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Just attended the IFCA Slalom Worlds at Sylt from the 7th till the 12th of May. We went for four full rounds and got one discard. I had a slow start as I had no training on Slalom gear for many months. My new sails just arrived two weeks before the event start. But got tuned in better and better longer the event was on. We had very nice conditions with wind in between 10 and 25 knots and relatively flat water to choppy and wavy North Sea conditions. A great mix of all in chilly conditions.
I registered my brand new Reflex 4 in 9,2/8,6/ 7,8 and 7,0 plus my 2012 iSonics 117 wide and 107. The gear worked great and I was able to cover all conditions with the 42 rule. Good old days .It seems like the 8,6 is much more powerful compared to 2012 version and I can go in less wind as I lost a few kilos, too. A perfect sail for many board sizes. It works great on 117, 110, 107. For sure on 127, too.
We saw the first 2 eliminations on day 2 and I definitely struggled a bit. In the first elimination I missed the top 16 very close. A slow start and no speed on the first leg caused a fifth place in round 2. In elimination 2 I went too big in round one, was third for a while, but then crashed at a mark.
On day 4 and five we saw two more rounds. I felt fast on 8,6 with 117 wide and qualified for the winners final in round 3. Was fighting for place 6, but lost ground at the last mark and finished 8th in this final. But was really cool to sail with the top guys in a final.
Round 4 started great despite I was extremely overpowered on 8,6 and 117 wide. A little cold front was on the course. I switched to 7,8 mand 107. That was a big fault. The wind dropped by 10 knots or more. I had no chance to change gear as the start was far outside on the ocean and I only was able to cruise over the course finishing in 6th. Not enough for the top 16. A disappointing moment, but that’s racing. I should have stayed on the big gear no matter how windy it is. The wind is so shifty and can change a lot at Sylt, when it’s blowing onshore. Within 5 minutes strong gusts can loose all the power and you need the 80 cm width underneath your feet combined with a big sail. I really don’t know why I didn’t stay with 8,6 as I was able to hold it in 25 knots still in the first round. Go big or go home. That’s definitely an important rule for Sylt!
But I definitely felt the fire again. My body was full of adrenalin. Wow, racing can be so much fun. It’s my 9th season now after I started with this discipline, when I turned into 30 a few years ago. After a long winter break I am extremely hungry for the upcoming season. I want to go faster and more aggressive at the starts and jibes again. This was just the first event and much can happen during the season. The new boards should arrive during this week and there are three more weeks left for intense training till the next event, the Croatian Slalom championships in Bol, Brac. I feel it’s easier for me to choose the right gear. I easily can go with 8,6 in the lighter wind, but can hold this size pretty long. Now I need to tune my 7,8 a bit more and test all my 460ty masts to select the ideal ones.
My plan is to register the iSonics 97/107 and 117 for the PWA tour as we will not race in real high wind conditions like we had in the past at Sotavento. What a pity that we will not see a racing event at Sotavento. But let’s check how the forecast for Costa Brava will look like. Perhaps we will get strong Tramontana like two years ago and I am going to register a small Slalom board, too!!
What’s the resume about Sylt: The IFCA Worlds gave me the chance to test the Reflex 4 sails and get some excellent training at starts and marks. It was definitely worth to travel there as the conditions were nice and the racecrew on the water tried everything to run races. On the second last day they tried to run heats at eight in the evening, but the wind died in the end. It was cool to race with all the young hotshots and the best German Cuppers. Really hope to do better at the next event on Sylt, the PWA final in the end of September.
The level was excellent. A lot of young guys are sailing fast and tactically very well! 34 year old Gunnar Asmussen from Flensburg, one of the most experienced slalom racers of the whole fleet, had impressive speed and the will to win. He deserves the title as he prepared several months in Western Australia training with Patrik Diethelm. Vincent Langer sailed very solid and showed great jibing. He challenged Gunnar a lot. Big congrats to Jordy Vonk, who impressed everyone taking the third place. He improved a lot during the winter months But many sailors improved a lot during the winter months. It doesn’t matter, if they are young or masters already. Sebastian Kornum, Maciek Rutkowski, Andrea Rosati, Casper Boumann, Jean Floch or Ethan Westera were sailing very well.
I finished 22nd overall, but was happy to qualify for one winners final. Have a look on the full result here! Big thanks to my girlfriend, who supported me very well at the beach despite the temperatures were really low and some squalls with massive rain went over the event site during the event. See you on the water!
© Stevie Bootz/Choppy Water, Kerstin Reiger 2013
It was inspiring to see so many new innovative products at the ISPO 2013 in Munich, Germany. Met the crew of Starboard Germany, APM Marketing, Alois Stadler and Flo Brunner, the new importer for Starboard/Severne for Austria/Switzerland Karl Müller and many other people of the scene like Stevie Chismar, freelancer at the German SURF, Dani Aeberli, who started his work at Fanatic, Tine Slabe and his crew from Different, Ted Ligety, US Ski star, who won the Gold Medal in the SG at Schladming two days later…
Have a look at the shots
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!