2016 Ulsan PWA World Cup – Lena Erdil, newcomer Matteo Iachino from the Black Team, both won the first event from the PWA Slalom tour 2016 in Korea. The forecast was looking not great for the whole week, so all the riders knew that there was no time to waste in any of the heats. One shot, one opportunity, and the Black Team was there ready to take it. The whole of last summer developing the new AC-1, with brain storming from the whole team, the intense months of training which has led the team to be fit & trimmed, to get those 0.7 points.
The Black team in general showed good performance. Gonzalo was also in the final, but unfortunately had been hit down when he was in top 3 position at the first mark, forced to final 8th place. Bruno Martini was winning heats with an amazing speed: he was known to be the 2016 surprise of the year, and with also his new gear sponsors he was ready to show it. In the ladies, after Lena Erdil in first place, the Point-7 girls were also putting their speed down to want that first position. Their final was a big battle. Lena entering in first place at the first mark, but was overtaken by other 3 girls, from who, our new rider Cagla Kubat who took the lead to the second mark. Leaving the space for the girls to jibe in, she went back to fourth, and gave chance to Lena to reconquer the first place all the way to the finish line. Fifth was Fujiko Onishi, and seventh Esther de Geus, who was actually second on the final which was ran, but cancelled just before passing the finish line.
Let’s find out more from the Point-7 Black Team.
You had almost made it last year, but this year it finally came. First event win. Is this correct?
Last year I was winning after 2 races, but then the PWA crew decided to squeeze in a third, and I finished second. So this year I got my first place, and enjoyed winning the first event of the year..and my first event.
There was a lot of fighting in the final. How did that go?
It was super tricky. The wind, objects in the water, a strong fleet of girls. All this made the fact that I lost the first position after the first jibe as I went a little too wide, and ended from first to fourth after this. Than on the second mark the top 3 girls got into a challenging situation between them, and I managed to take advantage but sneaking in the jibe, exiting first the jibe, and taking the lead to the end.
Alacati is now confirmed, so with Denmark the girl’s slalom PWA will have 3 events. There is a lot of time in between. What are your plans?
I’m thinking to go to the IFCA worlds in Croatia next week. Let’s see. I also plan to fly to Tahiti for a nice long distance race in July. Everyone should think about it, as it’s a great event in a paradise.
We heard you had a little caddy, helping you before the event. Was this a kind of the secret of success?
Not a caddy at the event, but actually I had a great support in tuning my gear in April. I went to Tarifa and Gonzalo showed me lot of his tricks, and help me get tuned up at best with my new boards and sails. So, what can I say. Thank you Gonzalo, and I will bother you even more in the future!
Matteo, first PWA event on Point-7 and straight away a 0.7 score, a first bullet, a first event win in 2016. What does it mean to win the first event of the year for a top rider like you?
It’s a great feeling to win the first event of the year. I worked a lot this winter to get my new gear ready. I changed sponsors from last year both board and sail brand to Starboard\Point-7, and I was focused on getting the best performance out of them. I knew I was competitive, but until the first event of the year you never know the real performance of your kit till you don’t cross the starting line. Now I know what I can achieve and I’m ready to race again.
You used the 9.2 AC-One. How did the sail feel for you? You arrived first to the mark. Is the main characteristic of the sail the speed?
I really like the 9.2 AC-One. Actually I think this is a sail that is more acceleration\gybing oriented than top speed oriented, or at least this is what I was thinking before Korea. In Korea, after a good start I had a really good speed and I was surprised how the sail not only accelerating crazy, but how also is really quick on the straight.
Point-7 has already won with Alberto Menegatti in Korea. The first ever event won by an Italian and by Point-7. Now you won your third Pwa event exactly in Korea with the new team. You have a sticker with riding 4 Alby on your sail. Tell us about all of this?
Alberto was an amazing athlete, the guy everybody is looking at and every kid wants to be. We trained a lot together and he was an example for me, somebody to follow to achieve what was my dream since I was a kid. He showed everybody that even an Italian guy can reach the top of the world in our discipline without living in exotic or tropical places, and he showed me what I could really do. I’m now a professional windsurfer scoring good results mostly because of him, and because I wanted to be like him. That’s why, now he is not here anymore, I ride for him and I have this sticker on my sails.
