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The first PWA experience

Ever wondered how it would be starting in your first ever PWA World Cup event? We asked our riders which experiences they went through taking part in their first ever PWA event and all that goes with it. Here it goes:

Kurosh Kiani
Which was your first PWA event? My first PWA event ever was Sylt 2007.
How old were you? I was 23!! Feels like yesterday.
How did you finish? Honestly, I don’t remember specifically but I believe it was somewhere in the low 20´s
Was the result what you had expected? I didn’t have any expectations at that time. I just wanted to learn by doing.
Why did you decide to take part at the first PWA?
I believed that this would be the right place for me to improve myself and become one of the top racers in the world!
What shocked you? Mostly the speed of the top guys. I remember getting some great starts but getting rolled before the first mark.
What happened that you did not expect? I did have some good heats here and there 🙂
Any embarrassment? Not really. I generally had a great time although I was getting my ass kicked.
What would you recommend to someone who is really thinking to do their first PWA experience?
Its firstly to enjoy it and take in as much information as possible if you plan on coming to more events. On the PWA, you can stay up to date with the very latest and greatest, so this is also the place where you will learn the most.
What did you think after this first event? 
I enjoyed my first events. I had no specific goals, and I was enjoying racing and taking it as a learning experience. I felt like it could be fun to do more.

Yentel Caers
Which was your first PWA event? My first event was in Austria, Podersdorf.
How old were you? I just turned 18 years
How did you finish? Last😅
Was the result what you had expected?
I didn’t expect too much, it was more like a learning experience.
Why did you decide to take part at the first PWA?
From when I was a child I was competing in small competitions, when I got older I started to participate in the youth world and European competition. So PWA was just the next step to do for me!
What shocked you? I think the level from already the first rounds.
What happened that you did not expect?
To get good wind in Podersdorf😂 as I’m used to hear from everyone it’s 5,2 pumping, and it was 4,4 full power🤘
Any embarrassment?
Even I ended up last, I was stocked about my sailing, but I know I had to train hard to catch up with the guys!
What would you recommend to someone who is really thinking to do their first PWA experience?
You shouldn’t start straight with PWA, first it’s good to do some local events in your country and around so you get competition experience. Then you can go into EFPT, where the level is crazy high as well, but the first round is a bit easier.
What did you think after this first event?
That I defiantly have to train hard, but it gave me the motivation for it!!

Gabriel Browne
Which was your first PWA event?
My first PWA event was back in 2006 in Fuerteventura. I remember my brother was still doing the freestyle world tour and he told me to go with him and see what happen.
How old were you? I was 14 years old
How did you finish? I don’t remember very well but I think I finished around 22nd.I remember I did 2 losers final. It was a great feeling.
Was the result what you had expected?
Well, that was my first international slalom event ever. I didn’t have any idea of the level and even to read the heat order it was confusing for me. I remember my brother was telling me at the beach…”go go, you advance your heat” hahaha. In the end, I think I had a very good result for my age and all the circumstances. I got my first sponsorship, right at that event and Jimmy invited me to stay at his house on Maui to help him with the R&D. I couldn’t believe to be turning 15 and already taking part of all this. It was amazing.
Why did you decide to take part at the first PWA?
My brother was doing the freestyle and wave world tour already. Also, Kauli, Ricardinho and Konan, they were also doing the freestyle back in the days. So, we all had a very good time together in Fuerte.
What shocked you? Definitely the wind!!! Where I live Brazil it’s a windy place, but not that much as the Canaries. One day there were gusts over 45+knts and I had to go out there!! My smallest sail was a 5.8 and I had to register a 5.0 that I borrow from Gonzalo.
What happened that you did not expect? To be honest, nothing!! I had sooo much fun, enjoyed every single moment.
Any embarrassment? Sure!!! I remember having the worst catapult of my life just in front of Bjoern Dunkerbeck!!! He was looking to me, kind of smiling at me. It was very embarrassing. But, I also remember myself getting a lot of the top guys embarrassed too in the races!!
What would you recommend to someone who is really thinking to do their first PWA experience?
I highly recommend to do it. It is a very nice experience to compete with the best athletes in the world. See how the tune their gear, how the get concentrated. And off course push yourself as hard as you can. For sure after that, your level will be higher. I also recommend to make sure you have the gear ready and tune, make sure your conditioning is good enough and have fun !!!
What did you think after this first event? It was a life changing experience. Since that I knew what I wanted to do for life.

