Men’s Freestyle world title on the line, whilst Men’s & Women’s Wave plus Men’s Slalom fleets also in action as one of the biggest events in windsurfing returns
It’s that time of year again as the windsurfing world prepares for one of the biggest events of the season - the schauinslandreisen Windsurf World Cup Sylt, presented by got2b, which will see 4 fleets in action, while one world title will be decided over the next 10 days - with the event starting tomorrow - 22nd September and running until 1st October. Get ready for more world class from some of the finest Freestyle, Wave and Slalom sailors on the planet.
Racing action from last year
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.
Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / NeilPryde / Maui Ultra Fins) enters the penultimate wave event of the year with the world title race lead after finishing second in both Fiji and Pozo earlier in the season. The Aruban boasts an excellent record in Sylt having won the last two editions and she’ll have a hat-trick firmly set in her sights as she looks to take a giant step towards securing a third-wave world title - 22nd overall - a little later in the year in Maui, Hawaii. Offringa currently holds a 2,350 point lead over her closest challenger - Maria Andrés (Duotone/ Duotone Sails), who will be absent from proceedings here with the Spaniard excelling more in down-the-line conditions.
It’s likely Offringa’s main opposition will come in the form of Lina Erpenstein (Severne / Severne Sails), who clinched the final place on the podium in Pozo after producing a rousing comeback, which saw the German win 4 consecutive heats, while Justyna Sniady (North Sails / Maui Ultra Fins) will be looking to bounce back from a 5th place finish in Gran Canaria, and may well do just that, as she has finished second and third here in 2019 and 2022, whilst Steffi Wahl (Sailloft Hamburg) always remains a threat with her dynamic wave riding.
Elsewhere the youthful talents of; Sol Degrieck (Severne / Severne Sails), who at the age of just 13 years old earned her first podium at the recent Pacasmayo Classic in Peru, Maria Behrens (Fanatic / Duotone / Maui Ultra Fins) and Line Bang Wittrup (Goya Windsurfing), who are both 21, will all be vying to make their mark on the event.
With just the two Men’s Freestyle events this season, anything could still happen, but as things stand Yentel Caers (JP / NeilPryde) comes into Sylt in pole position. The Belgian earned his first event victory on the World Tour in Fuerteventura after defeating fellow world title contender - Adrien Bosson (Duotone / Duotone Sails / Maui Ultra Fins) - in a Super Final - meaning Bosson is ranked No.2. Both sailors currently have one world title apiece, with Caers winning his first world title in 2019, whilst Bosson is the reigning world champion and both men will be hoping to stake their claim for a second world crown come the end of the next 10 days. Caers and Bosson landed some of the biggest moves of the contest, but perhaps even more importantly it was their level of consistency that was extremely impressive, and with Sylt often producing some of the hardest freestyle conditions in the world, with lumpy water and strong rips playing havoc, consistency could once again prove key.
However, as already stated, with just the two events there really is no room for error as there is no protection of a discard, so whether it is through sailor error or equipment failure, anything really could still happen.
Antony Ruenes (Tabou / GA Sails) earned his first podium since 2014 at the recent Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam and another solid performance here would give him every chance of snatching a maiden world title, or at the very least being on the prestigious overall podium.
2021 Freestyle World Champion - Amado Vrieswijk (Future Fly / Severne Sails) - also features in the lineup here. The Bonairean is now a dedicated racer, but despite not really concentrating on Freestyle anymore he remains a serious threat, as illustrated by his fourth place finish in Fuerteventura. Could there be a second Freestyle world title on the horizon? You certainly wouldn’t rule it out, but he’ll be hoping for properly windy conditions.
Elsewhere, last year’s vice-world champion - Jacopo Testa (AV Boards / Point-7 / AL360) - produced a storming comeback in Fuerte, which saw the Italian come from the very first round of the double, to eventually claim fifth. If he’s on form Testa is more than capable of challenging for the event victory.
