Strong winds greeted the arriving competitors in Leucate today as the locally infamous Tramontana blew up to speeds of 40 knots, taking the edge off the otherwise warm and sunny weather.
It did, however, provide excellent conditions for the competitors to warm up ready for the start of the first PWA Super X World Cup in 2004.
Now in it's third year on the PWA calendar, the Leucate event promises to provide some dramatic action through a combination of powerful conditions and the newest windsurfing discipline - Super X. Developed in 2003 and first used in anger at the 2003 Fuerteventura World Cup, Super X combines high speed downwind racing over an obstacle course with freestyle maneuvers that must be completed at specific points in the race. The amalgamation of speed, jumps and tricks provides high octane, thrill packed entertainment as competitors battle through elimination heats to eventually qualify for, and then hopefully win the final.
Those hoping to take overall honors include PWA veterans, Nik BAKER (Mistral, North) and Matt PRITCHARD (Gaastra), both recently returned from injuries during the 2003 season and hoping to make their mark in their first Super X event. Other international sailors include PWA Freestyle World Champion Ricardo CAMPELLO (JP, Neil Pryde), Vidar and Orjan JENSEN (North), Robbie SWIFT (JP, Neil Pryde) and Douglas "Cheo" DIAZ (Fanatic, North).
The strong French fleet at this event includes Antoine ALBEAU (AHD, Neil Pryde) - who came in a close second at the first ever PWA Super X contest in Fuerteventura last year and local dynamo and PWA regular, Julien TABOULET (JP, Neil Pryde) who will be hoping to claim honours in his own locale.
The beauty of such a new and exciting discipline is that anyone can win. With winds potentially reaching anywhere from 15 - 50 knots over the coming week, it will be a hard fought battle to see who will finally walk away with the lions share of the 25,000 Euro purse and take the lead in the 2004 PWA Super X rankings.
Stay tuned to the PWA website for all the latest news.