Which event are you looking forward too on the tour? The next is Costa Brava. What conditions do you expect?
I already had 2 podiums in Costa Brava, my first podium even in PWA, a 3rd place back in 2013 and my first event victory last year. I’m ready to push as much as I can to get the best result possible. But what I can’t really wait, is to race in hi winds in Fuerteventura, the place I like the most on tour.
You won heats in Korea and looked very fast. Looks like you are having a big improvement from last year. Lots of riders were talking about you, and there is a big hype around your performance. New sponsors, very organized gear tent and more new things around you. Tell us about it.
This first PWA event in Korea was very intense: we spent a lot of time in stand by and in the end, only one elimination was run one week, so the stress was high in having to sit around waiting.
I’m satisfied as I was able to manage the race well. If we ran the second elimination all the way to the end, I could have finished in top 5 automatically, as most of the top guys went out in the quarters finals and I had was already qualified in the final.
To be realistic, the wind conditions of the race were really light, and in general I don’t like it. If we compare my lst PWA event from last year, this year I already finish in the top 16, so I improved my speed, jibes and race tactics, but the big step was mainly in my mind strength.
We know that now the PWA level is super high and everyone can be fast, so once you have good gear, and you are fit, the main focus which can make a difference in the mind set, and mental strength.
After months of training in Tenerife, I realized that I was one of the faster guys, and in that moment I start to work more on myself to realize that I can became the best.
I’m can still improve that, and still sad we could not do the second final in Korea. This motivates me to do more at the next event.
Korea was my first trip, outside Europe, I discovered but a jet leg is about, and I could manage it well. Now I’m Bruno international, ready for more events around the world, and finally ready to fight with the top guys.
Gonzalo Costa Hoevel
Finishing 8th, but at one point you were third in the final. What happened?
When i had already flipped my sail and started pumping to get out of there in 3rd i got hit by Julien Quentel and made me fall.
As you got to Korea, you had not being sailing much due to injury. You were not so sure about the 9.2 as you loved the new 8.7 during the testing and development?
Yes i couldn’t sail much before the event. I have always loved to race on the 8.6/8.7, specially as i always felt that it was faster than the bigger size and the difference in power was not so much.
This year i did some heats only 8.7 and then after sailing a bit more on the 9.2 i started feeling i was liking it more and more.
In the final it was windy enough for 8.7, but you were on 9.2. How did that happen? Tell us the difference between the 2 sails and your tuning for both.
I took it in the final and i was going very quick. I think that the 9.2 gave me a little bit more power and confidence to battle for better starts. And no real sacrifice on speed.
I still think that the 8.6 is a great sail, but now we got a 9.2 that is unreal too.
So we can decide what to take depending if its gusty, onshore or side shore, or even offshore with strong gusts. Both sails would perform extremely good no matter what.
A 17th place and then almost a final. Let us know a bit about how Korea was during the racing on the water. How did you find the level of the riders after one winter break?
I came to Korea knowing that I would have equipment that was working very good. Sure, I didn’t manage to get all of the fine tuning in place on my bigger sails. But as I have sailed loads over the winter, I already knew the feeling in the equipment, and found a good set-up only after a few runs on the water together with Gonzalo!
To be quite honest, I was actually sailing many heats with my 8,6, as my shoulder was hurting a bit from sail testing the week before, so I was a bit cautious. After racing on one of the first days, I took the 9,2 out for lots of runs and did some tuning with it, and started getting comfortable with it, and after that, there was no turning back. This sail has an amazing constant power, and I plane incredibly early with it.
So, as you can see, for me I was happy enough wind wise, although it really was on the limit. But if you add the extra touch of all the stuff which was floating in the water, luck really started playing a big role. And if you were good at jumping, this also helped a lot 🙂
The level is definitely at the highest, and the place for error has decreased even more. So, from now on, it’s the smaller things that count, and I believe we will see lots of different guys to good across the season. But I also believe that we have the weapons we need on the Black Team to be competitive, as we already saw at the first event 🙂
Top 5 is a great result. Was this your best result in PWA?