The other usual suspects to look out for include the likes of; Lennart Neubauer (Starboard / Severne Sails / Maui Ultra Fins), who also made a brilliant comeback in Fuerte, Youp Schmit (Tabou / GA Sails), Steven Van Broeckhoven (Starboard / GUNSAILS), Antoine Albert (Goya Windsurfing), Niclas Nebelung (Duotone / Duotone Sails / Maui Ultra Fins), who was unlucky against Ruenes in Fuerte, Dieter van der Eyken (Severne / Severne Sails / Black Project Fins), who often does well in Sylt’s challenging conditions, Takuma Sugi (Tabou / GA Sails / Black Project Fins) and Balz Müller (Severne / Severne Sails), who was arguably one of the most entertaining sailors in Fuerte, while he could be one of the few sailors who elects to Foil Freestyle depending on the conditions.
Dieter van der Eyken
Ricardo Campello (Naish / Naish Sails) continues to lead the Men’s Wave World title race, but his advantage at the top has been narrowed to 1,985 points by, good friend and rival, Marcilio Browne (Goya Windsurfing), who comes into Sylt having stood on top of the podium in Gran Canaria for the first time in his career in July earlier this year, while Campello was gutted to lose a place in the double - 4th.
Both men possess all the ammunition to win here in Germany and you can expect to them both gunning for the top as the title race continues to heat up. Campello has been training in onshore conditions in Venezuela, so whilst the climate may vary significantly, he’s clearly been putting in the hours to make sure he’s as ready as possible for Sylt as he aims to earn his first Wave world title, while Browne has been training in his homeland of Brazil in Fortaleza - also preparing as best he can for Sylt's conditions.
However, the current ranked top two aren’t simply going to have things all their own. Marc Paré will be an obvious threat with the Spaniard pushing last year’s event champion - Philip Köster (Severne / Severne Sails / Black Project Fins) - all the way in the final and you can expect to see the 25-year-old pushing for victory here again to keep himself in the contention for the world title. Köster will unfortunately be missing from the action after having to undergo surgery for a Lisfranc fracture. Everyone from the PWA wishes Philip a speedy and successful recovery.
It is also worth noting that the rankings could change quite drastically here - results depending - as this is the third 5* event of the year and they hold more weight than their 4* counterparts.
Antoine Martin (Starboard / North Sails) enters Sylt ranked 4th in the overalls and was able to win the event in Pacasmayo, Peru, albeit in very different conditions to what he will likely face here over the coming 10 days. Martin is an excellent all-round wave sailor and will be looking to record another solid result here to keep himself in contention for the world title decider in Maui.
Marino Gil (Goya Windsurfing) currently finds himself in 15th overall due to only having two counting results so far this season, but confidence will be sky high for the 21-year-old after recording a career best second place in Pozo Izquierdo in July. Gil could be a major contender again, while the young Spaniard could also fly up the rankings upon completion of the event.
Elsewhere, you can expect to see the likes of Victor Fernandez (Duotone / Duotone) - 4th here in 2022 - Thomas Traversa (Tabou / GA Sails) - event champion here in 2019 - and Germany’s very own - Leon Jamaer (Flikka / GUNSAILS) pushing for top results here.
Other sailors likely to be in contention include; Julian Salmonn (Bruch Boards / GUNSAILS), Jules Denel (JP / NeilPryde), Takuma Sugi (Tabou / GA Sails / Black Project Fins), Robby Swift (JP / NeilPryde), Morgan Noireaux (JP / NeilPryde), Liam Dunkerbeck (Starboard / Severne Sails / Black Project Fins) and Alessio Stillrich (Simmer / Simmer Sails), while Antony Ruenes could be a big danger here again having claimed several massive scalps in 2018.
So far this season there have been three racing events, each of which has produced a different winner; Maciek Rutkowski (FMX Racing / Challenger Sails) in Italy, Enrico Marotti (JP / NeilPryde) in Gran Canaria and Nicolas Goyard (Phantom / Phantom Sails / Phantom Foils) in Fuerteventura. Do you think we will see one of these sailors claim the top prize again? Or will the beautiful unpredictability of Men’s Slalom continue? Let us know your thoughts in the comments via Instagram or Facebook.
Reigning world champion and current World Tour leader, Maciek Rutkowski will certainly be hoping that he can secure a second victory of the season as he looks to remain in control of the title race. The Pole saw his overall lead at the top of the rankings reduced to just 100 points by Pierre Mortefon (Duotone / Duotone Sails / Phantom Foils) in Fuerteventura, so there is no margin for error between these two heavyweights. Mortefon himself has been leaving it late to pounce so far this season, but with his racing astuteness he is usually there or thereabouts come the end of the event.
