Beautiful Bol in Croatia 2014

Travelling to Croatia always pays off. Great food, relaxed life style and super friendly people. This time my good friends Toni and Oki from the Zoo Station organized together with the IFCA the 2014 European Slalom Championships on the island of Brac. The event overlapped with the PWA event in Alacati, butI definitely wanted to participate at the Zoo Station. I have been knowing Toni and Oki for 12 years, participated in the good old times in freestyle competitions, did several trips to Brac together with Kerstin, Michi Schweiger or Tine Slabe and had good fights on the Slalom course at the famous “Golden Horn” (Zlatni Rat in Croatian language), the most spectacular beach in Croatia. The exposed beach formed by pebble rocks turns its horn according to the predominant current. When sailing next to the leeward side of the horn you can cruise through crystal clear flat water. That’s an unforgettable moment. Here is a beautiful shot from last year by Kerstin.

 

Cruising next to the Golden Cape, the famous Zlatni Rat (Pic: Kerstin Reiger).

 

Most of the time I travelled there during May or June or later in the season in October. This time we hit the island in the high season in the last week of August. The Adriatic Sea welcomed us with 26 ° water temperature. There was a lot going on in the town of Bol. A lot of tourists enjoyed their holidays on the Croatian island, which is well known for the beautiful atmosphere in the harbour, the relaxed beaches, the nice Maestral winds, the barren landscape, the tasty olive oil and the sweet-smelling bakery stores in Bol downtown. How nice is that. I really like to cruise with the longboard from the town to the Zoo Station windsurfing beach. We had our hotel room in the ancient stone building Kastil with the window facing the harbour. We were able to watch all sail or motor yachts entering the harbour. Every morning we enjoyed the breakfast on the terrace with a beautiful view over the harbour, the channel of Brac and the long stretched island of Hvar on the opposite and we were watching tourists leaving the harbour in little taxi boats visiting the neighbouring island or beaches around.

 

The view from the terrace of the Hotel Kastil with Island Hvar in the background (Pic: Kerstin Reiger)

 

 

The IFCA European Slalom Championships 2014

During the 7 days of our stay we had 6 days of competition with 3 days of wind. The wind was stable and suited well for 8,6m or 9,0m, but did not last too long. Sure, it was summer. It was hot. The wind started relatively late in the afternoon and stopped in between 6.00 and 7.00 pm. 91 competitors registered for the event. 26 youth riders, 6 women and 59 men.

With such a big fleet and the changing winds it took a long time to finish a full elimination. The channel in between Brac and Hvar island is quite deep and it wasn’t too easy for the race crew to fix the marks properly. But we definitely competed in the best wind period during the six days. The course was a 4 mark down wind slalom with a heat duration of 5 minutes. A huge starting boat made the starts quite tricky covering the wind along the starting line.

We did one full elimination. I made it to the winners final, but started too much upwind, got the bad wind at the line and we all suffered in dying winds on the first reach. James Dinsmore, the winner in the Masters Class (35+), couldn’t have said it any better.

 

“To be honest, it was very light in the final, very, very light indeed and going down the first leg I didn’t feel powered up, but some of the previous races I had power in my sail and I was flying, but this final was very light and I was trying the most out of these very difficult conditions, pumping a lot out of the jibes.” (James Dinsmore)

 

Croatian local Enrico Marotti from Rijeka, who started at the pin showed up in leading position at the first jibe mark and kept the lead till the finish line. On his heels was Italian Andrea Ferrin. I was battling for 6th place, but had a hard time to find the right gusts. Marco Begalli caught me on the last mark. The final result was a 7th overall and a 2nd in the masters category. Congrats to James Dinsmore, who won the Masters category. Was quite happy about it. I didn’t expect to feel so well on the big gear – I used Reflex 5 in 8,6m or 9,0m on the iSonics 107 and 117, because during the past 2 months I only used the smaller gear Slalom, from 7,0m down to 5,6m or small wave gear. But it did not matter much. It was really fun to feel good speed in light wind conditions on the big gear.

