponsors - Z Fins - for their help throughout the whole winter as their fins allow me to be fast in both flat water and waves. I’d also like to thank my friend from South Africa, Peter Langley after he helped me a lot when I was there this winter. At the start of the season, if someone would’ve offered me 3rd, 4th or 5th place I’d have happily taken it. To have finished in first is just a dream! I also need to thank both Point-7 and Starboard as the equipment couldn’t work better and I couldn’t have wished for a better start of the season.”

In the women’s fleet, Karin Jaggi reaffirmed her title winning credentials after a magnificent performance over the three eliminations which were completed. The multiple-time World Champion reigned victorious in two of those races, whilst finishing second in the other to stamp her authority over the event. In doing so, the Swiss gem becomes the first woman to prevent Valerie Arrighetti from claiming the Jinha Beach crown since 2010 - when the reigning World Champion missed the event due to a shoulder injury.



Italian domination

Karin Jaggi speaking after winning the first event of the season:

“It’s always good to naturally start the season ahead. The best thing for me is that I feel really comfortable on my equipment, I still made a few mistakes, but I have such good board speed and control in pretty much all conditions. I think it can be quite a good season for me. Now I’ll be traveling to Thailand for a bit for work, before going back to Australia, then heading back to train in Europe - I’ll probably head to Gran Canaria early to get used to the conditions.”

Please note that there will be no racing tomorrow - the sailors will be treated to a city tour of Ulsan by the organizers, which will conclude another fantastic event at South Korea’s famed Jinha Beach. Thank you for tuning into the action this week and we hope you will join us again from June 11th as the men’s slalom fleet head to Costa Brava until 16th June.

Final Results - Men

1. Alberto Menegatti
2.
Antoine Albeau
3. Ben van der Steen
4. Cyril Moussilmani
5.
Julien Quentel
6. Gonzalo Costa Hoevel
7. Antoine Questel
8.
Pierre Mortefon
9. Jimmy Diaz
10. Cédric Bordes

Final Results - Women

1.
Karin Jaggi
2. Delphine Cousin
3. Valérie Arrighetti
4. Ayako Suzuki
5. Mio Anayama




Day 5: A day of teasing winds keep the race crew and sailors on their toes



A day of teasing winds - despite an unfavorable forecast - on the fifth day of the Ulsan PWA World Cup saw the sailors experience a long day on hold, but ultimately the wind never quite materialized enough to allow the competition to resume. However, the glorious sunshine returned allowing the competitors and crowds to relax on the beach. The sailors were eventually released at 4:45pm and they will now prepare themselves to battle it out on the last day of racing tomorrow - which should see an action packed day of fully charged slalom.

Whilst still on hold we had a chat with Argentina’s sole representative Gonzalo Costa Hoevel:



Gonzalo "Bobble" Hoevel

PWA: This winter you traveled to Maui to test different combinations of equipment, why did you eventually decide on Starboard and Loft Sails?

Gonzalo:
“I chose Starboard because I thought they were the easiest and quickest boards out there. I also feel that they are the most consistent to sail across all of the sizes (small/medium/large). I basically felt the same about the sails too because all of the sails perform brilliantly and they have a great wind range. So overall I now feel a lot more confident about going on the water no matter the conditions.”

PWA: Which size of boards and sails have you registered for the season?

Gonzalo:
“For the boards I have the 127 liters, 107 liters and the 87 liters 2013 Starboard iSonics in Carbon. With the sails I have registered 9.6m, 8.6m, 7.8m, 7.0m. 6.3m and 5.6m,”

PWA: Did you go anywhere else for training this winter, aside from Maui?

Gonzalo:
“In November I was in Maui to test all the equipment. Afterwards I traveled back home to Buenos Aires, before heading to Tarifa in early February until the first event here in South Korea. In Tarifa, I was training with Ben van der Steen and Ludovic Jossin. This was actually the earliest that I’ve ever traveled to Europe as I usually spend the winter in Maui. However, with Loft Sails being based in Tarifa, it made more sense for me to be based there, so that I could test and tune all of my equipment. Also Benny and Ludo have been training there for the past couple of years and have had good results - so I thought it must be a good place to train.”

PWA: You’re currently in sixth place, are you happy with how the first event of the season is going?