Francesco Scagliola
Which was your first PWA event?
My first Pwa experience was Fuerteventura, in 2016
How old were you? I was 15 years old:)
How did you finish? I finished in 49th position
Was the result what you had expected?
Honestly, I didn’t go with an ambition or something like that. My expectation… my goal was just to compete, have fun, make experience, and do my best.
Why did you decide to take part at the first PWA?
Because I was too excited to compete with the best rider in the world, also if I was so young. I chose Fuerte for the hard condition, for the lot of heats which can be done due to the wind, and because it was not too far from Italy
What shocked you?
That nobody came to have fun or just to do it, everybody have a goal, want to do their best, and are super focus for it.
What happened that you did not expect? Pass the first round, is one the things that I didn’t expect!
Any embarrassment?
Maybe in the start of competition, everybody asked me if I would participate. They saw me too young to compete with them. I have to say that a lot of people help me and gave me a lot of advice.
What would you recommend to someone who is really thinking to do their first PWA experience?
My advice for you is to choose the windiest spot, to make more heat as possible, and do as much experience as possible. Train a lot, stay focused, and have fun-
What did you think after this first event?  That I love this kind of competition, I think that I can improve a lot my level, and I think too that it’s super important to make more experience.

Basile Jaquin
Which was your first PWA event? My first PWA event was Airwaves Nouméa Dream Cup in 2014
How old were you? I was 16 years old.
How did you finish? I finished in about 30.
Was the result what you had expected?
In this event I made big catapult on the first elimination and was completely KO for 30min. So, didn’t race the first day ahah. I was not really interested in my result.
Why did you decide to take part at the first PWA? Because it was in my home spot
What shocked you? I think the things that shocked me was the massive body of the slalom rider ahah. Maybe the guy who was impressive was Ben Van Der Steen! Also the speed of the top guys.
What happened that you did not expect? I made some quarter final with 3 cam sails.
Any embarrassment? The catapult?
What would you recommend to someone who is really thinking to do their first PWA experience?
Don’t be scared to race with the top guys. It’s super nice to see it in real, and to be on the water with them. If you have the opportunity to make an event where it’s windy and there is a chance of more races, it’s better! (event like fuerte or noumea)
What did you think after this first event? After this first experienced I was more motivated than ever!

Ricardo Campello
Which was your first PWA event? Pwa in Freestyle in Austria back in 2002 I think
How old were you? 15
How did you finish? Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough wind to compete, but I was so light and since it was, my first Pwa, I sailed the whole day and in the gusts and I could do some moves!
Was the result what you had expected? I just wanted to have fun and my sponsors to see me and make me international team!
Why did you decide to take part at the first PWA? I was young and feeling good and Josh Stone told me I should compete, so he arranged a Wild Card for me for the Austria event
What shocked you? Nothing that I remember! Ahh, actually how amazing and big the party tent was!
What happened that you did not expect? Josh and Talma, made me a Star in front of the crowd. I was 15 years old, probably still a virgin, and I had all these girls wanting me to sign their A#*SS and Boobs hahaha
Any embarrassment? Probably the first time they wanted me to do that!
What would you recommend to someone who is really thinking to do their first PWA experience? To train hard and focus to try and give the best and to shine to magazines and sponsors!
What did you think after this first event?  How cool the lifestyle was!

Lena Erdil
Which was your first PWA event? When the PWA came to Turkey Alacati I think it was 2006 !!
How old were you? I was 17 I think.
How did you finish? I really can’t remember that. I think as it was my first event it was just amazing to participate.
Was the result what you had expected? I had no expectations I was just excited to be able to sail with the best women windsurfers in the world!
Why did you decide to take part at the first PWA? The event was held at the centre I was working in and I had started racing slalom national events some years earlier! Doing a Pwa event was a natural progression but also a dream.
What shocked you? I don’t think anything shocked me. The no rules aspect maybe stood out a bit and yes, the women where sailing a lot more aggressive. At the time it was always Karin and Valerie winning.
What happened that you did not expect? Nothing since I didn’t really have any expectations
Any embarrassment? No, I don’t think so. Alacati is a really easy spot and I was used to sailing there so I think it felled really good competing there.
What would you recommend to someone who is really thinking to do their first PWA experience? Train a lot maybe be a little familiar with the spot the event will be in if possible.
What did you think after this first event? Yeah, I was super stoked. I did it again the year after and then a few years later started doing the whole tour!  It was great to see the level of the girls and see what I could do.

