A New Year, A New Season & A New Addition to the World Tour as Women’s Wave Fleet Head For Morocco
After a 4 month winter hiatus windsurfing returns to the biggest stage as the 2018 PWA World Tour kicks off in a brand new location for the best female wave sailors in the world to showcase their talent.
The new location in question is the home of Moroccan hero - Boujmaa Guilloul (Starboard / Severne / Mystic / Shamal Sunglasses) - who has played an integral role in bringing the world tour to his home of Moulay Bouzerktoun between the 1st-7th April
Over the year’s Guilloul’s radical style has caught the eye of many, while showcasing the world class potential of Moulay, which has grown in popularity to windsurfers from all over the globe in recent years thanks to its reliable trade winds and powerful, clean Atlantic swells, which transforms it into a wave sailors dream. Moulay itself is located approximately just 30 minutes from Essaouira and offers a unique blend of traditional Moroccan culture merged together with the realms of windsurfing.
Reigning World Champion - Iballa Moreno (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins) - will start the opening event of the year as favourite having won the Women’s PWA Wave World Championship for the last 4 years running. Iballa is well known for her wave riding prowess and is equally adept on starboard tack, as she is port, so she’ll be looking to make the perfect start to her title defence.
However, the reigning world champion certainly won’t have things all her own way with a long list of rivals waiting to try and claim the scalp of the current Queen. First in line will be her sister - Daida Moreno (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins) - who will be looking to make a strong start to the season as she looks to regain the world title, which she last won in 2013. Daida may not be quite as lethal on starboard tack as she is on port, but as one of the most decorated female sailors in windsurfing history, she can never be ruled out from going all the way.
Next up is Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / NeilPryde / Maui Ultra Fins), who has been steadily reducing the deficit between herself and the legendary Moreno twins since completing her first full season in the waves in 2014. Offringa’s rise through the wave fleet has seen her complete the prestigious podium for the last 3 years and she’ll be a very real threat in Moulay - especially having won the Aloha Classic in 2016.
Last year proved to be the year for Lina Erpenstein (Severne / Severne Sails) to really break through the ranks as she finished 4th overall for 2017. The young German really caught the eye last year as she opened the season by claiming her first ever podium finish during the Gran Canaria Wind & Waves Festival. The 21-year-old recently travelled to Tarifa for some last minute starboard tack training so it will be interesting to watch how the competition unfolds over the next week.
Unfortunately, last year’s World No.5 - Justyna Sniady (Simmer / Simmer Sails / AL360) has been forced to miss the opening event of the season in Morocco due to issues with gaining her visa in time. The PWA looks forward seeing Justyna competing during the remaining events of the season.
Current Youth PWA Wave World Champion - Nicole Bandini (Fanatic / NorthSails) - finished 7th overall for 2017 and will be looking to make a solid start to the year as the 19-year-old looks to continue her upward trend having improved every year since making her debut in 2014 (31st 2014, 13th 2015, 11th 2016 & 7th 2017).
Also looking to make a strong start to the season will be Italian duo Greta Benvenuti (99NoveNove / Challenger Sails / AL360) and Caterina Stenta (RRD / RRD /Sails / Maui Ultra Fins) and Holland’s Arrianne Aukes (Fanatic / NorthSails / Maui Ultra Fins), who finished 6th, 8th and 9th respectively last season. Aukes, in particular, could be a slight dark horse having finished 2nd during the IWT’s Baja event in 2017 - which is also starboard tack.
New Kid on the Wave Block
Oda Johanne (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins) is no stranger to the competition scene having played professional handball, before establishing herself as one of the top female freestylers in the world over the last 4 years. However, the week ahead marks slightly new territory for the Norwegian, who will be making her debut on the wave world tour and could well be a serious threat. There have been plenty of training videos highlighting the 28-year-olds jumping prowess on starboard tack with forwards, backloops and pushloops all added to her repertoire, so if her wave riding is anything like she could well be set for a deep run in the contest.
Lena Erdil (Starboard / Point-7 / AL360) made her debut in the waves in Tenerife last year and she returns to the fray in Morocco as does Women’s PWA Freestyle Vice-World Champion - Maaike Huvermann (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins) - who last appeared in the waves in 2016 when she finished joint 9th in Sylt, Germany. Meanwhile, Mariah Andrés (Fanatic / NorthSails), who used to compete in both slalom and waves, also lines up again and will be hoping to replicate the form which saw her finish 6th in Maui during the 2014 Aloha Classic.
As well as being the stage for the opening women’s wave event, Moulay will also play host to some of the best male wave sailors in the world with the men’s qualifier - ran in assocation with the International Windsurfing Tour - which started on the 27th March and runs until 7th April. The likes of two-time Aloha Classic Champion - Morgan Noireaux (JP / S2Maui), Antoine Martin (JP / NeilPryde), Alex Grand-Guillot (Fanatic / NorthSails), Gustav Haggstrom (Simmer / Simmer Sails) and Moulay’s very own Boujmaa Guilloul will all be in action.
*The top two riders from the top 20 of the qualifier, not already qualified, will gain automatic entry into the Gran Canaria Wind & Waves Festival.
The current forecast looks as though it may be a relatively relaxed start to the event before an epic prediction for midweek with 20-28 knot north easterly winds accompanied by waves of 3.7-4.1m at 15 seconds, which could show Moulay at its world class best. To stay up to date with all the latest developments from Morocco — including elimination ladders, entry list, images and live ticker simply click HERE and scroll to the bottom of the page.
Schedule for Day 1:
Registration - 10am-11am (GMT+1)
Skippers’ Meeting - 12:30pm (GMT+1)
First Possible Start - 1pm (GMT+1)