Yes, this was my best result in the PWA. 5th!! The Point-7 Black Team has made this possible, so thank you for supporting me!
How does it feel to be part of Point-7 Japan team? We see a lot of videos and photos from the team.
I was very excited to join the Point- 7 team Japan this year, as Point-7 is beautiful , cool and fast. Especially my team mates of point 7 are super nice guys !!!!!! So I am glad and happy to join the nice team !! I have to say thank you also to Tadashi Sugihara who has made this possible to happen.
Will you do the whole PWA tour?
Yes for sure! I will be also in Denmark and Alacati!
In one jibe from third to first, and in the next jibe from first to fourth. What are we talking about?
The final in Korea!!! I didn’t get the best start but it was also not too bad. As I came down the first reach approaching the first mark I saw that I was going to be rounding 3rd or 4th. I saw it was going to be tight at the first mark between the top two and knew that they might have a tough jibe to make. I decided to take the inside line at the bouy and get inside them. I managed a pretty good jibe and quickly overtook Lena. I then saw I only had Delphine in front of me. I pushed as hard as I could and approaching the 2nd jibe managed to get just in front of her. Because I was upwind I never saw Sarah Quita coming as Delphine’s sail was blocking my view there. As I went to jibe I saw SQ out of the corner of my eye and realized she was coming full speed to the inside. I had to suddenly go wide as otherwise we would crash and this finished me. The wind dropped considerably at this bouy and SQ, Delphine and I just stood there pumping as hard as we could with little chance to get going. This gave Lena the chance to come alone with a gust from behind and pass us all as we desperately tried to get going. After the race I saw that I needed to be more aggressive at the jibe just after I had passed Delphine. I think if I would have gone down half a second sooner, the result would be much different. I am angry at myself but also incredibly motivated for the next event as I saw my equipment is working incredibly well this year and know I will be fighting for the top spot on the podium.
Where you on the biggest sail size from the girls fleet?
I was on my 8.6 which felt incredibly good. I think SQ was also on her 8.6 but I am not sure nor what sizes the other girls were on. My 8.6 is a little heavier feeling than my 7.8 but in these conditions I feel it works very, very well.
It’s the first time you sail on Point-7 during a race, how did you feel?
l felt very good racing on the sails. There are numerous things I like about the sails that I feel will be helping me tremendously. First of all, the sails are very stable and easy to use with quite a big range of use. For racing this is incredibly important for me. The top end speed is very good but the thing that is impressing me the most is the acceleration from 25% speed to 75% speed. The sails get going incredibly fast in this respect which helps you off the start and after the jibes. I saw this very clearly in Korea despite the limited racing we did.
The next PWA event will be in august, can you wait till than for more racing, or are you looking into doing some other events?
I would love to do some more events. There are some events in Turkey which I will do and if there are other possibilities I will look into them. Right now I am incredibly motivated to go back to Alacati and work my tail off on a number of things that I want to improve. I am loving the racing and especially when the equipment is feeling so good! Thanks Andrea!!
Esther De Geus
There were 2 final, but the first was cancelled as the wind dropped. You were almost cutting the finish line, but the race was abandoned. How was that going?
Had a good race, good start and good speed, was comfortable in second place, but when Delphine and me were on our way to the finish I saw the other girls all together standing still at the mark. At this moment the race was cancelled.. A bit disappointed as I was in a good position.
In the final you obtained a good 7th place, how did that one go?
I had not a good start was a little bit to late.. I came back and was fighting for the fouth place, but than I got some seaweed on my fin.. On that moment it was sadly over for me, because it was to big to get it off.
We saw you training a lot whole winter with in Tenerife. The boys had to watch out for you in some conditions. Did you feel a good benefit from the training?
Yes a lot! Feeling more experienced in doing slalom races, especially at the start and marks. But I have to say in this PWA I couldn’t really show it as we did only two races. Hopefully the other PWA’s will be better!
Are you going to the Ifca Worlds in Croatia?
I am really thinking about to go because we had not many races in Korea and the next PWA will be quite late! It will be a last minute decision I think;)