Gonzalo:
“I’m happy, but I made a couple of mistakes in the first two semifinals. In the first semifinal I crashed with Josh Angulo, when we were both easily qualifying in second and third place. In the semi-final yesterday I was third on the outside jibe and on course to make the winners’ final, but when I was pumping to get back on the plane my front hand slipped off to boom - so that was game over.

“Every heat that I’ve sailed so far I’ve been consistently in the top two or three, so I’m a little disappointed that I wasn’t able to capitalize on the first two eliminations, but In the third elimination winners’ final I finished second, so I’m really happy and I’m currently tied on points with 4th and 5th, but it’s also very close with a couple of guys below me. I feel like last year when I made mistakes I was finishing in 30th, so from my point of view the equipment is better. Also I trained a lot harder - I’ve gained 5kg in the gym and the training in the Tarifa means that I’m a lot more prepared for this season.”

PWA: What’s your overall aim for the season?

Gonzalo:
“I’d love to finish in the top five - I know it is super difficult - but I’d also be very happy with top ten with this being my first year on the new equipment. It takes time to adjust and to learn the perfect settings for competition sailing no matter how good your equipment is.”

PWA: You did really well yesterday in the lighter winds, do you think there’s a particular reason for this?

Gonzalo:
“Not really - all I could say is that I have done a lot of formula windsurfing in the past, so maybe when it’s lighter winds and we’re on the bigger equipment I am more used to the wider boards and larger sails. There are a lot of guys who train in very windy places so they almost never sail their bigger equipment, so maybe they are not so used to it. In yesterday’s second final it was me Arnon Dagan and Alberto Menegatti first to the first mark on both attempts to run it and we are all used to big kit.”

PWA: Favorite slalom conditions?

Gonzalo:
“15-25 knots, when we’re on middle boards and 7.8s. I would say my worst is when the wind gets to 30 knots and above. Having said that, this winter I found myself matching Benny in 40-45 knots in Tarifa.”

PWA: Thanks Gonzalo and good luck in the racing tomorrow.



Gonzalo cruising ahead

Day 4: Jaggi and Menegatti consolidate their leads after a colossal battle on Jinha Beach



The decision to hold an earlier skippers’ meeting on day four of the Ulsan PWA World Cup was duly rewarded as Jinha Beach was transformed into a port tack slalom sailors playground, which allowed an epic - but grueling - eight hours of racing to be completed. The usual thermal winds - which so often grace South Korea’s number one windsurfing beach - were replaced with a frontal cross shore wind from the left. By the end of the day, two eliminations for both the men and women were completed, whilst the first round of the men’s race four was also sailed. Today’s action saw four separate winners’, firstly the two reigning world champions Antoine Albeau and Valerie Arrighetti both claimed their first race victories of the year, before Arnon Dagan claimed his first elimination victory in four years. Unfortunately for Arrighetti, Karin Jaggi soon reasserted her authority over the event with another bullet. The conditions today truly showed exactly why South Korea is one of the most challenging stops on the tour.



Speedy Menegatti

Men's Elimination Two - Winners’ Final

Antoine Albeau immediately bounced back from his misfortune in Elimination One - where he suffered a broken fin - to put himself right back in contention for the event title with his first bullet of the season. Alberto Menegatti made the best start of the fleet and the Italian was able to hold his lead until just before the third mark, at this point Albeau showed his prowess as he pounced to brilliantly maneuver his way past Menegatti. Once the big Frenchman was in the lead there was no way he was going to relinquish his winning position and Albeau held his nerve to claim victory ahead of Menegatti. Meanwhile, Julien Quentel displayed the form he showed last year to finish in an excellent third place, whilst Björn Dunkerbeck and Ben van der Steen had to settle for fourth and fifth respectively.

The opening heat of the day, heat twelve, was a hotly contested affair which saw Albeau, Menegatti, Pascal Toselli and the young Frenchman Alexandre Cousin qualify after a brilliantly sailed heat. However, there was no room for Peter Volwater, Benoit Moussilmani or Sylvain Moussilmani in the semifinals this time around.



