Good winds on the last day in PWA Korea see a shake up on the podium, Dan Ellis reports.
Hot off the press here in Korea, Micah Buzianis has topped the list after a solid fight back at the tail end of the event. It’s his first event win for a while and he looked over the moon.
The young French rider Antoine Questel made a horrible mistake, sailing to the wrong mark while leading his semi final handing Micah the opportunity to take the win. But that said, Questel is a name to watch out for as the PWA slalom season continues. He has shown, mistakes aside, that he’s got the speed and composure to top the rankings.
The best news for the UK is, that our very own Ross Williams jumped three spots in the last round and made it to third place on the podium. A great result for Ross who looked sharp all week and laid down a solid foundation to build an assault for the top of the slalom ranking this season.
Ross said: “It’s been a two year hiatus since I’ve been on the PWA slalom podium and it’s good to be back!"
Bjorn had a horrible last couple of rounds getting knocked out after hitting something yesterday and then slicing his foot open today, pushing him down to ninth place. Antoine Albeau also didn’t look his usual self and had to settle for fourth here.
The racing for myself got better and better, and by the last couple of rounds I started to at least feel in the fight. I would defiantly like to race with these guys a little more often, it’s so competitive out there on the course and I miss that. But, I have the Maui Race series to look forward to in a couple of weeks and this has been a great warm up for that. The only difference is then it will be back to racing in shorts in steady 25-35 knot trades!!
Thank you Dan for some great reporting all week. Good luck in Maui and we look forward to the next installment!
Reports from every day can be found by clicking through the numbers below...
Today Dan Ellis reports on a busy day of tricky racing from Korea.
A long day of racing here in Korea and we have a new name at the top of the leader board.
Antoine Questel is having an amazing world cup and is the fastest guy on the water. He said before the last round that he was really happy to be able to be up against Albeau and Dunkerbeck and beat them for speed.
Questel used that confidence to win the last round and cement his first place ranking, ahead of Micah and Benny Van Der Steen.
Today’s conditions were the same as last nights with 10-18knots coming from the north east, producing rough water and very tricky racing.
One big factor today, was the abundance of submerged objects waiting under the surface to catch you out. In my first heat of the third elimination, I had a massive catapult hitting something at full speed and coming to an instant stop, pretty painful and I have the bump on my heat to prove it.
This was also the downfall of Bjorn in the fourth elimination, second round. I was in this heat as well and coming down the first reach I saw a massive splash as he went over the handle bars just below me.
This was a massive blow to his hopes of repeating his winning ways from Italy and pushed him down to fifth place in the rankings.
Just behind him ranked sixth is our very own Ross Williams, who had some decent racing today and got second in the last elimination. He had this to say about it…
“It was really nice to get some good racing done today. I am pretty pleased overall. I know now my gear is working very nice and I feel good. The 7.9 and 8.6 are fitting nicely on the medium board and I am hoping for more racing tomorrow."
Looking forward to tomorrow I think we’re going to have enough time for two more rounds if the wind plays ball.
The wind came through late evening for some racing in Korea, Dan Ellis reports on some shock exits.
Today’s report was going to give you the low down on the PWA sailors views on the recent Olympic disaster, but then at around four o’clock the wind suddenly build and set up for a windy evening of racing that saw us get through one semi final of the second round.
I’m clearly still a little rusty from my year off PWA racing and got rolled at the start of my heat and knocked out. The conditions were really rough with a combination of swell and chop. The wind was also pretty gusty with 12-18 knots, the most common kit choice was around 7.8 and the medium boards, the smaller than normal sail choice for the wind was due to the sea state
There were some big upsets in the second round, the unluckiest of whom was Finian Maynard. After breaking a fin in the first elimination, he broke his inhaul rope with four minutes to go before his start and never even made it across the line.
Speaking with him afterwards, he really felt like he‘d been taking the punches recently and was hoping for a full day of racing tomorrow to put it behind him.
Steve Allen also went out in the second round after hitting a rope, it’s like a mine field out there, with all sorts floating around the course.
Moving into the semi finals we only managed to finish the first one, after three general recalls which saw the departure of Antoine, his prodigy Julien Quentel and the Italian racing machine Alberto Menegatti, who all have to settle for the losers final.
Of the remaining five sailors, it was another Frenchman, Pascal Toselli who got the dreaded fifth place. Ross booked himself a spot in the final alongside Bjorn, Antoine Questel and Ludo Jossin.
The remaining semi final will be a fierce battle to book the last four spots and will kick of what should be a full day of racing tomorrow, if the forecast holds true.
We’ll have to save the Olympic views for another day!
