Tag Archives: Chris Pressler
It was one of the most exciting and windy Sylt finals since I participated in the event at the North Sea for the first time in 2005. It was the 8th time competing on the island, where Jürgen Hönscheid, the former German waveking, grew up and where more than 10.000 spectators show up every year.
It´s great to compete there, even to rig a sail as people show up, talk to you, ask for signatures, analyse your results. That´s definitely an event, where the contact to fans and other windsurfers is quite high.
And in between all this positive vibes I made a big fault in my first race. I was placed in a good third position after the final mark. Antoine Albeau was behind me as he crashed very hard on the third leg. Looked like he hit anything in the water. Andrea Rosati and Ludo Jossin passed the last mark on the left hand side. I almost was over the finish line, but was convinced that both of them went on the wrong side. I had the words from the skippersmeeting in my mind: “You must jibe around the last mark .” And that was what I did.
And that was wrong. The racecrew decided to change the course, while I was out on the water getting ready, testing a new fin and prepare on the water for my start. Nobody told me, that the crew had changed the course. What a bummer! There was just a meter and 50 cm in between right and wrong. I did not have any advantage due to the fact that I passed the line windwards. But within a part of a second I felt that something was very wrong, when my nose of the board spotted outside the North Sea . It was a horrible moment as I knew how close the fight for the worldtitle was. The boat of the racecrew was parked relatively close on the upwind side of the mark, what confused me too. And I was not able to spot the leeward placed finishing flag at the shore as this flag was placed really far upwind. I got disqualified. And Antoine made it up into the second round, what was extremely necessary for him to win the title. We only had two valid eliminations in the end of the event and it was not possible to correct the mistake.
“As the sailors headed down the final straight Antoine Albeau found himself outside of the qualifying places in fifth. However the Frenchman received an early Christmas present, due to Chris Pressler (Starboard/Severne) crossing the finish line on the wrong side of the buoy and being disqualified as he missed the fact that a new course had been set. This resulted in Albeau moving up to fourth place, before going on to win the entire elimination.” (quote of Chris Yates, PWA Press officer)
After a fault like this you quarrel with fate for a long time. That´s the reason I now updated my blog with the report about this mistake, not earlier after the event. Arnon Dagan told me staright after my fault: “Pack your gear and travel back home!” At this moment I didn´t believe it that I went wrong! Straight after the mistake had happened I had to explain what happened to Ben Proffitt, who was the moderator at the livestream. He thought that a wave pushed me up. But that wasn´t the reason as we had reallly small waves compared to other races in previous years.
I understood that faults can happen, but was extremely disappointed. I tried to give it all in the following two rounds and made it up in the third elimination into the second round. But afterwards the wind did play a crazy game. The seabreeze always showed up an hour before sunset. The boats of the racecrew had to leave back to the harbour, which is located one hour away from the Westerland beach. The final day saw awesome wind, but big waves and a lot of current. There was no chance to get the boats out and it would have been hard to guarantee the safety.
Overall the action was great at Sylt with a full double elimination in Wave for women and men, a full double elimination in Freestyle, an explosive Night Session, a nice Filmfestival and two rounds of Slalom. Let´s hope that 2013 will see more Slalom racing again. Thanks to everyone, who supported me in 2012!
Now, back at my homespot Lake Neusiedl, I had some really nice sunset sessions with the sun setting behind the soft hills. It´s amazing how beautiful the conditions are in late fall. Just a few guys are out there with their sailboats, kites or windsurfing boards…and me.
I am looking forward to get prepared very well for 2013. No tourplan got released until now, but we can expect races in South Korea, Spain, Canary Islands, perhaps France, Turkey, Holland and Germany. Perhaps we will see an early start of the racing season in the first week of March 2013 at Mui Ne, Vietnam. In 2011 we had an exciting PWA Worldcup there.
And I really hope to have some nice waveriding sessions during the wintermonths. That´s what I´ve been missing for quite a long time already.
The this years Turkey trip was a great one! We had a lot of wind at Alacati in the end of August, what´s unusual. We travelled to one of my favourite countries despite we have to pay an entry fee each time. I must write now: Alacati is a great place for windsurfing and so fantastic for Slalom racing and testing gear.
A lot of stuff was going on there at Alacati in 2012: At the beginning of our 12 day long stay I sailed in the fifth PWA Slalom competition of the season. I started excellent in the first round, but then was not able to continue like I started into the competition. But still tried to enjoy the great conditions and finished the whole event with an over early in the last elimination. It was the first over early during this season and the worst result in my entire slalom career. The speed was fine, but too often went into the dirty air zone of my opponents, jibed too conservative and did not risk enough at the starts. The first reach was extremely short, around 21 to 25 seconds. At my last start I was pushing really hard as I felt underpowered on my 7,8 and 107 and went over the line too early by more than a second. I started 2 meters next too the boat and it was a very visible over early. Some minutes later the same round got cancelled and resailed. But I was out already. What a stupid mistake!
Despite the bad result ranked 54th only this event tought me a lot. On the one hand we had 9 full rounds sailed after 5 days, on the other hand I was caddy for Björn again and often sailed on not ideal gear. I sailed up and downwind on too big gear and learnt to get a better handling in overpowered or underpowered conditions. His gear is always tuned in very accurate and easy to control, even when the wind picks up. So it´s possible to keep a 85 cm wide board in control, when the wind picks up to 20+ knots.
Antoine dominated the event and took his first victory in this season. Congrats!
The 2012 trip on the Canary Islands was a great one. A lot of island hopping and changing places, what guranteed a lot of different surroundings. It started with some nice days on Fuerteventura´s east coast. Later I got the chance to watch the most radical onshore wave events ever. Gran Canaria saw windgusts up to 60+ knots and Tenerife as well had very windy conditions. In between a short trip to Sotavento and in the final a two weeks long stay on Fuertventura.
“I travelled more than 20 times to the Canary islands and started back in 2005 with Slalom racing at Sotavento. Most of the trips were to the island of Fuerteventura. And never I returned disappointed. There are so many spots and you will always find the spot, which works with the actual wind- and waveconditions. And the life is pure: simple food, a lot of fish, no traffic jams and a lot of nice people!”
I competed in the PWA Slalom at Sotavento in the end of July this year as well. It was my 8th participation. We sailed 50 knots conditions the days before the event started. That was extremely exciting, fully powered on the Reflex III 5,6 m, my smallest Slalom sail and on the iSonic 87 with a 32 cm long fin. It definitely paid off to bring this small sail size.
Later, when the competition was on, I did not think once to use the smallest kit. We had light to medium wind conditions and sailed for the very first time in my career in a wrong heat. But shared this experience with Taty, who did the same fault. Since that day I will have a look on the heatboard twice, before I will start my run towards the starting line.
The time on Fuerte was great one. Met many friends, had some wavesailing sessions, too, sailed at Puerto Lajas – that´s a pure wavesailing and surfing spot, with my Slalom kit. I spent a lot of great hours with Kerstin. The Canaries are a great place to be during the summer months if you are in favour of high wind sailing.
Here is a gallery with some nice shots from this time. Thanks to Kerstin Reiger, Susanne Timm and John Carter for the fantastic shots. Also added some shots, which I took.
Next stop will be Alacati, Turkey. Will get on the plane tomorrow. There are several interesting things happening. It will start with the 5th PWA Slalom of the season, followed by a local Red Bull event. Will as well participate in the Starboard iSonic testing and drive around in the area to sail some new spots. The windforecast looks excellent. Have a look on the starting list at Alacati and follow the livestream from Monday on!