Interview With Top Windsurfer Karin Jaggi
A complete lack of wind has kept the 2010 Women’s Slalom World Tour Final on hold and the girls that compose the world's windsurfing elite are stuck playing cards on the beach.
PWA: Tell us about your history with Almanarre.
KJ: “Well, my time at this beach goes back a lot further than my first ever world cup event, I actually learned to windsurf properly around here. Then it was already a world-renowned location with a history of hosting international events to the superstars of the sport such as Robby Naish, Anders Bringdal, and Bjorn Dunkerbeck.”
PWA: When did you first enter an event here?
PWA: Wow, that’s almost two decades ago! Who was the local hero back then?
KJ: “Oh, it had to be Eric Thieme for sure. He was more famous for indoor events though than anything else.”
PWA: He was the French lunatic that used to wear the leopard print suits whilst racing in Bercy right?
KJ: “Yeah that was him! He actually has a windsurfing center right here on the beach now.”
PWA: Has Almanarre always been about the racing?
KJ: “In competition, yes. We used to do course racing and slalom, but now it’s just slalom.”
PWA: What does Almanarre have to offer?
KJ: “First of all it’s a great spot to windsurf because the conditions vary so much, so you’ll never get bored. It can be light and offshore one day, to strong and cross-shore the next which also makes it a great place to train. It’s really close to Marseille as well, which is a fun city to visit, and the coastline here is beautiful.”
PWA: If someone came to visit during the season what sort of wind can they expect?
KJ: “There are two main winds, the Mistral which - if it is forecast - is almost guaranteed to be strong, and great for sailors who enjoy windsurfing in winds above force 4. The other wind comes from the East which can be strong too, but it’s not as reliable as the Mistral.”
PWA: How would you rate Almanarre as a destination for a holiday?
KJ: “Within Europe it’s definitely one of my favourites because it’s easy to access by car so you can go on a good forecast from almost anywhere. The sailing is world-class, and it’s still not too expensive to stay directly on the beach because there are so many campsites, and small hotels.”
Hopefully the ‘vent de est’ or the Mistral will return soon to the 2010 Women’s Slalom World Tour Final so that the high-octane racing can continue.
Antoine Albeau may have faltered a bit during the PWA Sotavento Fuerteventura Grand Slam, but he is still dominating this year's PWA World Tour and has maintained the overall No.1 ratings position.
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