 

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The atmosphere at the Zoo Station  and in Bol

It was a great week indeed. We found time to swim in the warm Adriatic, spent great evenings in the Maze restaurant or in the Topolino and made a lot of new friends like a bunch of British dudes. Unfortunately the wind was not as stable as in June in the previous years. But the atmosphere in town and at the Zoo Station was great. It was cool to see a lot of young kids competing on the Slalom course. On the final evening we had a great award ceremony on the main square in Bol. It was great seeing a mix of windsurfers, tourists and locals cheering for us.

 

On stage on the final day together with the winner in the Masters Class James Dinsmore from UK (Pic: Kerstin Reiger)

 

 

 

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Canary Islands 2014

Spending time on the Canaries means always fun. It’s always warm there, you always meet a lot of friends and great windsurfing action is guaranteed. We travelled to Gran Canaria first, where we spent a great week at the Gran Canaria Wind and Waves festival 2014. The wind was fine, the waves ok. We saw an exciting wave event at Pozo and spent a great time at Meloneras, where we stayed at the  H10 Playa Meloneras Palace hotel this time. It was a real palace in the low wind zone, next to the beach.

We travelled from Gran Canaria to Fuerteventura, where we spent  awesome 18 days at Sotavento. I participated in the PWA Slalom. Was happy to get a place on the entry list. I had no result from Turkmenistan as I did not travel there.

At the event I had good starts and probably my best speed ever on the first reach. But somehow I was not able to take advantage of the good positions at the first mark. I only brought three sails (5.6 /6.2/7.0) and two boards  (iSonic 87 and 107) to Sotavento, but covered all conditions perfectly. Never used the 5.6m in competition. The wind never got stronger than 35 knots, but had a perfect set with iSonic 87 and 6,2 for the stronger days and iSonic 107 with 7,0 has such a wide range in medium wind conditions.

Finished the event in 52nd only. Was absolutely not happy with my result at my favourite windsurfing spot on tour, but felt that I missed some training definitely.

We saw a great freestyle competition with an impressive comeback of 5times freestyle world champion Gollito Estredo and a Sarah-Quita Offringa, who was on fire landing Konos, Toads or Culos.

 

The wind conditions got better and better , when the competitions were over.We decided not to leave Fuerteventura. Instead of travelling to Tenerife, that was our plan, we had a lot of great windsurfing days on the water. We really didn’t want to leave the island, but on August 9th it was time to say good by. See you soon, Fuerteventura..

Next highlight is the IFCA European Slalom Championship at Bol, Brac, Croatia August 26th – 31st

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Costa Brava Trip 2014

This year we decided to drive all the way down to Costa Brava, where the first PWA Worldcup of the season took place. The first two events on the calendar, the event in El Yaque and South Korea, got cancelled. Costa Brava was event number one in 2014. The wind was quite nice this year. I had a few good warm up days as we arrived 3 days prior to the event. It was great to windsurf with the top guys.

The spot itself i s a fun place. We had our camper parked next to the beach on the Camping Ballena Allegre. You don’t miss any wind there as you can have all the gear prepared in the shade.

The event started  in light conditions, but too much for my 9.0m I was on. The onshore breeze just picked up before my heat and  I lost ground during the race. In the following days the Tramontane made it over the Pyranees and I was on my smallest iSonic 87 with Reflex 5 7,0. Once I made it to the quarter finals and once I almost made it, but Josh Angulo kept me off. In the last elimination of the event I made an over early, together with Antoine A. and Taty. That has cost me a few places in the end. But was not unhappy with my performance in the end. I finished the event in 49th, but felt good speed in some races.

We stayed a few more on the wonderful camp and then drove back, all the way through France, spent a night at the French Italian border. We left the highway in the middle of the night at Menton and then spotted a camp at Latte. On the following day we drove all the way from Ventimiglia to Geneva next to the Mediterranean Sea. We drove through many beautiful villages and towns like Imperia, Alassio, Albenga, Finale Ligure, Savona or Varazze. It was a definitely experience to see this beautiful coastline, where the water colors are deep blue to turquise and the green hills of the back country make it quite close to the sea.

At the village of Noli the wind picked up and we thought to make it on the water for a short moment. But it was just a short gust and the wind died after a few minutes again.

On the following day, we already spent a night on a camping near Venice in Mira, we drove to Venice town and had a great day there. We should have done that trip to Venice much earlier…

 

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