For the first time since 2017, the PWA World Tour is delighted to return to Hvide Sande, Denmark, for the 2019 Waterz Festival, which takes place between 9th-14th September. Over the next 6 days the world’s fastest women and men will be battling it out in their 3rd and 4th fights of the season for those all important world tour points as the tour heads into the second half of the year.
An aerial view of the racing in 2017
Hvide Sande is a small town in the middle of the Holmsland Dunes and placed around the artificial canal which connects Ringkøbing Fjord to the North Sea, in the western part of Central Denmark, formerly Ringkjøbing County. This small town is only home to around 3,500 inhabitants for much of the year, but duringtJuly and August this can rise by as much to 20 times more with the area proving extremely popular with tourists looking for a quieter break away from city life and of course with watersport enthusiasts with the fjord creating a perfect playground for a vast array of sports.
In both 2016 and ’17 - Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / NeilPryde / Maui Ultra Fins) - came out on top here in Hvide Sande, but the Aruban, who last competed on the racecourse in June 2018 will face a tough task to defend those event titles with reigning world champion - Delphine Cousin Questel (Starboard / S2Maui) - currently dominating the women’s racing circuit. Cousin Questel is currently on an 8 event winning run (6 Slalom & 2 Foil), which stretches back to November 2017 and she’ll be extremely difficult to stop again. However, with 4 Slalom world title herself, Offringa can never be ruled out!
Delphine Cousin Questel
Up to this point, Marion Mortefon (Fanatic / Duotone) has been Cousin Questel’s closest rival with the 27-year-old finishing as the runner up on both occasions in Japan and South Korea earlier this season. Mortefon has continually increased her level over the last few seasons and has developed into one of the top names in women’s racing and you can expect to see another strong showing from her this time out. In 2017 Mortefon also completed the podium here.
Maëlle Guilbaud (Patrik / Loftsails) currently completes the overall top 3 coming into Denmark after backing up an excellent 4th place in Japan with a superb podium in South Korea. The 22-year-old finished 5th here in 2017, but has a lot more experience under her belt since then and you can expect to see her pushing for the podium again together with Lilou Granier (Starboard / Phantom Sails), whom she pipped to the podium in South Korea.
Lena Erdil (Starboard / Point-7 / AL360 / Chopper Fins) is still battling to return to full fitness more than a year after suffering a Lisfranc Fracture. The 30-year-old is still ranked 4th overall in the world after two events and will have aspirations of challenging for the podium, but just how much that injury affects her performance, particularly if there is a lot of racing remains to be seen.
Elsewhere watch out for Oda Brødholt (Starboard / Severne / Maui Ultra Fins), who earned her first Slalom podium in France in April and returns to the racecourse here having missed the Asian leg of the tour.
Other names to keep an eye out for include Fulya Ünlü (Starboard / Point-7), who has undoubted potential, but tends to be very inconsistent of late, Océane Lescadieu (S2Maui), currently ranked 6th, Nimet Tulumen (KA Sails), Esther de Geus (Fanatic / Duotone), who also returns for the first time since France and Jenna Gibson (Fanatic / Duotone), who has previously won eliminations.
The last two event titles here went to two very familiar faces - Matteo Iachino (Starboard / Severne) in 2016 and Antoine Albeau (JP / NeilPryde) in 2017 and you wouldn’t bet against either one of them, or the final member of the big top 3 - Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / Duotone / Chopper Fins) - from claiming the top spot on the podium come to the end of the event. The big top 3 were in a league of their own in Fuerteventura and if they are in the same kind of mood they could dominate again over the next 6 days.
Albeau holds a healthy 600 point lead at the top of the rankings coming into Denmark, but with a discard coming into play at the end of the event he could see that lead completely erased depending on how results play out with Mortefon - currently ranked 3rd - and Iachino - currently 5th - looking to discard a 12th and 25th place respectively.
Jordy Vonk (Fanatic / Duotone) is currently Albeau’s closest rival, but the flying Dutchman lost ground in Fuerteventura after finishing 7th there. The 26-year-old was ill prior to Fuerte and also lost a significant amount of weight, but if he’s now back to full fitness and strength you can expect to see him in and around the podium positions once more - Vonk started the season with a 4th and a second.
Mateus Isaac (JP / NeilPryde) and Tristan Algret (Starboard / Severne / Chopper Fins) are currently both enjoying their best season to date on the world tour - 4th and 6th respectively - and both men will be looking to continue that momentum heading into the second half of the season.
