Mercedes-Benz Windsurf World Cup Sylt
It’s time for one of the biggest events of the season, which sees the much of the windsurfing world descend upon Westerland Sylt, Germany for the 2019 Mercedes-Benz Sylt PWA World Cup, which runs from the 27th September until 6th October. Over the next 10 days, the Men’s Freestyle and Foil world titles will be decided right here and now, while the men’s and women’s wave fleets will be competing in their penultimate event of the season.
Some say that variety is the spice of life and in this sense, Sylt never disappoints as you never quite know what to expect — thanks to the huge variety of conditions that this wonderful island can produce. In strong onshore winds, a colossal shore break develops — ready to crush the hopes of any unsuspecting competitors — along with powerful waves of up to three or four meters in size, which provide amazing wave sailing conditions, whilst producing a real challenge for the slalom and freestyle fleets. On the other hand, Sylt can also produce great racing and freestyle conditions, when offshore winds grace the island with their presence, although it can then be bitterly cold. One thing is for sure, to win here you need to be the complete all rounder who is willing to have their mettle tested to breaking point.
Ones To Watch
Title Race Connotations
The Men’s Freestyle World title race looks as though it will be a two-horse race between joint world tour leaders - Youp Schmit (I-99 / Avanti) and Yentel Caers (I-99 / Point-7) - who are both on 19,600 points, which gives them a 550 point cushion over their next closest challengers - Amado Vrieswijk (JP / Severne) and Steven Van Broeckhoven (Starboard / GUNSAILS) - who are tied in third on 19,050 points.
However, as the opening two events have shown almost anything can happen and there are certainly no foregone conclusions here - particularly as Schmit has faced a race against time just to be here after knee surgery, while both sailors have never finished better than 5th here.
Schmit Sylt Record: Caers Sylt Record:
Best Result: 5th 2012 Best Result: 5th 2016
2018: 17th 2018: 7th - but coming back from injury
2017: 9th 2017: 6th
2016: 17th 2016: 5th
2015: 11th 2015: 11th
2014: Injured 2014: 17th
Single Elimination Scenario
- A top 4 finish or better for either Schmit or Caers would guarantee one of them the title no matter the results elsewhere. In the event that both sailors were to qualify for the top 4 then the title would then be decided by whoever finishes higher.
- If either sailor finishes 4th or better in the single then one of them will win the title as the worse they could finish in the double is 5th, which gives an unassailable lead. For example, 5th place (9,600 points) in the double would leave Schmit or Caers on 29,100 points and a victory for either Amado Vrieswijk (JP / Severne) or Steven Van Broeckhoven (Starboard / GUNSAILS) would only see them reach 29,050 points.
- In order for Vrieswijk or Van Broeckhoven to have a shot at the title with just a single elimination, they would need Schmit/Caers to finish 5th or worse and win the single elimination themselves.
- In the unlikely, but certainly not impossible event, that Schmit/Caers were to finish joint 9th in the single, then joint 5th place or better for Vrieswijk/Van Broeckhoven would see them move into the lead.
- Outside Chance
However, in the above scenario where Schmit/Caers finish joint 9th in the single - that would then bring Antony Ruenes (Tabou / GA Sails) into the equation, as if the Frenchman was the win the single elimination, then Vrieswijk or Van Broeckhoven would be required to finish second in order to stay ahead.
Double Elimination Scenario
- A top 6 finish or better for Schmit/Caers would guarantee one of them the world title. If both finish in the top 6 then whoever beats who would win the world title.
- If Schmit/Caers were to finish joint 7th - then Vrieswijk or Van Broeckhoven could still win the title by finishing at least second. In the event of a Vrieswijk/Van Broeckhoven final, whoever beats who would win the world title.
The race for the 2019 Men’s Foil PWA World Championship is going to be incredibly tight with just 300 points covering 1st-9th meaning that any of those sailors realistically have a shot at the title.
Matteo Iachino (Starboard / Severne / Starboard Foil) comes into the final Foil event of the year leading on countback having finished 3rd in Costa Brava, but Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / Duotone / LOKEFOIL), who won the opening event of the year in Japan), Amado Vrieswijk (JP / Severne / Starboard Foil) and Alexandre Cousin (Patrik / Phantom Sails / Phantom Foils) are all on 19,500 points after two events.
Just behind the leading quartet are the Goyard brother’s - Thomas Goyard (FMX Racing / Phantom Sails / Phantom Foils), who won the last event in Costa Brava, and Nicolas Goyard (Tabou / GA Sails / Phantom Foils), and they are just 100 points further back on 19,400 points. If the Foiling is mainly upwind/downwind then that would make Thomas the heavy favourite given his dominance in Costa Brava. However, a blend of both upwind/down and Foil Slalom would throw the race wide open.