Dan’s previous reports...
Still no wind in Korea on Tuesday, but the forecast is looking better for Thursday and Friday. Dan Ellis takes a day off his reporting duties, but promises us something special for tomorrow!
With no racing to speak of today, Dan gets the full low down on what fins the top guys and girls are using.
Dan is more than happy to find out whatever you would like to know, just ask him using the comments at the bottom of the post. As Connor Bainbridge did regarding fins, so here you go Connor, this one’s for you!
“Not much to report here today, the wind teased all afternoon staying between five and eight knots. Most of the sailors, including myself, took to the water to plane on and off as the gusts come across the bay.
With no racing to report on I sat down with Kurosh Kiani to get his scoop on the fin situation, as a full time PWA racer the last few years he really knows what’s what and who’s using what when.
KK “The world of fins isn’t what it used to be. There is not just one brand making good fins anymore. We are talking more than a handful of brands successfully making fins that are competitive on the racing scene.
Today in the PWA, you will see lots of guys on brands like Z-fins, Vector, Hurricane and Kashy fins in the bigger sizes. But, you will be surprised to see how many guys nowadays show up with fins, they either have made themselves or by some secret agent fin engineer, so the spread is simply too wide to say that there is one dominating brand at the moment.
In the smaller sizes, you will see brands like Vector, Techtonics, Hurricane and Mean Line. I have probably missed out couple brands, but this is what I see mostly on the beach these days."
Also with us is Sean O’Brien, Aus120, who put the popularity like this,
2) CA Fins / Kashy (tie)
4) mix of Techtonic, Mean Lines, Deboichet, Hurricane
Personally, I really like the Mean Line fins developed by Kai Hopf on Maui which are CNC G10, I only have these up to 40cm at the moment as we’re waiting to get a new CNC set up, which will do bigger sizes.
It seems most of the guys like molded fins in the 40 + sizes, and then will use both molded and G10 in 40 and below. This might be because carbon is better in the bigger sizes, or because no one has put a lot of development into big G10 fins in the last couple of years.
Where as, there has been massive development from all the above mentioned companies, with the help of top riders on the carbon/molded fins. I‘m pretty excited to put this theory to the test when I get back to Maui!"
See Dan’s previous report on page two...
A surprise result for many from the first round of competition.
“After the three heats yesterday, the first round was completed here with Bora Kozanoglu wining, ahead of Antoine in a tight race to the finish.
At 2 o’clock the wind stopped doing 360’s and quickly built to 13-20knots. Most of the guys were on their 7.8m sails, and their medium 105-115litre boards, up until the final when the wind backed off and most changed up to approx 8.6m.
I got fifth place in my first heat, so didn’t advance but felt fast on my 7.8 and 107, and am now looking forward to more racing.
Ross was sailing really well again today and was unlucky not to make the final after being taken out by Micah at the gybe in the semi.
Bjorn didn’t make the final either, which was a surprise considering the speed he had in Italy, it looked like he was using too small a board and was struggling around the gybes. He even got a second chance in as his semi, which was cancelled the first time in what looked like a strange decision, but both times didn’t advance.
I think the speed gap has closed up a lot between Bjorn and the others, with a bunch of guys being as fast as him here.
Bora was really happy to win (obviously), he has always been quick in light winds and looked sharp in all his heats today. If he sails the same could definitely win more rounds here.
Tomorrow the wind will hopefully do the same as today, but there is 80% cloud cover forecast for late afternoon so this could mess up the thermal. The wind was so gusty today, that I think in some heats you could have used a 7.0, 7.8, 8.6 and 9.4, and all three boards and been perfectly powered on all of them at some point."
Check page two for Dan’s report from day one...
The first day of racing saw a few heats under way in the fickle winds, plus a some Korean style celebrations.
“The racing kicked off today, as a sea breeze quickly turned on late afternoon and provided the first action here in Korea.
It was boiling hot all day and the wind went through every degree on the compass, before finally setting into the good thermal direction.
I got out on my 9.4, as all the other sailors were running laps or tuning up in pairs, and felt pretty fast, which was a relief as we don’t get too many light wind days in Maui.
I then ran though a few practice start sequences to get back into the rhythm, it’s a really tricky place to start as the wind is super gusty and shifts a lot, which can really mess with your run up and timing.
In the end the wind only lasted long enough to run three heats in which all the usual suspects went through, the luckiest of which, by his own account, was Arnon Dagan, who got a massive header on his run up to the start line and ended up being 20 seconds late. Amazingly, he had the speed to claw back to third and pass through. Ross was in heat four and looked pretty disappointed to have the racing stopped, as he was really flying in these conditions. I’m in heat 8 so will have to wait.
