Das war der Tag 5:
A dramatic final day sees Johan Søe disqualified as Blanca Alabau & Matteo Iachino are crowned champions of the world, while Lina Erźen & Amado Vrieswijk are awarded event titles
You couldn’t have written the script for the final day of the 2023 Fly! ANA Yokosuka, Miura Windsurf World Cup as what started out as a beautiful sunny morning, was soon replaced by an air of suspense as it was revealed that there were some discrepancies with a particular sailors registered equipment not falling within the allowed margin of error, which unfortunately led to the disqualification of at the time World Tour leader - Johan Søe (FMX Racing / Point-7 / F4 Foils) - a statement regarding the disqualification of Johan can be found at the bottom of this page.
Lina Eržen’s (Starboard / Severne Sails) debut on the PWA Slalom World Tour couldn’t have gone much better with the 18-year-old winning 4 consecutive bullets to deservedly earn her first win on the World Tour. The young Slovenian won 4 out of the 6 eliminations completed and that could’ve even been five if it wasn’t for her dropping her final gybe when leading Elimination 2 and she looks an exciting prospect for years to come.
With no further racing being completed on the final day in Japan that means that Blanca Alabau (Starboard / Severne Sails) walks away from 2023 as the Women’s PWA Slalom world champion for the first time in her career. The Spaniard has enjoyed a fantastic year - winning one event and finishing on the podium in all the other events and she can now relax and enjoy her achievements.
Justine Lemeteyer (FMX Racing / S2Maui) finishes the season as the vice-world champion for the second consecutive year, while Marion Mortefon (Duotone / Duotone Sails) completes the prestigious overall podium.
Matteo Iachino (Starboard / Severne Sails) has come so close to winning a second world title on numerous occasions since earning his first world crown in 2016 and it looked like he may cruelly miss out on another world title on countback. However, with the developments which followed later today, that means that the Italian’s wait for a second world title is now over and no-one could begrudge Iachino a second world title. The Italian was tied on points with Søe at the end of the season and he has been incredibly consistent - earning 3 podiums from 5 events, while his worst result was a 6th in Italy at the start of the year, so he deservedly earns his second world crown after so many near misses.
Matteo Iachino & Blanca Alabau celebrate
Amado Vrieswijk (Future Fly / Severne Sails) backed up his event victory in Sylt with another victory in Japan to sign off the season in style, which sees the Bonairean finish 2023 as the vice-world champion as his racing continues to go from strength-to-strength, while Maciek Rutkowski (FMX Racing / Challenger Sails) completes the overall podium.
We'll have a full round up in the event summary later this week.
Official Statement Regarding Johan Søe’s Disqualification
Following equipment inspection of the top riders at the PWA Slalom Finals in Japan, Danish sailor Johan Soe, DEN-37, was unfortunately found to have been using a sail that had been modified from its original factory specification and that did not meet the registered specification for the sail, including allowances for all measurement tolerances.
As such, under the rules regarding production equipment on the PWA Slalom World Tour, the protest committee had no choice but to disqualify Johan from the final event in Japan.
Whilst we sympathise with Johan to have lost the World Title under such circumstances, the rules are clear and the facts surrounding the modification of the sails, and the discrepancy between the registered specifications of the sails, and the sails Johan was using, are not in question.
The PWA takes the rules surrounding production equipment seriously and respects the efforts of the vast majority of brands and riders to adhere to the rules and compete fairly. As such, to ignore the use of equipment that had been physically modified and that did not meet the registered specification would have been unacceptable with respect to the fundamental principles of the rules.
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