From the 12th to the 17th June, Costa Brava shall once again play host to the stars of the windsurfing world, as the third event of the men's PWA Slalom World Tour takes place. The rankings remain unbelievably tight at the top after the close fought encounter of Korea, ensuring that the PWA Catalunya World Cup will be another mesmerizing event, packed with highs, lows and non-stop drama.
The picturesque town of Sant Pere Pescador is located 150km to the north east of Barcelona. It is encompassed by twelve enchanting kilometres of stunning white sand beaches, and the beautiful blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea. Combine this with the steady thermal winds, which grace the Gulf-de-Roses throughout the summer months and you have the perfect recipe for a slalom sailors paradise. Those idyllic thermal winds can soon be replaced by the roaring Tramontana wind, which ferociously whistles down the Pyrenees mountain range, with enough power to test the mettle of any of the world's best sailors. Which ever conditions prevail, the battle to be crowned the King of Costa Brava is going to be an exciting and intense affair.
Five days of adrenaline fuelled racing, as the elite of the slalom world once again fight it out for a share of the ?40,000 prize purse and those crucial world ranking points.
After the event in Korea, Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde) currently leads the world championship by the narrowest of margins. Despite not winning a single elimination in Korea, Albeau proved that if you are consistent in every elimination, then you can still come out on top. Expect to see the big Frenchman challenging for top honours again as he looks to cement his number one spot.
The emerging star from Korea was Antoine Questel (Starboard / Loft Sails). Not only did he claim his first ever elimination victory but he also had his first event win in his sights. If it hadn't of been for a massive mistake, sailing to the wrong buoy, then he'd almost definitely find himself at the top of the rankings. The Frenchman looked blisteringly fast in a straight line, super smooth in the turns and extremely composed under pressure, for the most part, during Korea, and a hugely impressive week was capped off by him taking second place. The rest of the sailors have now been alerted to his presence, so it will interesting to see if he can replicate the same form he showed at the last event. If he can then he's a real contender for the title and a name to look out for in years to come.
Micah Buzianis (JP / MauiSails) claimed his first event victory in a long time. Buzianis ,just like Albeau, didn't win an elimination during Korea, however the American showed robot like consistency for the entire event, which was the foundation of his success. He also demonstrated time and time again that his starts are perfect and he possesses an almost undroppable gybe, meaning that once he's at the front he's very hard to pass. Confidence will be sky high, so we can be sure to see Buzianis challenging for the top spots in Costa Brava.
Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard / Severne / Mystic / Dunkerbeck Eyewear / Chris Benz) endured a torrid time in Korea, which was topped off by a freak accident that ended his event prematurely. Thankfully for the terminator his fellow competitors failed to put the remaining nails in his coffin and he still finds himself in third place overall, and more importantly very much still in the title race as we head into the third event of the season. Dunkerbeck didn't look his normal indestructible self in Korea, even before his injury, but we expect him to be back on song in Costa Brava, with his untouchable top speed and flawless gybes, as he looks to take control of the title race.
Ben Van Der Steen (Starboard / Loft / Mystic) showed glimpses of the form which saw him finish in third place last season, as he took fifth in Korea. The Dutchman is one of the quickest guys on the tour, so if he is able to put together a few solid eliminations back-to-back, then we could very easily see him gunning for the top in Spain.
With the rankings being so close after the first two events, there are a whole host of other sailors who are in contention for the top. Britain's Ross Williams (Tabou / Gaastra) claimed his first podium finish for a couple of seasons, and he will be heading to Costa Brava full of confidence after his European Formula success. The Brit looks to be truly back on form and he's definitely one to watch over the coming week. Julien Quentel (RRD / NeilPryde) has looked in fine form and we see no reason for that to change. Expect to see him burning and turning as well as anyone on the tour, as he looks to keep pace with the boys at the top. Josh Angulo (Angulo / Point-7) continues to look a threatening force, with perfect starts, outstanding speed and his trademark gybes all standing him in good stead. Angulo will be there or there abouts come the end of the week. Of course Jimmy Diaz (Starboard / North), Gonzalo Costa Hoevel (Fanatic / North) and Peter Volwater (Fanatic / Avanti) are all more than capable of competing for those hallowed podium places as well.
With the event rapidly approaching, all that's left for you to do is sit back, relax and watch as tempers and emotions flare in what is certain to be a pivotal event of the season. Keep up to date with all of the action by following the PWA Live Ticker @ www.pwaworldtour.com.
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