Sebastian Kördel (Starboard / GA Sails / Starboard Foil) and Sebastian Kornum (JP / NeilPryde) next in line in 7th and 8th place, but on 19,300 points they remain very much in the title race as does Julien Bontemps (JP / NeilPryde), who finished second in Costa Brava, on 19,200 points. With such a tightly sprung field a positive start is likely to going to prove very important as there really is no margin for error.
Justyna Sniady (Simmer / Simmer Sails / AL360) comes into the penultimate wave event of the year as the current world tour leader after securing back-to-back second places in Gran Canaria & Tenerife. The Pole is currently enjoying her best year to date on the world tour with her hard work paying off and she will be determined to defend her lead.
However, she will face a stern test with reigning world champion - Iballa Moreno (Severne / Severne Sails / Maui Ultra Fins - waiting in the wings and trailing by just 115 points after bouncing back from 4th place in Pozo with an excellent victory - despite not being 100% fit in Tenerife. That victory throws Iballa right back into world title contention, and another victory here would make winning 6 world titles on the bounce a real possibility with the season finale to come in Ho’okipa, Maui.
Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / NeilPryde / Maui Ultra Fins) has shown moments of brilliance in the opening two events, but so far this season, on the wave tour at least, she hasn’t peaked at the pinnacle moments. The Aruban comes into Sylt in third place after two-third place finishes and will know that defending her event title here from 2018 will be imperative to keeping her faint world title hopes alive for 2019.
Outside from the current top 3, the next biggest threat is likely to be Lina Erpenstein (Severne / Severne Sails), who missed the opening event of the year but then secured an excellent fourth place in Tenerife. The 22-year-old finished third her in 2018 - her best result to date - and should be there or there about again.
Elsewhere, keep an eye out for Maaike Huvermann (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins), Caterina Stenta (RRD / RRD Sails / AL360 / Maui Ultra Fins), who are currently ranked 4th and 5th respectively, 14-year-old Alexia Kiefer Quintana (Fanatic / Duotone), Arrianne Aukes (Fanatic / Duotone / Maui Ultra Fins) and Steffi Wahl (Sailloft Hamburg), who is just returning from a foot injury which forced her to miss the opening two events of the season.
Ricardo Campello (Brunotti Boards) currently leads the men’s Wave World Tour as the 33-year-old continues his quest to win his first wave world title - having won 3 Freestyle world titles at the start of his career. Last year Campello just missed out on the event and world title with Thomas Traversa (Tabou / GA Sails) staging a superb come back to thwart Campello’s world title aspirations. A second place again here would stand Campello in good stead heading into the season finale, but you can expect to see the Venezuelan/Brazilian gunning for the top again as he aims for his second victory of the season.
Coming into Sylt - Jaeger Stone (Starboard / Severne / SWOX) - is Campello’s closest rival with the Australian leaping into second place in the overall rankings after claiming his first victory on the world tour in Tenerife. Stone has earned one podium here in the last 3 years, while his worst result here since 2016 is 5th, so you can expect to see him at the business end of the contest again as he looks to stay in the hunt for the 2019 title.
Just behind the front two then come 4-time world champion and German hero - Philip Köster (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins) - reigning world champion - Victor Fernandez (Fanatic / Duotone) and both will be looking to notch up their opening wins of the season to thrust themselves firmly back into contention heading into Maui. Marcilio Browne (Goya Windsurfing) is then a place further back in 5th, but with the Brazilian currently trailing Campello by 3,517 points at the halfway stage, nothing short of a victory will do here.
Alex Mussolini (RRD / RRD Sails) has a phenomenal record in Sylt with the Spaniard winning here in 2016, while finishing 4th for the past two years, which will make him a real threat again, while defending event champion Thomas Traversa (Tabou / GA Sails), seems to have rekindled his competition flame - making him an obvious threat too.
The top 10 is currently completed by Antoine Martin (JP / NeilPryde) - 7th - who is enjoying his best season to date on the world tour. The same is also true of Marc Paré (Simmer / Simmer Sails) in 9th, while the German crowd will be gunning for Leon Jamaer (JP / NeilPryde).
Elsewhere, keep an eye out for Julian Salmonn (Bruch Boards / GUNSAILS), Robby Swift (JP / NeilPryde / SWOX), Gollito Estredo (Fanatic / Duotone), Adam Lewis (Fanatic / Duotone / SWOX), Dieter van der Eyken (Severne / Severne Sails) and Omar Sanchez (Star-Fish / KA Sail), who complete the top 16 at this stage.
With a solid forecast to come the next 10 days promised to be action packed with a variety of the world’s best windsurfing. Make sure you don’t miss any of the amazing action by tuning into www.pwaworldtour.com between 27th September to 6th October - here you’ll be able to watch everything as it happens via the PWA live stream.