Powerful jibe by Gonzalo

Men's Elimination Three - Winners’ Final

At the second time of asking, the second winners’ final of the day was completed and it was Arnon Dagan who stole the limelight with an accomplished display. The Israeli timed his start to perfection as he claimed the lead from the outset. From here Dagan took full advantage of the clean wind in front of him to maintain his lead, whilst Gonzalo Costa Hoevel turned on the after-burners to blitz his way past Menegatti. At this stage the top four was completed by Albeau, but his arch nemesis Björn Dunkerbeck was enduring a torrid time at the back of the pack. As the third mark approached, Dagan and Costa Hoevel had opened up a sizable gap between them and the rest of the fleet, and it wasn’t long before Dagan was celebrating his first elimination victory in quite some time, after excelling in the lighter airs. Meanwhile, Gonzalo Costa Hoevel claimed second, but the race wasn’t over there. Antoine Albeau seized the initiative to climb into third place, after taking advantage of a sloppy jibe from Menegatti, which left the Italian settling for fourth. Björn Dunkerbeck eventually fought his way back to fifth, having held off the challenge of Pierre Mortefon down the final straight by the narrowest of margins. As the duo crossed the finish line there was a mere half a board length in it.

Alberto Menegatti was left ruing his luck that the first attempt to run the winners’ final resulted in a cancellation, as the current event leader held a healthy lead when the heat was abandoned. Elsewhere, Matteo Iachino did brilliantly to qualify from the first round after the Italian suffered a broken mast just minutes before his heat, but he kept his cool magnificently to recover. The drama wasn’t over there either as several big names excited the fourth race at the quarterfinal stage. Last years event winner - Micah Buzianis - failed to advance from heat eleven, whilst Peter Volwater, Steve Allen and many more all took early exits.



Björn and his quiver

Women's Elimination Two - Winners’ Final

Valerie Arrighetti bounced back from her disappointing performance in the opening elimination in the perfect fashion as she claimed her first bullet of the season, but it was Turkey’s Lena Erdil who actually made the best start of the bunch in the winners’ final. However after a promising start things quickly went downhill for Erdil and by the first mark Arrighetti had moved into the lead. Once at the front of the pack the French lady showed her guile and expertise to open up an unattainable lead as she combined brilliant straight line speed with fluid jibes to claim victory. Karin Jaggi followed up her opening victory with a solid second place, whilst Marion Mortefon and Delphine Cousin completed a heavily French dominated top four.

Marion Dusart needed to be escorted from the water after a nasty catapult just after the start line in the losers’ final. Thankfully her injuries weren’t serious and the twenty-two year old was able to resume her competition in race three.



Women's Elimination Three - Winners’ Final

The multiple times World Champion, Karin Jaggi, struck again in race three as she claimed her second victory of the event thus far. However, the Swiss gem didn’t have it all her own way as Fujiko Onishi burst out of the starting blocks. Jaggi though - as always - kept her cool and by the second mark she had built a substantial lead over her closest challenger, Ayako Suzuki. With the top two wrapped up, it was all about the battle for fourth which involved Arrighetti and Cousin. Despite a poor jibe at the final mark Arrighetti was able to secure third, as her compatriot was forced to settle for fourth.

Lena Erdil felt the full force of the newly enforced rule - which means the heat is only canceled if 6 or more sailors are off the plane for 10 seconds or the wind drops below seven knots - as she failed to qualify for the winners’ final. The Turkish maestro made another strong start and was still in great position by the second mark, but from here it all went to pieces as Jaggi, Onishi, Mio Anayama and Sayaka Iwai all bypassed her to compound her misery. The other shock in race three was the fact that Cagla Kubat also failed to advance after dropping her jibe in heat two.

Results after Elimination Three - Men

1. Alberto Menegatti
2.
Antoine Albeau
3. Ben van der Steen
4. Cyril Moussilmani
5.
Julien Quentel
6. Gonzalo Costa Hoevel
7. Antoine Questel
8.
Pierre Mortefon
9. Jimmy Diaz
10. Cédric Bordes

Results after Elimination Three - Women

1.
Karin Jaggi
2. Delphine Cousin
3. Valérie Arrighetti
4. Ayako Suzuki
5. Mio Anayama



Day 2: Menegatti and Jaggi shine in the glistening South Korean sun



Jinha Beach truly delivered the goods on Day 2 of the Ulsan PWA World Cup as winds of between 14-25 knots created a slalom sailors paradise for the entire afternoon. After several hours of adrenaline fueled slalom Alberto Menegatti and Karin Jaggi were the sailors wearing the biggest smiles, as they claimed the opening bullets of the campaign. Meanwhile, there were a whole host of highs and lows as tempers flared during an action packed day.



