The 2008 PWA Colgate World Cup, Sylt – Day Seven
Return of the king: Antoine Albeau executes his first race win with machine like precision in typically volatile Sylt conditions.
As has become expected here in Sylt, the seventh day of competition endured a mixture of conditions served up at random throughout the day.
The morning tested the race crew, who were relentlessly battling with changing wind directions, and a racecourse that needed constant maintenance. When conditions finally settled down and the wind shifts became less extreme, the racers left the beach to embark on race three.
With the majority of the first round completed the previous day, it wasn’t long before round two was in full swing. Arnon Dagan (Fanatic, Gaastra) started proceedings with a bullet, and arguably the best start of the event so far. Further extending his lead around the subsequent three gybes, his perfect heat was tarnished by a fall at the final mark. Fortunately for Dagan, his lead was such that he was able to waterstart away and still win the heat.
The second round two heat saw upset for Taty Frans, (Starboard, North) who false started, resulting in his disqualification. The subsequent rerun was won by Antoine Albeau (Starboard, NeilPryde) who dominated from the second gybe onwards.
There was more upset when Ben Van Der Steen (Exocet, Simmer), Gonzalo Costa Hoevel (Exocet, NeilPryde, MFC) and Josh Angulo (MauiSails, Dakine) all failed to advance from the second round, indicating just how tough conditions were.
Moving into the semi finals, event leader Ross Williams (Tabou, Gaastra) fell victim to the changing Sylt conditions. After jostling amongst the qualifying positions on the first reach, a sudden dive in wind speed saw him drop off the plane on his 7.6m and effectively loose any hope of making the winners final. Armed with bigger sails, the rest of the competitors left Williams in there wake, and ultimately saw Albeau win his second heat on the trot.
Kevin Pritchard (Starboard, Gaastra, MFC, Dakine) upped his game in the second semi final, to take a convincing win ahead of Robby Swift (JP, NeilPryde) and Cyril Moussilmani (Fanatic, North), in second and third respectively.
Taking their places in the winners final, the sailors hit the water to do battle in the strongest wind of the elimination. The heat served as stark reminder of Albeau’s dominance this season, as the Frenchman barged his way into the lead and never looked back, claiming his first race victory of the event. Close behind, but never threatening, Bjorn Dunkerbeck (North) took second place, and Cyril Moussilmani third.
The losers final was won by Williams, who turned it on to cruise to a convincing victory, handing him ninth place in the third race and enough to maintain his event lead, ahead of Dunkerbeck in second, and team France, who occupy positions 3,4,5,6,7 and 8!
Switching disciplines in the building wind, the wave fleet picked up the action to resume competition where it had left off two days previous.
First to fall were Kai Lenny (Naish) and Mat Pearch (Mistral, North), who failed to match their high flying rivals, Ricardo Campello (JP, NeilPryde, MFC) and Philip Koster (Starboard, NeilPryde).
Moving into the second round of heats, the heaving German crowds were treated to an epic aerial dogfight courtesy of Victor Fernandez (Fanatic, Simmer, MFC), who took on Albeau, and Danny Bruch (Gaastra, MFC) who took on Alex Mussolini (RRD, NeilPryde). It was Bruch and Fernandez that stole the show, executing perfect, towering backloops and monumental forward rotations. Bruch even attempted the only double of the day, a ballsy move considering the conditions.
As expected, Jason Polakow (JP, NeilPryde) didn’t fail to disappoint. Slightly mediocre jumping was more than compensated for with mind blowing wave riding that made the onshore conditions look more like a world class wave location. Needless to say, the Aussi ripper advanced through his heat.
Proceedings were put to a premature halt by darkness drawing in, ending another day of multi discipline action on the churning North Sea.
Be sure to tune back into pwaworldtour.com tomorrow, to follow all the action from day eight of the 2008 PWA Colgate World Cup, Sylt, starting bright and early with the wave skippers meetings at 7.30am.