Antoine Albeau F192 and Sarah-Quita Offringa ARU91 have become 2017 PWA Slalom World Champs getting 1st and 2nd position respectively in the last PWA Slalom event, 2017 PWA Noumea Airwaves. Huge track record for both iconic riders securing for Antoine 24x times World Championships and for Sarah-Quita 14x times World Championships.
Congratulations also to the rest of the NeilPryde team which showed that they´re in good shape in Noumea. Arnon Dagan just missed out the top 5 with a great 6th place, a 12th place for the Italian Malte Reuscher , the Brazilian Mateus Isaac finished in 19th position and a 23rd position for Enrico Marotti.
After five fairly solid windy days in a row, the wind machine, unfortunately, decided to take a slight break on the final day of the 2017 Airwaves Noumea Dream Cup - meaning that the rankings for the slalom remain unchanged from overnight.
With the rankings remaining the same from overnight and with the sailors being released at 3:30pm it was official that Sarah-Quita Offringa is the 2017 Women’s PWA Slalom World Champion - despite a superb effort from Delphine Cousin Questel - who claimed a clear cut victory here, but with Offringa securing a solid second place the former 2-time world champion will have to wait until next year for another shot at the title.
Sarah-Quita Offringa: 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.”
Just as in the women’s division the men’s ranking remained the same, which meant that Antoine Albeau signs off the season in style by winning the final event of the year, while also earning an incredible 24th world title.
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.
I was a little bit stressed for sure because until it’s official you can’t rest easy. Now it’s done and it’s great to win it by winning the last event of the season. I started okay, but not as well as Matteo, but I was very consistent and even when I broke my harness hook in the semifinal I was then still able to win the losers’ final quite easily. I was super confident because I knew my speed was good and when you know your speed is good you feel a lot safer. The year before was a little bit hard for me because I wasn’t super fast, especially in light winds, which then makes it difficult.
Is it getting easier or harder? "Hmmm… you know every year is different. There are a lot of variables. How you start the year, how strong is the wind going to be? This year we were unlucky with the conditions at the two first events (South Korea and Japan), but in the end, we scored Costa Brava, Fuerte, Denmark and here as well. Sylt we were only able to complete 2 eliminations, but overall I think we’ve had a very good year.”
A further three foil races were completed on the final day with the wind remaining too light for slalom. Amado Vrieswijk was able to win the first race of the day, but was later injured in a collision with Malte Reuscher and was lucky to walk away relatively unscathed from a potentially lethal incident.
Round the Island
The remaining two foil races of the week were long distance round the island competitions and with shifty, gusty winds there was an element of luck involved. Antoine Albeau won the first round the island race ahead of Matteo Iachino and Vrieswijk.
Gonzalo Costa Hoevel looked to have the second race sewn up after, but after tacking in a wind hole the Argentine was unable to get back onto the foil, which allowed Alexandre Cousin to swoop in and snatch the victory. However, Costa Hoevel’s event victory was never in danger after a dominant set of performances, while the podium is completed by Maciek Rutkowski and Thomas Goyard.
The closing ceremony was held at 5pm in front of a packed out beach as the event and world champions were crowned in Noumea to bring the curtain down on the 2017 PWA World Tour.
Text and photos adapted from PWA.