At 5 O’clock, we had “the mayors fun race" a non counting race with 5k price money. It was started by the local mayor as a full fleet beach start. By then the wind had virtually disappeared and by the first mark it was hard to tell which direction it was going. Pieter Bijl won this one over taking Ross and Gonzo in a magic gust on the last reach! I was just happy to make it back to the beach!
Tonight we had the usual razzmatazz of a Korea opening ceremony, with the most cheesy pop stars you can imagine. My favorite of which did a cover of English man in New York by The Police, half in English half in Korean.
Dan’s report from the pre race day is on page two...
Dan Ellis has arrived safe and well in Korea, and bar a few hiccups, is set and ready for the first day of racing. In his first report he brings you the low down on who's pumped and ready for the action, as well as how the pros are setting up.
"After a relatively easy trip across the Pacific, it turned into a pretty late night by the time we’d taken the bus to Jinha beach and then been allocated our various hotels. Ross, Arnon and myself got shoved in the back of town so the 1st order of business today was getting more suitable accommodation in which to launch are assaults on the world. The hotel situation is a little strange over here with a lot of “love motels". It’s hard to get a good room that doesn’t have a rock hard, round bed. But after some friendly persuasion we got it sorted, though our new hotel does have a rather strange statue outside.
It was a beautiful day on the beach to get our kit set up, but with barely a breath of wind.
Late in the afternoon I was tempted out but could only plane in the odd gust, this meant I didn’t get a chance to line up with anyone and test my light wind speed, which would have been nice.
Pete Volwater also got tempted out and is obviously keen to capitalise on his current 4th place world ranking. Pete is one of the hardest working guys on tour and looked pretty serious walking around today! He also has his face on the event poster which is plastered all over town, jumping out in front of a slalom heat, so maybe it’s a sign of a great event ahead for him.
With no sailing to speak of most people took the time to fine tune their pit and get every thing ready.
One of the biggest things I noticed is, there is a much bigger variety of fin brands around. Two seasons ago there was only three fin brands around, now there's a lot more variety at the top, with six or seven brands on the beach.
Alberto Menegatti and Arnon Dagan, who both race for Z fins, must have had 40 fins out that they were going through, adjusting the rake and getting to fit perfectly in the boxes. I’ll keep you posted on what’s what in the fin department as the racing progresses.
The forecast for tomorrow has backed of a little, but there is still the chance of a sea breeze so hopefully we can kick into racing once registration is done in the morning."
Head to page two for Dan's profile and pre event run down.
The PWA is in full swing for 2012, and while the PWA website keeps you up to date with the results and great images, we would like to bring you something different, and exclusive to Boards.
Dan Ellis will be reporting daily, from the Slalom event in Korea providing you not just the results, but the full scoop on how the Brits are doing, the inside info on the equipment that's really performing and any other beach side gossip.
The event runs from the 5th to the 11th May, but the first report from Dan will be right here tomorrow, as the sailors make their final preparations before the first race day.
We caught up with Dan on his way to Korea, to find out how things are shaping up pre event:
Name: Dan Ellis
Nicknames: only for those who remember!
Sail number: K 52
Years windsurfing: 24!
Home town: London
Current residence: Paia, Maui
Sponsors: Myself, North sails, Mean Line Fins, Bluesmiths
On the PWA tour since, and best result:
Did the UK Brighton world Cup in 1998 then on the tour from 2004-2010. Ranked 8th in slalom 2006. Won a race in 2008 oh and I was the 2007 IFCA Slalom World Champion!
How well prepared are you for Korea?
I feel really prepared, I’ve been working with the North race development team the last year and have a lot of hours on the sails so am really looking forward to lining up against the boy’s after a year off the tour.
How do you think you could do?
Well, my aim is the podium!
How are the other Brits going?
I heard on the grape vine that Ross was absolutely flying in Italy, but was unlucky to hit a submerged object in an early round. It looks like it’s just the two of us from the entry list!
Names to watch out for:
The bookies would say Bjorn, but I think Antoine will be out for blood. Also Micah and Finian will have something to prove on their respective new sails after Italy, so it will be as fierce as ever at the top. Hopefully some of the “young" guns like Benny or Gonzo can find a crack in the old guard and continue their rise to the top.
Who could bring a surprise result?
Arnon Dagan or Ross Williams.
How are the conditions looking:
Windguru is showing enough wind to kick straight into racing on Saturday, and I can’t wait to put on a wetsuit for the 1st time in two years and hit the course.
Join us for an update from Dan tomorrow, right here on Boards.
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