The second day of the Awaza PWA World Cup proved to be a long and largely frustrating affair, spanning twelve and a half hours, as light and gusty winds played havoc for much of the day.
Early this morning Delphine Cousin (Starboard / Loft Sails) made the perfect start to her title defence as she claimed the first victory of the year in the women's fleet, however only one heat of the men's was completed before the wind became too light. After an eleven hour long break the wind finally returned - swinging from east to northwest - allowing a further three heats to be completed in winds ranging from 8-13 knots.
Although only four men's heats were completed, there was plenty of drama as several big names fell in the light and tricky winds. In the first heat Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard / Severne / Chris Benz / Dunkerbeck Eyewear) failed to make the start line in the light winds, meaning for the second event in a row he suffered a first round exit in the first elimination. Julien Quentel (RRD / NeilPryde) became the first man to qualify for the semifinals ahead of Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / North), Ross Williams (Tabou / GA Sails), Malte Reuscher (RRD / Point-7 / AL360), Andrea Rosati (RRD / NeilPryde) and Sean O'Brien (Starboard / Severne) - who did well to out pump Sylvain Moussilmani (Simmer) to claim the final qualifying place.
When heat two was finally completed Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard / Severne) booked his places in the next round alongside Pascal Toselli (Starboard / Point-7), Jordy Vonk (F2 / Point-7), Ludovic Jossin (Patrik / Loft Sails), Benoit Moussilmani (Simmer) and finally Jimmy Diaz (Starboard / North Sails). However, there was no place in the next round for Josh Angulo (Angulo / Gun Sails), who suffered a cut heel after colliding with his own fin.
In the penultimate heat of the day Gonzalo Costa Hoevel (Starboard / Loft Sails) came out on top, whilst Micah Buzianis (JP / MauiSails), Steve Allen (Starboard / Severne), Taty Frans (Starboard / MauiSails / Mystic / MFC), Ben Van Der Steen (Tabou / GA Sails / Mystic) and Arnon Dagan (RRD / NeilPryde) all successfully navigated their way into the semifinal.
The final heat of the day saw the reigning PWA World Champion and current world tour leader - Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde) - make a catastrophic mistake as he crossed the line early, along with Gunnar Asmussen (Patrik / North), to be disqualified from heat four. The big Frenchman will now be praying that at least four eliminations are completed in order for him to discard this result. Upon the restart Antoine Questel (Starboard / Loft Sails) managed to finish in first place ahead of Finian Maynard (RRD / Avanti), Alexandre Cousin (Patrik / Loft Sails / Mystic), Alberto Menegatti (Starboard / Point-7), Matteo Iachino (Fanatic / North) and Enes Yilmazer (Starboard / Severne).
With each women's heat being run as a final this week there is added pressure on the women, knowing that a perfect start is even more crucial. Reigning PWA World Champion - Delphine Cousin - showed no signs of cracking under the pressure as the French woman claimed the first bullet of the season with an assured display of sailing. Behind her Lena Erdil (Patrik / Loft Sails / Mystic / AL360) battled her way into second place, ahead of Mio Anayama (Starboard / NeilPryde) who eventually finished in third place, ahead of Marion Mortefon (Starboard / Severne), Maria Andres (Patrik / Gun Sails / Mystic) and 2012 PWA World Champion Valerie Ghibaudo (Tabou / GA Sails / Mystic), who had to settle for sixth place in elimination one.
Lena Erdil reflects after the opening elimination, "First day of racing today, we were the first ones to race this morning starting in around 8-11 knots at exactly 6:32am this morning! I managed to get a solid second place finish, so far so good! Congratulations to my Loft Sails team mate Delphine Cousin for taking first place in these challenging conditions."
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Results After Elimination One - Women's Slalom
1st Delphine Cousin (Starboard / Loft Sails)
2nd Lena Erdil (Patrik / Loft Sails / Mystic / AL360)
3rd Mio Anayama (Starboard / NeilPryde)
4th Marion Mortefon (Starboard / Severne)
5th Maria Andres (Patrik / Gun Sails / Mystic)
6th Valerie Ghibaudo (Tabou / GA Sails / Mystic)