Rutkowski on leading the rankings: "I dont really care I’m leading the rankings there is no trophy for leading in September. I really want to perform well in my first heat in Sylt, that's all I'm focused on right now. It's such a tricky place, never know what you're gonna get, so just gotta read and react. One thing's for sure: whatever happens, it's gonna be a dogfight! Hopefully, I wake that inner wolf up at the right time!"
Matteo Iachino (Starboard / Severne Sails) is currently 400 points off the top of the rankings, but the Italian earned his first podium of the season in Fuerteventura, and will be looking to build upon that momentum as the former world champion looks to close the gap on the top two to keep himself in the world title race conversation heading into Japan in November.
Meanwhile, Enrico Marotti (JP / NeilPryde) - currently 4th - experienced an up and down summer. The Croat claimed a quite brilliant victory in Gran Canaria before enduring a nightmare event in Fuerte with a plethora of savage crashes, but still managed to salvage a top ten finish - 9th - which sees him currently ranked 4th overall. Don’t be surprised to see the 32-year-old challenging for top honours again.
Rutkowski will be looking to avoid a repeat of last year where he saw the event victory snatched away from him in the very last elimination of the event by Amado Vrieswijk (Future Fly / Severne Sails), who enters the event ranked 5th overall. The Bonairean has improved in each event thus far with a 12th, 7th and a 4th and will be aiming to not only secure his first podium of the season, but also to try and defend his event title.
Nicolas Goyard (Phantom / Phantom Sails / Phantom Foils) made a winning return in his first appearance of the season in Fuerteventura, but in Fuerte he specifically registered small equipment to combat Fuerte’s typically strong winds, so with most of the racing likely to be completed in relatively light winds in Sylt, it will be interesting to see if he has the registered equipment to be competitive in the lower thresholds.
Like Goyard, several sailors who have been concentrating on the IQFoil for much of the year will also make their first appearances of the season with the likes of Germany’s very own Sebastian Kördel (Starboard / Severne Sails) and Brazil’s - Mateus Isaac (Severne / Severne Sails) - returning to the fray.
Johan Søe (FMX Racing / Point-7) comes into Germany on the back of his best result to date on the World Tour - second in Fuerte - and after missing the event in Gran Canaria, due to exams, the young Dane is one of the sailors who stands to gain the most here as he currently only has two counting results. Søe is currently ranked 25th in the overalls, but with another solid result here he could easily throw his name into the world title race conversation. Expect to see another big performance from the aptly named ‘Beast’.
Other notable names to look out for include; German duo Nicolas Prien (JP / NeilPryde), Michele Becker (Patrik / Patrik Sails / Patrik Foils) - currently 6th and 7th in the overalls respectively - Bruno Martini (JP / NeilPryde), Alexandre Cousin (Patrik / Patrik Sails / Patrik Foils) and Jordy Vonk (Duotone / Duotone), who complete the current overall top 10.
Elsewhere, Ingmar Daldorf (Tabou / GA Sails), Benoit Merceur (Starboard / Severne Sails), Scotty Stallman (Tabou / GA Sails), Cedric Bordes (Severne / Severne Sails) and Ennio dal Pont (Duotone / Duotone Sails) will be looking to sustain their place in the top 16, whilst William Huppert (Phantom / Phantom Sails / Phantom Foils) and Daniele Benedetti (FMX Racing / Challenger Sails) should also be in the mix.
The forecast looks like the event will see a relatively windy start with 10-20 knots winds currently predicted for the majority of the weekend. Make sure you stay tuned to www.pwaworldtour.comover the next 10 days - here you’ll be able to watch the contest unravel as it happens via the PWA live stream - with Ben Proffitt on hand to guide you through the best of the action.
Forecast for the opening few day
You can stay up to date with all the latest developments from Sylt — including live stream, elimination ladders, entry list, images and live ticker simply by clicking HERE and scrolling to the bottom of the page.
Also if you don’t already, follow us on our Social Media Channels:
- Facebook: @PWAWorldTourWindsurfing
- Instagram: @pwaworldtour
- Twitter: @pwaworldtour
- YouTube: @pwaworldtour