PWA Slalom Grand Slam: The 47-year-old old champion Antoine Albeau wins again on Fuerteventura against the young competitors.

The PWA Slalom Grand Slam that is held on Fuerteventura as part of the 34th Windsurfing & Kiteboarding World Cup showcased outstanding races at the highest technical level in strong winds. 

The 47-year-old Frenchman Antoine Albeau is a phenomenon. He has won every PWA Slalom World Cup on Fuerteventura for more than one decade with the exception of 2012 and 2013. The 25-time world champion is proceeding cautiously and tactically intelligently in the tough conditions on the Canary Island. He won't let his opponents push him into risk. 

This year again he finished the first races on Fuerteventura with second and third places and it seemed as if the Italian Matteo Iachino, the 29-year-old archrival of the old master, finally won the upper hand. 

But then Albeau increased the pressure with every race and Iachino started to make mistakes. In the sixth race he crashed in a duel with Albeau on the home straight. In the seventh race Albeau timed his flying start so precisely that he was able to take a start-finish victory in lighter winds. The Frenchman took the risk with his risky start exactly there, when his entire competition tried to avoid an early start, which gave him a big advantage.

The last day then demanded even stronger nerves. With Albeau at the top of the standings, Iachino had to risk to win. The Italiner played poker with the sail size, gambled with it and also had to let Pierre Mortefon from France take the lead. 

Albeau once again proved its class to the considerably younger offspring. He remained invincible on Fuerteventura this year and leads the world rankings.

From 30.07. - 03.08.2019 the Windsurf Freestylers will determine their winners. In the women's ranking the world champion title is awarded on Fuerteventura.

PWA Slalom Grand Slam
1. Antoine Albeau (FRA)
2. Pierre Mortefon (FRA)
3. Matteo Iachino (ITA)
4. Julien Quentel (SXM)
5. Cedric Bordes (FRA)

PWA SLalom World Cup
Overall Ranking after three events
(France, Korea, Fuerteventura)
1. Antoine Albeau (FRA)
2. Jordy Vonk (NED)
3. Pierre Mortefon (FRA)
4. Mateus Isaac (BRA)
5. Matteo Iachino (ITA)

27.07.2019 The Big Top 3 Go All Out in the Battle For the Title Which Looks Set to go Down to the Wire After Another Epic Day of Slalom

Day 3 of the 2019 Fuerteventura PWA World Cup proved to be the best day yet with 3 winners’ finals being completed over the course of a fantastic day of racing. During the conclusion of Elimination 4 most sailors were on 7.0s, but with the wind continuing to increase during the afternoon the majority of the fleet were on 6.2s-6.4s for the remainder of the day. Fuerte continued to produce a thorough test of the sailors mettle today with the underlying swell and narrowly spaced chop claiming plenty of victims along the way, as well as producing the kind of close-quarters racing that you can’t take your eyes off. And even when there were heats that were seemingly as good as over, the last buoy provided more than its fair share of surprises thanks to the treacherous water conditions.

 Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / Duotone / Chopper Fins) leapfrogs both Matteo Iachino (Starboard / Severne / Shamal Sunglasses) and Antoine Albeau (JP / NeilPryde) into the current No.1 spot after enjoying a superb day, which saw the Frenchman record back-to-back bullets and a third place from the 3 eliminations completed today. Mortefon claimed a clearcut bullet in the opening elimination of the day and then produced a moment of magic at the second gybe of Elimination 5 to dive inside Iachino, before completing a feat which not many sailors manage - especially in Fuerteventura - by overtaking Albeau on the exit to claim a superb victory, which took Mortefon to the top of the event rankings.
However, after Albeau secured his first, and the final bullet of the day, in what some are dubbing one of the greatest racing finals in history there is just 0.3 of a point separating Albeau and Mortefon, while Iachino is now 5 points off the lead, but the Italian stands to reduce that deficit upon completion of the Elimination 7 with the second discard coming into play. The big top 3 have pulled well clear of the rest of the fleet and the next two days of racing should see a thrilling 3-horse race for the event title unfold!
The big top 3 look set for a thrilling showdown 
 The final of Elimination 6 saw two of the titans of Slalom - Iachino and Albeau - go head-to-head in an absolutely epic encounter with either sailor refusing to give an inch in a colossal tussle. You can read their recounts of the final below:
Antoine Albeau: “I'd have to say that that maybe the best final I did in my life but it was a big big fight with Matteo [Iachino]. I was a little bit faster on the first reach so I took the lead but I don't know he had some better gybes, so he was coming back at me. I think I was trying to protect the first place too much you know, trying to put him in my wake and stuff instead of just going for it. And then at the last gybe again he had the better swell than me and I think he was even leading at one point but I knew that I'm going faster on that reach so I came back and then I think he had a little spin out or something and he went straight into my back and then he fell that was it, but it was just amazing you know!
I was totally focused on Matteo and at the end when I cross the finish line I was looking back at all the pack and they were so far behind it was like crazy you know - it's like we push so, so, so much that we were just flying at the front. The conditions were super hard because there’s a little swell plus the chop is super narrow between the two peaks of the wave. And it’s just very radical. We are all with 6.2-6.4m, so it's enough power just to fly easily over 30 knots and then you can you can have a problem, you know?
We will see at the end who wins. All three of us are there fighting for the first place. And yeah, the one who's gonna make a mistake is gonna have problems! It’s exciting it’s been a long time since 3 people were fighting for the event title.Super happy to finally get a 0.7.”
Matteo Iachino: “I nailed the start and then we came together at the first gybe and I knew on both of the way outs I had a chance to get a better line and at the last gybe I actually got a better line finally because I pushed him down, while I could go wider and dive inside. Then we were on the same swell, but I was above him so I thought ah okay now I can go down and kill him off you know. But then a gust hit is and that delayed me from doing that. Then we were side-by-side fighting and I just decided to go all in, so I just sheeted in and went full power. As soon as we were level, and I wasn’t in front anymore, he pointed me up a bit more and the nose got loaded from the sail because I pointed too, but I couldn’t hold it anymore and I catapulted.
It never crossed my mind to settle for second. I wanted to win. I love these conditions. It’s fun to race in it. I wait for the whole season to race in these conditions, so **** that! It was fun out there and there’s still a long way to go I think.”
While there is still very little separating the big top 3 there is undoubtedly a bit more pressure on Iachino now as Mortefon and Albeau are yet to finish outside the top 3. Iachino’s only blemish on his scorecard is a 9th from Elimination 5 after the Italian was eliminated in the semifinals after missing his boom on a rig flip after the opening gybe when leading the heat. The 29-year-old ended up finishing 6th in Elimination 6 but should be commended for his go for it attitude when many would have simply settled for second place.
Elsewhere, Julien Quentel (Patrik / Gun Sails) jumps two places into 4th after recording 3 top 10 finishes today - a second, a 9th and a 10th.
Cedric Bordes (Tabou / GA Sails) may have expected to lose more places in the event rankings after a quarterfinal final exit in Elimination 4 was followed by a second round exit in the 5th after sailing in the wrong heat, which threatened to undo all of his handwork in the opening two days. However, luckily for the Frenchman none of the sailors around him were able to inflict much damage and a 7th place in Elimination 6 stands him in good stead heading into tomorrow with the potential to discard an 18.5 from Elimination 5.
After a quarterfinal exit in the opening race - Jordy Vonk (Fanatic / Duotone) - bounced back strongly by recording a 4th and an 11th place and with the way the other results went to day that sees the flying Dutchman climb to places into 6th, while Ross Williams (Tabou / GA Sails / Shamal Sunglasses) falls two places to 7th.
Maciek Rutkowski (FMX Racing / Challenger Sails) drops one place to 8th, but the Pole’s unlucky streak seems to continue. Rutkowski was prominently placed in the semifinal of Elimination 4 - only to be taken down by Iachino’s flying rig, despite trying to give the Italian plenty of room, while he was again hampered by Iachino when well placed in the semifinal of Elimination 6. - that led to Rutkowski diving down the inside of Pascal Toselli (JP / Loftsails / Chopper Fins) at the second buoy in a desperate attempt to regain a place in the top 4, but that ultimately cost he and Toselli a chance with both men going down. Overall though the 27-year-old does seem to have found a new level of mental strength and maturity and despite further setbacks recorded results of 12th, 11th and a 10th. With a bit more luck on his side Rutkowski could be much higher and he remains one to watch heading into the final two days.
Elsewhere, Antoine Questel (I-99 / S2Maui) regains his place in the top 10 - 9th - while Enrico Marotti (JP / NeilPryde) completes the top 10 and the end of day 3. The Croat recorded his best ever result in the opening elimination of the day - second - and is now well placed to battle for an overall top 10 come the end of the event.
Marotti doesn’t have much room for error though with Finian Maynard (FMX Racing) just a point behind in 11th, while Taty Frans (Future Fly / Point-7) and Alexandre Cousin (Patrik / Phantom Sails / Chopper Fins) are only a few points further back.
After qualifying for a first time in 4 years - Ethan Westera (Tabou / GA Sails) - will undoubtedly be slightly disappointed with how today unfolded. The 21-year-old suffered two quarterfinals exits, but a 12th place in Elimination 5 is still enough to lift him into 16th.

Three more races could be finished on Saturday. Pierre Mortefon won two races. In the last final of the day the spectators saw exciting position fights between Antoine Albeau and Matteo Iachino. Iachino crashed on the home straight and Albeau won. Albeau is thus advancing from third to second place.  Pierre Mortefon is at the top of the rankings. 

