Quotes of the Week

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Thoughts from the main players on the 2017 PWA Slalom World Tour after conclusion in New Caledonia

With the PWA World Tour over for another year we caught up with the majority of the main players on the slalom world tour after their final event of the season in New Caledonia at the end of November. The Airwaves Noumea Dream Cup provided a pulsating end to the year and highlighted the fact that the level on the slalom world tour is as high as its ever been at the moment, while a few new faces are starting to break through the ranks.

Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / NeilPryde / Maui Ultra Fins): on winning her 3rd slalom title in a row – 4 slalom titles overall: “I’m actually really happy about it. I don’t have so much to say, but of course I’m happy it worked out, but in the end, I’m super happy that I came to New Caledonia because it was a good chance for me to learn some new things as I’m not used to sailing slalom in these kind of conditions. Every day I improved a bit, so it was a win-win situation… I managed to bring the title home, gained experience in these conditions and I got to see the whole tour again and say a proper goodbye to everybody. Overall it was just a great way to sign off for the year.

We had some really close racing and I’m really happy that I was able to win a couple of races in these conditions because I know Delphine [Cousin Questel] is dominant in these conditions, so it’s good for me to know that it’s possible to win a couple.”

Delphine Cousin Questel (Starboard / S2Maui), who ends the season as the vice-world champion after maintaining her winning ways in New Caledonia having previously won here in 2014 and ‘15: “I’m very happy. I came here to win, so I’m glad to have reached that goal. I had a very good battle with Sarah [Quita Offringa] and it turned out to be a perfect week with great conditions, organisation, everything was perfect.”

Marion Mortefon (Fanatic / NorthSails) breaks in a place in the overall top 3: “I’m very, very happy about breaking into the overall top 3. I knew before coming here that it was possible to still make the overall top 3, but I knew it was going to be a tough challenge, so to manage to finish 3rd in New Caledonia and for the year is a dream. This was my 3rd podium of the year from the 4 events, so it’s definitely my best year yet. This season was a bit different for me because I stopped working for a company to just concentrate purely on windsurfing and thankfully that seems to have paid off. Being able to try a lot really helps you to improve and take your sailing to the next level. I would like to congratulate Sarah-Quita [Offringa], Delphine [Cousin Questel] and Lena [Erdil] as well, because she was in the game for the podium. And also to all the other girls this year because I think the level has been very high.”

Lena Erdil (Starboard / Point-7 / AL360) misses out on the podium after injury: “Of course I’m very upset to lose my place on the podium. Obviously my goal when I came here was to win the competition because I like strong winds and I think New Caledonia is a spot where I’m capable of performing really well – under normal circumstances. On the third day I twisted my foot in the winners’ final at the first mark [later confirmed as a stress fracture], which was I was positioned to win as I was ahead of Delphine [Cousin] and Sarah-Quita [Offringa] wasn’t in the final. I was still proud to make both winners finals with my injured foot. I was taking a few more risks at the start to allow myself a bit more time to gybe. Then the pain was just too much in the finals. Sadly this is the first time in 4 years that I don’t win one of the overall trophies, but what can you do? This is the first time in my career that I’ve been injured and I guess at some point everyone will experience an injury. It wasn’t good timing for it – 2 days after maybe would’ve been okay, but there’s nothing I can do about it now. Congratulations to Delphine who sailed amazingly well here – absolutely dominating – for me I’m just more upset about the 3rd place.”

Antoine Albeau – 24-time world champion: “It feels super good because it wasn’t over coming into the event here – even though I had a bit of an advantage over Matteo [Iachino] as you know – it was like 7 places difference between us – so when you arrive like this you know it’s almost in the pocket, but I didn’t want to think like that because you never know what can happen. Especially with someone like Matteo, who is capable of winning every race and if I’d have made some mistakes then it’s easy to miss out on the top 10.

Vice-world champion Matteo Iachino (Starboard / Point-7 / Shamal Sunglasses): “I’m super happy as this is the 3rd year in a row that I have been in contention for the world title. The first time round we all know how it ended, last year I managed to win and this year it was a close fight with Antoine [Albeau], so I finish the season as the vice-world champion. Overall very happy again with my level of performance for the whole season.”

Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / NorthSails / Chopper Fins) rediscovered his best form to pip Ross Williams to 3rd: “It’s been a long year, but I’m super happy to finally be back on the podium (at an event). It hasn’t been the easiest year for me as a lot of things have happened at each event. The start of the season was quite stressful during the Asian leg of the tour. Costa Brava went well and the obviously in Fuerte I was involved in this massive crash [with Taty Frans]. It wasn’t so easy for me to comeback from this. Not so much physically but mentally it was tough. Then Denmark we had a great event. Unfortunately I then broke my fin in the first race in Sylt, but I arrived here with some confidence after winning the last event here in 2015. To start the event I tried to sail consistently and safely, but you have to be fast, so it’s not easy to balance those aspects together. In the end I’m very happy to be competing so close to the guys at the top of the rankings at this event. Going into the final day anything was still possible as I as only 1.6 points behind first place. This event was also really good for my mind and it’s a good way to round off the season. I’m happy.”

Ross Williams (Tabou / GA Sails / Mystic / Shamal Sunglasses) who finished 4th in the world for 2017: “I’m not really broken because you can’t really be disappointed if you give it your all and that’s what I do every time I show up and compete in slalom. I obviously would’ve loved to finish higher up and on the podium, but you know it wasn’t to be this time. Congratulations to everyone else who finished in front of me and see you next year.”

Pascal Toselli (99NoveNove / LoftSails / Chopper Fins) returns to the overall top 5: “Finally I managed to enjoy a entire solid season and I’m very happy after a long and hard fight throughout the year. I’m very pleased to finish in 5th place. Last year I think I was on course for a top 5 finish as well, but then I dislocated my shoulder in Fuerteventura, so that ended my hopes for that season. I’m glad I was able to bounce straight back and record a solid result.”

New Arrivals in the Top Ten

Marco Lang (Fanatic / NorthSails): “Absolutely amazing year. I mean the start of the season was not very good with a 41st place in Japan, but then things got better and better… 9th in Costa Brava, average finish in Fuerte 16th and then Denmark where I finished 12th or 14th and then Sylt of course. In the end I’ve managed to reinforce my performance here in New Caledonia with 4th place from 6 eliminations. It feels like the perfect way to finish the season. I think my speed is pretty good compared to the others, but I think I still need to gain a bit more confidence gybing and a few other things, but at least now I know what I need to train over the winter. I can’t wait for next year.”

Sebastian Kördel (Starboard / GA Sails): “I end the year with my best performance of the season (5th). By far my second best result would’ve been South Korea, but obviously we didn’t gain a result there in the end, so it is Japan where I finished 10th. I’m very happy to round off the season showing what I’m capable of in these kind of conditions and that I belong somewhere near the top of the rankings. Top 5 is my second best result over, so I’m super happy about it. In the overalls I just edged out Jordy [Vonk] for 10th. It couldn’t have been any closer as we finished tied on points, but I’m stoked to secure my place in the overall top 10 for the first time.”

Source: PWA

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