Ross Williams (Tabou / GA Sails) has been one of the most impressive sailors behind the big top 3 in recent years and the Brit is usually a sure fire safe bet for the top 10 - with the potential to challenge for the podium if in the right form, while Julien Quentel (Patrik / Gun Sails) showed why he’s also one of the best in Fuerteventura - 4th. The duo are currently ranked 7th and 8th respectively and could both feature heavily.
At this stage of the season the overall top 10 is completed by Finian Mayard (FMX Racing) and Ethan Westera (Tabou / GA Sails), but it’s still very tight behind them with Antoine Questel (I-99 / S2Maui), Marco Lang (Fanatic / Duotone), Cedric Bordes (Tabou / GA Sails), Enrico Marotti (JP / NeilPryde), Basile Jacquin (I-99 / Point-7) and Ingmar Daldorf (Tabou / GA Sails) all in that chasing pack looking to move from the overall top 16 into the top 10.
Finian Maynard & Enrico Marotti
Elsewhere, Maciek Rutkowski (FMX Racing / Challenger Sails) is currently tied on 25,250 points with Ingmar Daldorf, but the Pole comes into Denmark on the back of his best result on the world tour - 6th in Fuerteventura - where the 27-year-old sailed superbly, never finishing out of the top 14, while without some incredibly bad luck he could have finished even higher. Rutkowski looks to have found a new level of maturity and if he comes to Denmark with that same level of consistency he could well be attacking the top 5 and beyond.
Also keep a lookout for Sebastian Kördel (Starboard / GA Sails), who was unable to race in Fuerteventura after suffering a nasty cut to his foot just before the racing was due to the start. The German finished on the podium here in 2016, while he also earned a podium finish in France earlier this year and could be a threat again.
As normal there are a plethora of other sailors who are more than capable of battling it out for the top 16 and beyond such as; Pascal Toselli (JP / Loftsails / Chopper Fins), Bruno Martini (I-99 / Challenger Sails), Alexandre Cousin (Patrik / Phantom Sails / Chopper Fins), who sailed impressively in Fuerte, Sebastian Kornum (JP / NeilPryde), who will be hoping for a strong performance on home waters, plus the likes of Cyril Moussilmani (RRD / RRD Sails), teammates Arnon Dagan (Future Fly / NeilPryde) and Taty Frans (Future Fly / Point-7), while fellow Bonairean - Amado Vrieswijk (JP / Severne) also returns to the lineup having opted not to compete in Fuerte.
One other name to mention is Vincent Langer (Fanatic / Duotone), who while may not compete on every stop of the tour more than has the ability to mix it with the best in the world. The German finished 4th here in 2016, which also included a bullet and previously earned an event podium - Sylt 2017.
With a promising forecast to come the 2019 Hvide Sande PWA World Cup promises to be a wild, windy and at times wet affair with hopefully plenty of exciting racing to come. Make sure you don’t miss any of the action by tuning into www.pwaworldtour.combetween the 9th-14th September - here you’ll be able to see everything as it happens via the PWA live stream.
The promising forecast for the event
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Schedule Day 1 | (All Times GMT+2)
Skippers’ Meeting: 13:00
First Possible Start: 14:00
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Current Ranking 2019 PWA Slalom World Tour - Women’s
*After two events
1st Delphine Cousin Questel (FRA | Starboard / S2Maui)
2nd Marion Mortefon (FRA | Fanatic / Duotone)
3rd Maëlle Guilbaud (FRA | Patrik / Loftsails)
4th Lena Erdil (TUR | Starboard / Point-7 / AL360 / Chopper Fins)
5th Lilou Granier (NC | Starboard / Phantom Sails)
Current Ranking 2019 PWA Slalom World Tour - Men’s
*After three events
1st Antoine Albeau (FRA | JP / NeilPryde)
2nd Jordy Vonk (NED | Fanatic / Duotone)
3rd Pierre Mortefon (FRA | Fanatic / Duotone / Chopper Fins)
4th Mateus Isaac (BRA | JP / NeilPryde)
5th Matteo Iachino (ITA | Starboard / Severne)
6th Tristan Algret (GPE | Starboard / Severne / Chopper Fins)
7th Ross Williams (GBR | Tabou / GA Sails)
8th Julien Quentel (SXM | Patrik / Gun Sails)
9th Finian Maynard (KV | FMX Racing)
10th Ethan Westera (ARU | Tabou / GA Sails