01. Pierre Mortefon (FRA)
02. Antoine Albeau (FRA)
03. Matteo Iachino (ITA)
04. Julien Quentel (SXM)
05. Cedric Bordes (FRA)
06. Jordy Vonk (NED)
07. Ross Williams (GBR)
08. Maciek Rutkowski (POL)
09. Antoine Questel (FRA)
10. Enrico Marotti (CRO)

26.06.2019 The Big Top 3 Set the Early Pace as Slalom Begins with a Bang 

The world’s best racers had their mettle well and truly tested on the opening day of the 2019 Fuerteventura PWA World Cup - sponsored by René Egli - as the nuclear winds that Fuerte is famed for arrived from the very beginning. With winds in excess of 40 knots and a confused water state - with wind chop going one way and an underlying swell another - it really was survival of the fittest out there. Usually, Slalom is all about speed, but today, at times, it was more just about trying to stay on your feet for the duration of the course. Those with excellent gybing skills generally fared better than those who fly at Mach 10 as keeping an element of control was vital to succeed. But sometimes keeping an element of control was even difficult with many of the sailors maxed out on their smallest gear during the opening race.

At the end of the opening day there is almost nothing to separate the ‘Big Top 3’ - Antoine Albeau (JP / NeilPryde), Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / Duotone / Chopper Fins) and Matteo iachino (Starboard / Severne / Shamal Sunglasses) - with all three men making a bright start to the event by qualifying for both of the winners’ finals. However, it is Iachino who currently holds a slender lead at the top of the overnight event rankings after winning the second elimination to hold a 0.3 of a point lead.
Cedric Bordes (Tabou / GA Sails) often sails well here and the Frenchman made a solid start to the event today - qualifying for both winners’ finals before finishing 5th and 6th respectively and he currently occupies 4th place in the event rankings ahead of Finian Maynard (FMX Racing), who recorded two top ten results, Antoine Questel (I-99 / S2Maui) and Cyril Moussilmani (RRD / RRD Sails) - who both qualified for the top 16 in the opening two races.
Jordy Vonk (Fanatic / Duotone) came into the event tied on points with reigning world champion Antoine Albeau, but the Flying Dutchman rode his luck today. The 26-year-old was off the pace in the opening elimination and suffered a shock quarterfinal exit. Then in the next elimination it looked as though Vonk would be facing a semifinal exit, only for Bruno Martini (I-99 / Challenger Sails) to produce a poor last gybe to gift Vonk the last place in the winners’ final, which he duly grabbed with both hands before going to finish 4th and get his event up and running! Vonk sits in 8th place at the end of day one.
One sailor who really caught the eye today was Sebastian Kornum (JP / NeilPryde) with the Dane consistently timing brilliant starts to put himself into contention in virtually every heat he sailed. Kornum was leading his semifinal in elimination one, but fell in on one of the gybes to miss out, but then made the winners’ final of the second elimination after a slice of good luck for himself, and a big piece of misfortune for Maciek Rutkowski (FMX Racing/ Challenger Sails). Kornum then went all out in the final, but just jumped the gun to be disqualified, but is still currently ranked 9th after a solid day.
Rutkowski completes the current top 10, but things could’ve been even better for the Pole had he not been extremely unlucky in the opening semifinal of elimination two. The 27-year-old looked destined for the winners’ final, but on the final reach, his mast exploded just metres before the finish line, which cost him a place in the top 8. Rutkowski regathered his thoughts though and would go on to win the losers’ final and seemed upbeat at the end of the day with a lot of positives to take away from today.
Things started perfectly today for Julien Quentel (Patrik / Gun Sails) with the 33-year-old leading from start to finish in the opening winners’ final to claim a decisive victory. However, Quentel then suffered the misfortune of his own in the quarterfinal of the next race. The man from Saint Maarten was prominently placed in Heat 10 as they headed for the second buoy, but with Quentel right on the tail of then leader - Tristan Algret (Starboard / Severne / Chopper Fins) - there was nothing he could do to avoid crashing when Algret crashed entering the second gybe. That left Quentel with a quarterfinal exit and he dropped from 1st to 11th on completion on the second elimination. The good news for him is that there is still plenty of racing to come.
The top 16 is currently completed by Ross Williams (Tabou / GA Sails / Mystic), the Brit finished 5th in the opening elimination before looking like hooking in on the first gybe in the next quarterfinal and despite a quick recovery he couldn’t quite make the top 4. Taty Frans (Future Fly / Point-7) - 13th - Mateus Isaac (JP / NeilPryde) - 14th - Pascal Toselli (JP / Loftsails / Chopper Fins) - 15th - and Andrea Ferin (I-99 / Challenger Sails / AL360).
Elsewhere, John Skye (RRD / RRD Sails) did well to make the top 16 in the second elimination, while Gonzalo Costa Hoevel (Starboard / Severne / Chopper Fins) and Arnon Dagan (Future Fly / NeilPryde) came from the first round of Elimination 2 to make the top 16.
Current world No.5 - Ethan Westera (Tabou / GA Sails) had a bit of a day to forget with the 21-year-old failing to progress through a heat and he will just now need to reset and start tomorrow with a fresh head with plenty of time to still recover.
Unfortunately for Sebastian Kördel (Starboard / GA Sails), it looks as though the German’s contest may be over before it even began with the 28-year-old suffering a nasty foot injury when trying to re-arrange someone else’s flying gear on the beach and in doing so kicked a fin - requiring 8 or 9 stitches. Everyone from the PWA would like to wish Sebastian a quick a successful recovery.

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