From 19-24 August both the men's and women's slalom fleets shall be returning to action for more warp speed racing as they head to the stunning turquoise waters of Alacati, Turkey. The men will be recommencing battle for the first time since competing in Costa Brava - in June - whilst the women will be fighting it out for the final time this season.
Alacati is located on the Cesme peninsula, just a thirty minute drive from the bustling city of Izmir. Primarily known for its stunning natural stone villas, chic boutiques and its traditional cafes and fantastic restaurants, Alacati has started to experience a change in cliental, in recent years, as thousands of windsurfers, from all around the globe, flock to the stunning shores of Alacati to take advantage of the beautiful turquoise waters and clockwork like Meltemi winds, which blow consistently between the months of May to October. Combine this with the gorgeous local scenery and cosmopolitan vibe and you can quickly understand why Alacati is continuing to enhance its reputation as a windsurfing Mecca.
What's The Deal?
Six days of furious slalom as the women's title race draws to its conclusion in their final event of the year, whilst the men's title campaign continues to gather pace in their penultimate event of the season as they battle it out for those crucial world tour points.
Ones To Watch
As the man currently sitting at the top of the rankings, Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde) will enter the event as the favorite, especially after his emphatic victory here last year, which saw the reigning world champion win six out of the nine races completed. So far this season Albeau has showed incredible speed and consistency and he'll be looking to continue in a similar vein over the coming week as he bids for back-to-back world titles.
Fellow compatriot and teammate Julien Quentel (RRD / NeilPryde) is just behind Albeau in second place. In 2012 Quentel enjoyed his best season to date on the PWA World Tour - 4th - and he is continuing to use that momentum as he looks to claim his place on the prestigious overall podium for the first time in his career. Expect to see Quentel battling for top honors by the end of the week as he combines a blistering top speed with fully committed planing gybes.
Alberto Menegatti (Starboard / Point-7) currently completes the top three, after his maiden event victory in Korea, the Italian didn't quite have things all his own way in Costa Brava. Menegatti still claimed one bullet in Spain as he demonstrated his phenomenal top speed and perfectly timed starts, but a couple of major mistakes cost him dearly in the end. The twenty-eight year old will now be looking to erase those memories with a solid performance in Turkey as he attempts to cement his place on the podium and beyond.
Ben van der Steen (Starboard / Gaastra / Mystic / Different) has made a seamless transition onto his new sails with two super consistent performances thus far this season and he currently finds himself in fourth place. The flying Dutchman has performed well in Alacati for the past two years with back-to-back second places and he'll be hoping to replicate that form once again come the end of the week. Expect to see van der Steen turning on the afterburners as he makes a charge to break into the overall top three.
Fiery Frenchman Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard / Severne) will be hoping to build upon his strong start to the season in Turkey as he looks to reclaim his place on the overall podium for the first time since 2010. Moussilmani has looked consistently quick thus far and has showed text-book gybes to secure his place in the top five for 2013.
This season has proved to be a frustrating affair, so far, for the most decorated sailor in windsurfing history - Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard / Severne / Dunkerbeck Eyewear / Chris Benz). The terminator lies in sixth place for the time being and he'll be looking to return with a vengeance over the coming week, as he demonstrates his phenomenal top speed, whilst taking no prisoners in an effort to return to top of the pack.
The competitiveness of the slalom tour right now means that their will also be a scintillating battle for the top ten, with any of the riders more than capable of challenging for the podium too. Expect to see Matteo Iachino (F2 / Challenger Sails / AL360) enter the event full of confidence after his best finish to date thus far - 3rd in Costa Brava, along with Arnon Dagan (RRD / NeilPryde), Gonzalo Costa Hoevel (Starboard / Loft Sails) and Jimmy Diaz (Starboard / North) all gunning for the top as they look to defend their top ten places at a minimum.
There are currently a number of big names sitting outside of the top ten and they'll be eager to rewrite the record come to the end of the week. Micah Buzianis (JP / MauiSails) will be hoping to recapture the form of last season which saw him complete the podium, whilst the likes of Ross Williams (Tabou / Gaastra) - who missed the first event of the year - Peter Volwater (Fanatic / Avanti), Finian Maynard (RRD / Avanti), Josh Angulo (Angulo / Gun Sails) and Steve Allen (Starboard / Severne) will all be looking to earn themselves a good result in order to climb the overall rankings.
Karin Jaggi (Patrik / Severne) enters the final event of the year as the world tour leader and she'll be keen to abolish memories of 2012 in which she missed out on the world title by the narrowest of margins. The Swiss gem knows that an event victory here will see her crowned the Queen of slalom for the first time since 2010. Jaggi has demonstrated an unrivaled top speed this season and she'll be looking to quite simply blitz away the rest of her competitors by the end of the week.
However, the 2011 PWA Slalom World Champion Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / Gaastra / Mystic / Chris Benz / Maui Ultra Fins) may have other plans, as she makes her first appearance of the season on the slalom tour, having missed the opening event due to her studies. The Aruban gem claimed victory in Alacati in 2012 and she will be fiercely defending her title over the coming week. Offringa has been training out in Turkey ahead of the event, so expect to see her come flying out of the starting blocks from the moment the green flag is raised.
Twenty-two year old Delphine Cousin (JP / NeilPryde) currently occupies second place after a fantastic display in Korea. The youthful French talent will now be embroiled in an intriguing battle between the likes of the reigning world champion Valerie Arrighetti (Tabou / Gaastra / Mystic) - who will be hoping that results will go in her favor to enable the defense of her world title, Ayako Suzuki (Starboard / Gaastra / Mystic) and Turkish hero Lena Erdil (Patrik / Loft Sails / Mystic / AL360), as she tries to better last year's fourth place finish overall.
Of course local hero Cagla Kubat (Starboard / Loft Sails) will also be hoping that she can stage a performance that sees her challenging for top honors too, along with a number of other local Turk's.
With so much at stake the week ahead promises to be an intense and enthralling affair. Who's going to hold their nerve to come out on top and who's going to crash and burn? Find out by watch the nail biting action unfold as it happens by tuning into the PWA live stream at www.pwaworldtour.com, which will be available from the 19th August.
Scope the action
For more information on all the entrants, and to keep up to date with every piece of the action, click on www.pwaworldtour.com