Alberto across the finish line

Men's Elimination One - Winners’ Final

Alberto Menegatti stole the show today as he led the first winners’ final of the year from start to finish with a truly accomplished display. Over the course of the day, the Italian looked a cut above the rest and he continued his form into the final as he demonstrated his phenomenal straight line speed and perfect jibes. His fellow countryman, Matteo Iachino also made a great start and he pursued Menegatti into the first jibe ahead of Pierre Mortefon and Antoine Questel. Meanwhile, Steve Allen and Sylvain Moussilmani collided at the first mark, somehow Ben Van Der Steen brilliantly avoided the chaos. With Menegatti cruising to victory the real battle was between Iachino and Questel and it was the Frenchman who put the pedal to the metal to maneuver himself into second place. Despite Iachino battling all the way to the finish line, Antoine Questel managed to hold off the twenty-three year old's challenge to claim second place, with Iachino having to settle for third. The top four was eventually completed by another Frenchman in the shape of Pierre Mortefon, leaving the flying Dutchman, Ben Van Der Steen in fifth.

The opening elimination was packed with action as several big names failed to qualify for the winners’ final, namely the reigning world champion Antoine Albeau and his arch nemesis Björn Dunkerbeck. The big Frenchman had been looking in terrific form prior to heat fourteen and he even made the best start of the pack in the semifinal, but disaster soon struck as Albeau suffered a broken fin, moments after crossing the start line, rendering his chances over, for the time being at least. Similarly, Dunkerbeck suffered an equipment malfunction in the shape of a torn sail. Uncharacteristically, the Terminator dropped his opening jibe in the heat ten and with no room to maneuver Peter Volwater had no choice but to sail straight over the top of Dunkerbeck’s equipment, which ended both of their races. The upsets weren’t over there either as the ever consistent Jimmy Diaz, who usually revels in the tough conditions of South Korea also failed to make the semifinal, as did Finian Maynard and perhaps most surprisingly last years champion Micah Buzianis, who was beaten to the final qualifying spot by Alexandre Cousin after an epic battle.



Cyril Moussilmani hanging with the Aussies

The losers’ final saw tempers flare as Cedric Bordes collided with Josh Angulo at the penultimate mark to send Angulo into the drink. At the time Angulo was sat in second place, but he soon found himself at the back of the fleet, after Bordes had taken full advantage of the racing rules - rightly or wrongly - to finish in third place behind Albeau and Cyril Moussilmani.



Men's Elimination Two

With the wind continuing to blow, the opening eleven heats of race two were completed, but the second elimination wasn’t without its drama either. In the opening round Ludovic Jossin looked to be cruising into the quarterfinals, but a glaring error saw the thirty-six year old throw it all away as he crossed the finish line on the wrong side. Waiting in the wings was a very grateful Daisuke Ikoma who unexpectedly found himself qualifying for heat twelve. Heat nine was glittered with stars and Kurosh Kiani and Matteo Iachino clearly felt the pressure to make a good start in order to escape an incredibly tough heat, sadly for them they pushed a little too hard as they were both disqualified for false starts. Eventually Dunkerbeck, Bordes, Patrick Diethelm and Josh Angulo all booked their places in the semifinal, but there was no place for Pieter Bijl - who made the opening winners’ final - which proves just how competitive the slalom fleet currently is. As the evening drew in the wind became increasingly fickle, which resulted in three unsuccessful attempts to complete heat twelve.



