The 2004 Leucate - Mondial du Vent PWA Super X World Cup Day 1
Saturday April 10, 2004
Wisps of fine white sand streaked across the beach in Leucate this morning
as the flags strained in the strong, early morning winds. Despite a cold
start it was a clear sign of the excellent conditions and the drama of the
opening rounds of the 2004 PWA Super X World Tour, that were to follow.
The side offshore winds provided a perfect opportunity for beach starts
and Race Director Klaus Michel set a start time for 11.00. As a gift from
above, the sun burnt through the early morning clouds just in time for the
first heats and the scene was set for great day. The first round was
underway at 11.15 with winds by then gusting over 50 knots. Heat 1 saw Nik
Baker (Mistral, North) streak into the lead closely followed by Nicholas
Akgazciyan (AHD, Neil Pryde). Akgazciyan slipped into the lead after Baker
fell on the first spock and held on to first until the finish line.
In general, it was the usual suspects who dominated the early heats.
Julien Taboulet (JP, Neil Pryde) pushed through in first place of heat 2
shortly followed by Remko De Weerd (Fanatic, Gaastra) and Matt Pritchard
(Gaastra). Heat 3 was conquered by Robby Swift (JP, Neil Pryde) and Peter
Volwater (Arrows) and it was Antoine Albeau (AHD, Neil Pryde), the number
1 seed following Fuerteventura 2003, who showed clearly why he is favorite
at the event, to win heat 4.
It was the big guns who continued to hold form in the semis with
Pritchard, Baker, Volwater, Albeau and Swift all advancing to the final
along with Taboulet, Akgazciyan and Pieter Bijl (Fanatic, Neil Pryde).
The losers final was very much a haven for the young pretenders and it was
Benoit Moussilmani (Gaastra) who kept his head to finish first. Douglas
CheoDiaz (Fanatic, North) managed an amazing comeback after a disastrous,
start which left him last at the first mark, to take second, closely
followed by Benoits older brother Cyril Moussilmani (Fanatic) in third.
The winnersfinal was for most sailors simply a battle for third, as
Pritchard and Albeau moved clearly into the lead and into their own
private war. Pritchard came close time and time again, only to see the big
Frenchman move ahead once more with powerful maneuvers and blistering speed.
After a short break for lunch, round 2 began and once again it was
familiar faces that graced the winning slots. Baker, Pritchard, Taboulet
and Akgazciyan all demonstrated a superb command of the language of
windsurfing to move up into the semis. With the course now altered to have
the sailors performing their forward loops on the way in it was a common
sight to see 3 or 4 sailors looping in perfect synchronicity definitely a
hit with the crowds.
After a brief spell of shifting, gusty winds, which caused a few heats to
be abandoned, the course was adjusted and second round finals could be
run. Having narrowly missed out on a slot in the final, Taboulet was
determined to re-establish his reputation in front of his home crowd. With
great speed and superb spocks, he cleared the rest of the pack to finish
clear ahead of fellow Frenchman Mathieu Bonno (JP, Neil Pryde) and
Akgazciyan with Xavier Huart (Mistral, North) finishing the French quartet
On to the winnersside and it was all action in the slightly lighter
conditions, as seasoned veterans fought hard with the Super X virgins.
Baker led to the first mark with the entire pack chomping at his heels.
Positions were traded back and forth as sailors either fell or completed
their moves but the race was between Baker and Albeau for first place.
Eventually Baker held his final spock well enough to stay ahead of Albeau
and win the second round. Diaz, who has already established himself well
at this event, took third with Cyril Moussilmani in a very respectable
fourth. Pritchard and Swift failed to consolidate on their earlier
performances and finished in fifth and sixth respectively.
The dynamic action of Super X has proved a huge hit with the crowds here
in Leucate, who have flocked to the beach in their thousands to see the
whos who of windsurfing strut their stuff.
With similar conditions forecast for tomorrow, it promises to be a