The world's PWA elite have gathered here in Sylt, Germany for the climax to the PWA racing and wave 2003 World Tour.
Celebrating its 20 anniversary, Sylt has a proven track record for producing dramatic wave and racing competition and is the perfect location to round up the 2003 season. It is an unpredictable location, which can throw up conditions ranging from calm seas and warm sunshine to temperatures dipping below freezing and winds blowing over 40 knots.
While hurricane Isabel is currently pounding the East Coast of America we are hoping that the remnants of the storm will hit Northern Germany sometime next week. The forecast for the next few days is calling for racing conditions followed by strengthening winds on Monday and Tuesday so it already looks like we are in for a week of sensational action here in Germany.
The battle for the men's overall wave title is poised for a dramatic finale to the 2003 season with Norwegian sailor Vidar JENSEN (North) holding the number one slot in the rankings. Jensen has been in this position before back in 2001 but Bjorn DUNKERBECK (Neil Pryde) pipped him at the post at the Ireland World Cup to clinch the overall title.
This year Jensen has Canarian Young Gun Jonas CEBALLOS (Gaastra, Fanatic) hot on his heals lying second in the rankings and Dunkerbeck breathing down both of their necks in third. All the big guns of men's wave sailing are here Germany including the likes of Jason POLAKOW (JP, Neil Pryde), Josh ANGULO, Kevin PRITCHARD (Starboard, Gaastra), Robby SWIFT (JP, Neil Pryde) and Scott MCKERCHER (Starboard) so when the wind kicks in the action is sure to be insane.
In the women's wave competition Daida MORENO (North, Mistral) leads the rankings ahead of Karin JAGGI (F2, Arrows) of Switzerland and her twin sister Iballa MORENO (North, Mistral). Daida revels in extreme conditions and will be tough to beat but Karin and Iballa are both determined competitors and no doubt will be challenging when the time comes.
In the men's racing American sailor Micah BUZIANIS (Mistral, North) is leading the rankings ahead of Wojtek BRZOZOWSKI (Starboard, Neil Pryde) of Poland with last years Sylt winner Kevin PRITCHARD (Gaastra, Starboard) back in third. Other names in contention for the title are Antoine ALBEAU (AHD, Neil Pryde), Steve ALLEN (Neil Pryde, Fanatic), Sam IRELAND (Neil Pryde, Starboard) and Gonzalo Costa HOEVEL (Starboard, Neil Pryde).
Yesterday's opening ceremony kicked off with a parade by the sailors in front of thousands of spectators along the promenade. Sailors from each country were then introduced to the receptive audience who cheered and clapped at their windsurf heroes.
The stage is all set now for a week of explosive action with competition due to kick off at 10.30 this morning if conditions allow. While sailors prepare tonight for a tough week of competition, the parties at the American Bar and the infamous Hanger will no doubt be rocking.