Season summary of the PWA World Tour 2008
With the 2008 season now done and dusted, and some time taken to reflect on yet another magnificent year of competition, here’s a run down of the trials and tribulations of the epic 2008 PWA World Tour.
Stop 1: Sal, Cabo Verde
Igniting the flame of the 2008 PWA World Tour, the Cape Verde island archipelago made a bold statement for the season’s opening event, firing up the now infamous Punta Preta point break, and delivering truly world-class conditions once again.
The event took place over a ten-day period, and saw the PWA utilize the roving competition format, to complete a full single elimination and the majority of the double elimination.
Fighting through the ranks of the single elimination, Kauli Seadi emerged victorious after staving off the local favorite, Josh Angulo, to place him in waiting at the end of the ensuing double elimination.
Advancing into the double elimination, the contest roamed Sal’s exposed beaches to take in the finest waves on offer, and ultimately hand the first decisive victory of the season to Brazil’s finest, Kauli Seadi, after he avenged his previous years defeat at the hands of Josh Angulo.
Stop 2: Podersdorf, Austria
Providing the first outing for the men’s freestyle fleet, the Podersdorf World Cup is an explosive mix of windsurfing, music and partying, set to the beautiful backdrop of Neusiedler See Lake.
Renowned for testing and variable conditions, Podersdorf stayed true to form in 2008, and challenged both the mental and physical strength of all the competing sailors. The competition also bore witness to the first entire event judged via the innovative ‘best move’ format, which has now been fully adopted by the PWA judging team.
After six days of competition in storms, squalls, and thermal breezes, the event came to an exciting conclusion, as the 2007 Freestyle World Champion, Marcilio ‘Brawzinho’ Browne dueled with Jose ‘Gollito’ Estredo to decide upon the event winner in the last dying minutes of the competition.
The tense spectacle ultimately handed victory to Estredo, after a series of killer blows culminated with a merciless no handed flaka up the beach, leaving Browne silent in response. Champagne showers, huge crowds, and an electric prize giving ceremony provided a fitting farewell to Austria’s picturesque shores, before the tour undertook the 5000-mile journey to Korea’s, Jinha Beach.
Stop 3: Ulsan, Korea
Luring slalom’s biggest hitters to the shores of south east Korea, the PWA Ulsan World Cup is a glamorous collision of rich eastern culture, and windsurfing’s dynamic slalom racing discipline.
2008 marked the PWA’s second year of competition on Ulsan’s idyllic, Jinha Beach. Unfortunately, however, the event would fall victim to the single variable that was impossible to control, the wind.
Six days of nerve wracking stop starting ultimately produced no official result, though the event will long live in the memories of all those lucky enough to take part in this cultural odyssey into the heart of Korea’s beautiful Ulju County. Special thanks are extended to the Ulsan Broadcasting Corporation for their sponsorship and support of this event.
Stop 4: Costa Brava, Spain
Situated at the foot of the breathtaking Pyrenean mountains, The Bay of Roses welcomed slalom’s elite athletes to its shores to celebrate a decade of competition at the event’s title sponsor, La Ballena Alegre 2 campsite, and kick start the second race event of the season. Hitting the history books from the outset, the event boasted the biggest slalom fleet in eight years of PWA competition.
Famed for its thrilling atmosphere, the event attracts fans from all over Europe, who come to rub shoulders with their idols at the weeklong windsurfing extravaganza. Over the duration of the competition, three race eliminations were completed in both the male and female slalom fleets.
Rising up through their respective ranks, Antoine Albeau and Karin Jaggi gritted their teeth to edge past the opposition and take the season’s early lead, in conditions ranging from howling Tramontana trade winds, to light and marginal breezes.
The Costa Brava will be remembered for Albeau’s awe inspiring racing that saw him systematically demolish his rivals, and the rise of one of Slalom’s future stars, Lee Korzitz, who placed an impressive third in her first ever event.
Stop 5: Costa Teguise, Lanzarote
Launching into the inaugural event on the Canaries leg of the World Tour, Costa Teguise always delivers mammoth quantities of hard hitting action, thanks to the super consistent local trade winds, and the little known offshore reef, which sits directly in the centre of the competition area and frequently jacks up mast high sets.
Over the course of the event, both the male and female freestylers hit the water to complete two full double eliminations, a grueling undertaking. With well over 100 heats sailed in battering 25-40 knot winds, the event winners Jose Estredo, and Sarah-Quita Offringa could deservedly revel in their comprehensive victories, before regaining focus for their next Canarian showdown.