Women’s Elimination - Winners’ Final

Japan’s Ayako Suzuki made a flying start in heat sixteen, but she soon felt the force of a rampaging Karin Jaggi, who led into the first mark. Lena Erdil didn’t make the best of starts, but a fantastic opening jibe saw the Turkish lady burst into second place. Valerie Arrighetti was still in contention at this stage, but her challenge for victory was all over by the second mark as the reigning world champion flamed her jibe and ultimately finished in eighth place. Jaggi in the meantime continued to extend her lead as the Swiss gem combined her superior top speed with silky smooth jibes and it wasn’t long before the Swiss gem was taking the checkered flag to claim the first bullet of the season. Delphine Cousin, meanwhile, had slowly been creeping through the fleet and the twenty-one year old made no mistakes around the final jibe to claim a brilliant second place ahead of Erdil and Mio Anayama.



Cagla on her way to a great finish

The main surprise in the semifinal involved Marion Mortefon, after the young French woman narrowly failed to qualify for the winners’ final after a tussle with Anayama.

An eventful second day concluded just before six o’clock after four hours of furious slalom. Tomorrow’s forecast promise the opportunity of further racing, so be sure to tune in from 10am when the skippers’ shall be held - if the conditions are suitable then the racing shall resume with the men’s heat twelve at 10:30am. You’ll be able to watch all the action unfold as it happens by tuning into the PWA TV!



Results after Elimination One - Men

1. Alberto Menegatti
2. Antoine Questel

3. Matteo Iachino
4. Pierre Mortefon
5. Ben van der Steen

Results after Elimination One - Women

1.
Karin Jaggi
2. Delphine Cousin
3. Lena Erdil
4. Mio Anayama
5. Cagla Kubat



Event Preview



Between the 4th to the 10th May the opening slalom event of the year will see the fastest sailors in the world heading to South Korea’s famed Jinha beach, which is situated just half an hours drive from the bustling metropolitan city of Ulsan. Jinha beach has quickly earned itself the reputation of being the top windsurfing destination in the country, due to it’s beautiful white sand beaches and reliable trade winds, which blow consistently between May and June. South Korea often proves to be one of the most challenging stops on the tour, which guarantees an enthralling week of warp speed slalom. Expect tempers to flare as the sailors try to take the highs with the lows.



Last year's pack

Seven days of fully charged slalom as the fastest sailors in the world go head-to-head in the opening slalom event of the year, as they battle it out for those crucial early season world tour points.



Ones to Watch

After a long winter break it’s going to be interesting to see if anyone can break the old rearguard consisting of the reining world champion Antoine Albeau and his arch nemesis Björn Dunkerbeck who have dominated the slalom scene in recent seasons. Dunkerbeck will be looking to exact revenge against his biggest rival, after Albeau snatched the world title from beneath the Terminator’s nose in the final event of 2012.

After completing his winter move to Gaastra it’s going to be interesting to see how Ben van der Steen performs in the first event of the year. The Flying Dutchman is without doubt one the quickest and most talented sailors on the tour, and he’ll be looking to combine his straight line speed with fully planing jibes to claim a place in the top three by the end of the week.

Other sailors who will all be vying for a place in the top ten come the end of the week include the ever consistent Jimmy Diaz (Starboard / North), who tends to revel in the challenging conditions that the Sea of Japan produces. France’s fiery Frenchman, Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard / Severne / Mystic) made a slow start to the season last year, but if he can show the sort of form he produced at the back-end of last year, he’ll certainly be challenging for the top spots. Peter Volwater is one of the most competitive sailors on the tour and he’ll be hoping to replicate the form, which saw him finish eighth last season. Also the trio of Australia’s Steve Allen (Starboard / Severne), Spain’s Ludovic Jossin and Italy’s Alberto Menegatti (Starboard / Point-7) will all be battling it out to force their way into an extremely competitive top ten.



The Terminator waiting for wind

Due to her studying commitments the 2011 PWA Slalom World Champion, Sarah-Quita Offringa will unfortunately be missing from the women’s fleet, which leaves the door wide open for the rest of the women to take full advantage of her absence.

Finally, there will be a whole host of Korean and Asian sailors who have the potential to cause an upset. With their extra inside knowledge about the local conditions, there’s certainly going to be no easy races at this event.

The first installment of the PWA Slalom World Tour is just days away, so all that’s left for you to do is sit back, relax and enjoy seven days of warp speed slalom. The PWA is also proud to announce that you’ll be able to watch the adrenaline-fueled action unfold as it happens via our live stream, which is available on the PWA TV Player.




Text and pictures are courtesy of the PWA World Tour