SYLT PWA GRAND SLAM REGISTRATION DAY
The stage is set for a classic Grand Slam event.
Saturday September 21, 2002
The 2002 PWA world tour once again returns to the Friesian Island of Sylt
for the wave/race Grand Slam event and Bacardi Party week. The famous
North Sea venue boasts one of the biggest events of the year with by far
the largest infrastructure of hospitality tents, bars and food stalls
stretching for over 1km along the immaculate promenade. Every beach
activity is represented and available to the thousands of visitors who
flock to the town each year. This weeks emphasis for the spectators is
head to the beach, sample the cuisine, especially the superb seafood and
drink the Jever beer. Watch the best windsurfers in the world, then party
till dawn in the infamous Hanger 401, this year courtesy of Bacardi.
It is registration day here in Westerland and this alone is a time
consuming task for the organizers with over 120 racers and a full fleet of
wave sailors .The equipment tent has been extended by 100m2 to cope with
the extra equipment for racing which now holds in excess of $2,000,000
worth of equipment. Competitors for the combined PWA Race and Formula
racing world championships and wave sailors for the 3rd Grand Prix event
of the year mingled together in the equipment tent for the first time
since Maui 2000. The contrast between Formula racing boards and their rigs
and the wave equipment is quite amazing, everything from 50cm wide 55ltr
230 wave boards to the massive 100cm wide Formula boards are being prepared.
Top seeded PWA racers Steve Allen (Fanatic), Micah Buzianis (Mistral/
North), and Poland s (Wojtek Brzozowski (Starboard/ Neil Pryde) are set to
do battle with several multi discipline sailors including no1 wave seed
Kevin Pritchard (Bic/Gaastra) who will be keen to get on to the podium in
racing after his promising 5th position in Poland. The multi-tasking
(wave/ freestyle/racing) pride of France, Antoine Albeau (AHD/Neil Pryde),
will undoubtedly be a force to reckon with also.
No.2 seed Lucy Horwood (AHD/ Gaastra) is hoping to recover from a bout of
sickness in time for first possible start tomorrow to really compete
against Dorota Straszewska (Starboard/ Neil Pryde) in Sylt s changeable
and dramatic conditions.
The women s wave fleet also looks set to be hotly contested between Daida
Ruano Moreno (Mistral/North) and last years winner here, Karin Jaggi
(F2/Arrows) who is fired up to repeat last years performance.
Speedsailing and racing giant Finian Maynard (Gaastra) returns to the
racing scene and is looking forward to the rougher conditions that suit
his powerhouse style, he is always capable of causing some upsets! Another
sailor competing in both disciplines and certain to cause a stir in the
waves is 1996 wave world champion Patrice Belbeoch (Neil Pryde), returning
to PWA wave for the first time since Gran Canaria 2000.
The Wave fleet has been unusually dogged by injuries this year, a good
indication of just how radical the discipline is. Francisco Goya
(Fanatic/Arrows) returns after his pre Pozo foot injury, which prevented
him competing. Most notable absence is current world wave champion Bjorn
Dunkerbeck (Proof/ Neil Pryde) who is still recovering from a nasty
self-inflicted harpoon gun accident whilst spear fishing in Western
Australia. The spear went in to his lower leg and out of the bottom of his
foot! Jason Polokow (JP/ Neil Pryde) remains on the broken list along with
Iballa Ruano Moreno (Mistral/North).
This afternoons opening ceremony was an impressive spectacle with 150
windsurfers from 25 country s parading along Westerland s sea front before
Sylt s larger than ever crowds. With a variable forecast for the next
couple of days all the competitors will be eagerly awaiting the decision
from race director Klaus Michel at tomorrows 10.00am skippers meeting.
Racing or Waves? With freshening breeze and a stormy and foreboding sky
its anybody s guess and as usual he s keeping his lips tightly sealed! The
magnetic lure of the party hanger may still be strong enough to tempt some
of the sailors away from their beauty sleep and into wind sacrifice mode!
With all preparations completed the stage is set for a classic Grand Slam