2002 Was A Great Year For The PWA
Professional Windsurfing Association Chairman Phil McBain has released his annual report and thoughts of 2002 and the prospects for 2003. Here we bring you the chairman's report in full.
2002 was a great year for the PWA; we have 3 new World Champions and have had some fantastic contests. It was our second full year of independence and we have done all right. We currently have strong membership with over 180 sailors competing in events in 2002 and we expect over 200 competitors to sign up during the 2003 season. We have strong support from the windsurfing industry with 15 corporate members in all contributing to the tour. A total of over $500,000 in total prize money was paid out last year, with over 15 events World Wide.
I think the big success story for 2002 was the freestyle discipline, which as now matured into one of the most competitive disciplines ever on the PWA World tour. The huge amount of talented and enthusiastic young blood coming up through the freestyle discipline gives the PWA a strong future and allows a wide range of sailors the opportunity to compete at the highest level. Four action packed World Cup events took place with the final event in Bonaire in December. Going into the event, Nik, Matt and Ricardo could have all taken the title, but it was the experience of Matt Pritchard that took him into the final heats on the last day of the event to secure the Championship.
We had four wave events scheduled although 2 suffered with a lack of suitable conditions giving us just 2 counting results. Kevin Pritchard was able to put it together in the two events to take the title from the mighty Bjorn Dunkerbeck, who was still practically unstoppable at Pozo.
Racing was re-established back on the tour with two events, one in Poland and one in Sylt, with some excellent racing at both. PWA Racers showed that they are still the cream of the crop, with Steve Allen holding off strong challenges from the likes of Antoine Albeau, Wojtek Brzozowski, Kevin Pritchard and Micah Buzianis to take the first PWA Formula World Cup Title.
We once again have our own high quality TV show, distributed to over 350 million homes worldwide, with the range and depth of distribution increasing all the time. Sportshows TV came on board at the beginning of 2002 and has already made quite an impact with both event organizers and sailors. 2002 saw a nine show series, beginning with Vargas and ending with the finale from Bonaire in December. In addition, there were also special features on mainstream TV in the UK and Germany, as well as news coverage all over the globe.
The first induction to the PWA Hall of Fame was made in 2002. The first members were Robby Naish, Jim Drake and Hoyle Schweitzer. The PWA trading cards that were produced were a massive hit with the public and certainly helped a few of the guys make some new 'friends'. Those who did well enough to reach the top 16 in 2002 will have new cards printed for 2003.
PWAWorldtour.com continues to grow in strength, with up to 90,000 hits a month during the season and is firmly up there as one of, if not the top windsurfing site on the net.
Looking ahead to 2003....
We are about to begin the season with a new event in Tarifa, which is historically one of the traditional competition locations in Europe. The reemergence of events like this on tour is certainly a sign of renewed faith in our tour and in our sport. From there on we go on to Leucate in France for the second year, before returning to Vargas in Gran Canaria for the first Wave World Cup of the year.
We are also developing a new discipline "Super X" which take the form of a downwind, obstacle slalom incorporating Freestyle tricks in to what proves to be a radical and exciting form of competition.
The PWA website is also going through a bit of a facelift and will be re-launched with a whole new look in the next few weeks.
The PWA is going strong; we are a young, dynamic association, competing in a dynamic and radical sport. We have a strong tour and a strong image - the future is bright.
Look forward to seeing you all on the water in 2003.