Fujiko Onishi
Which was your first PWA event? My first PWA event was in 2012 Vietnam.
How old were you? 20
How did you finish? 5th.
Was the result what you had expected? Not expected as it was only one month I was slalom sailing, so it was a very good result!
Why did you decide to take part at the first PWA? I wanted to improve my windsurfing skills.
What shocked you? Light wind was ok, as I did a lot of course racing in my life. But when the windy condition, jibing in waves …. It was very difficult for me.
What happened that you did not expect? I was falling all the time…. Haha2
Any embarrassment? No.
What would you recommend to someone who is really thinking to do their first PWA experience?
Just enjoy the nice experience and learn as much as possible. PWA slalom race is so much fun and gets me motivated even more to do lots of windsurfing.
What did you think after this first event?
Pwa women level is every year becoming higher. We can learn a lot from each other. Every girl is motivated for windsurfing and we can enjoy races together every time. If you are thinking to try out a PWA event, do it as you can improve your skills. It broadens horizons in windsurfing!!

Andrea Cucchi
Which was your first PWA event?
It was Silvaplana in 1997. It was a big event, and it was cold in the night. I was sleeping in my van and I remember that I was waiting for some sun, to get out from my sleeping bag. Now on that same lake, the windsurfing school from Sarah Missiaen is fully equipped Point-7. This makes me feel super proud!
How old were you? I was 21. Now 42. So more than 20 years ago.
How did you finish? There was no racing as the wind was too light. We had a start and I was the only one over early. Than we had a fun race, and top 10 would get 1000dollars. I finished 10th, 11th was Bjorn Dunkerbeck, and he gave me thumbs up on the finish line.  Was soooo cool! I was more happy of his thumbs up, than winning the money and the top 10 result. I knew who he was, and there was nothing to feel cool to have beaten in a fun race the super champ. Was the result what you had expected? Well I had no expectations. I knew that the conditions in in Silvaplana were similar to my home spot, and that was the reason why I was given the wild card. I was sure I could have done good. I had taken part at other international events that year, and new to be fast in those conditions.

Why did you decide to take part at the first PWA? I had a local race on Lake Garda the week before the PWA in Silvaplana and Anders Bringdal, Robert Teritehau, Robby Seeger, had all seen my speed at the event and they pushed me to try to take part the week after in Silvaplana.

What shocked you? The strength of the pros. They were all big and strong, and I was still very skinny! The number of custom boards they had. How professional they were in getting their stuff fully ready very early in the morning, even when it was still windless. How much party there were around the events. It was like entering in a circuit of people who were surely living another type of lifestyle. Very different to the new pros of now.

What happened that you did not expect? The friendship and support that event the very top guys were happy to give.

Any embarrassment? How would you feel, if you had Anders Bringdal, Robert Teriteauh, Robby Seeger were going to the PWA committee and pushing them to give me a wild card as they thought I was the right guy to have it. At the only official start, I was the only one over early. I was so ashamed, that I was so worried to meet Anders and tell him that I made such a mistake. Luckily the race was cancelled as there was no wind, and that I finished 10th in the fun race. I got the 1000dollars, and bought my ticket to the second event, which was in Paros. I remember Finian in Paros coming to me and asking if I wanted to go party with the boys. I told him that we had to race the next day, and no way I would go party. He asked me ‘are you the guy using production boards?’, after I said yes, he had told me to go party that racing production boards at those time was a waste of time!

What would you recommend to someone who is really thinking to do their first PWA experience?
To be sure to have a good level. There are many nice international events and national events to do, before going to PWA. PWA can be dangerous without having a proper level, with the no rule system in slalom. Also knowing to have a chance to pass at least one round is important. Otherwise you travel to an event without having time on the water, and when you don’t have time on the water, you don’t learn and enjoy. So be ready, be sure to have the level. Respect on the course those who do the full circuit even if there are no rules, as if you would destroy their race for unfair racing, it would mean a lot to their final result. Don’t be shy to ask a lot of questions to the riders, it’s a chance to learn a lot.
What did you think after this first event?  Well we had a fun race and I finished in front of Bjorn. I thought..this is easy. Than went to Paros and finished 32nd and got more prize money (last place for prize money those times). I thought I was unlucky. With the money went to next event in Brighton, but it was a smaller PWA event, where not all the top guys were not there, and got prize money again. Than Sylt. It was super windy, 5°C, and I was freezing. It was offshore wind, and I was struggling to do anything. I set in the riders tend, had hot chocolate and realized that I had a lot of work to do. The year after, after having spent whole winter in Australia, I was hoping for better results, but without custom boards, experience it was a long way to go. I was winning everything easily in my country, but PWA was another level.

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