Albeau and Ghibaudo Crowned Costa Brava Champions

Antoine Albeau and Valerie Ghibaudo are crowned as the 2009 Costa Brava Champions as a tortuous last day saw nerves tested and tension right down to the wire.

Antoine Albeau at the 2009 Catalunya, Costa Brava, Spain.  Copyright: PWA / John CarterThe final day of the 2009 PWA Costa Brava World Cup summarized the frustrating week of waiting. With a solid forecast, all hope was for one last blast of action to cap off the event with some late drama. All the ingredients were in place for a grand finale, but as the wind filled in high-level cloud moved into town, shutting down the breeze, and leaving the likes of Ross Williams teetering on the edge of breakdown.

Williams stared the day, sitting in the nasty position of having everything to lose and nothing to gain. Competition could only mean one thing for the English high flyer: Having already lost his semi final heat the previous day, one more completed heat would have seen him drop from 2nd to 8th. Fortunately for Ross, despite numerous attempts to finish the second round, race director Juan Antonio Aragon eventually was forced to call it a day. “It has been a very stressful 12 hours, but it feels amazing now it is all over. In the morning I thought we would be racing and had dealt with it in my mind, but as the day went on and the chance of no action increased, it was really hard. The last hour of waiting was absolute torture!” Said Williams.

Antoine Albeau at the 2009 Catalunya, Costa Brava, Spain.  Copyright: PWA / John CarterAntoine Albeau looked cool, calm and collected while he waited for the last call. By winning the event, he made it back-to-back victories, staking an early claim on the overall tour trophy. As always he remained as philosophical as ever: “It was hard for everyone. In that sort of racing it is so easy to make mistakes. Looking back, I am really happy to have won that first round,” said Albeau.

Australian race specialist Steve Allen finished off the men’s podium line up with an impressive performance, making a clear statement towards the windsurf industry bosses. Allen was ecstatic with his result, but also disappointed that race 2 didn’t reach a conclusion. “I feel fantastic, but slightly disappointed that they didn’t finish the 2nd race. Without even hitting the water I would have move up to 2nd if they could have finished the other semi final. I was really happy with my speed in the light winds. Let’s see how it goes in the stronger stuff at the Canaries events,” said Allen.

Valerie Ghibaudo took the honours in the women’s fleet, with an inspiring start to her season. Like Antoine, back-to-back victories puts her in a powerful position for the end of year ranking. When asked how she felt, the answer was typical of the French speed queen. “'appy, 'appy, 'appy. It’s my second win and puts me in a very good position for the overall tour. Last year I did really badly in Costa Brava, so it’s nice to come back this year and win," she said.

Valerie Ghibaudo at the 2009 Catalunya, Costa Brava, Spain.  Copyright: PWA/John CarterMarta Hlavaty stood proud at the prize giving, celebrating her premier PWA podium position. She was clearly happy to make the podium. “I am a little bit surprised for sure, but I came to the event much more tuned up and ready this year. My gear and my training were better and I felt really confident on the water,” she said.

The closing ceremony ended with an element of fun when competitors were awarded their own local ‘porons’ of wine. Ross Williams earned himself the “sailor of day” award for coping with the days stress and downing his measure in one swoop. For a full list of results check out www.pwaworldtour.com.

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