Last weekend I was participating for the very first time in the Austrian Slalom Nationals. The competition took place at Lake Neusiedler in Weiden. We had a good fleet of 30 sailors and a lot of rain on Saturday. But on Sunday the sky cleared up, the sun came through and the wind picked up to a max speed of 25 knots. It was a very special day for me, because I also had my debut in a Formula racing competition without any preparation.
The race crew started with a Formula race in very light wind conditions. I was on my 11,oÂ Code Red and the Formula 162. It felt really different to sail on such a wide board. Besides I am much more used to fight head to head for positions. The fleet was splitted in all kind of directions. My heart rate went definitely up, when I pumped on the 11,0 for a while. I had to open the zip of the wetsuit to get some fresh air for cooling down myself, when arriving at the upwind mark. And we only had 13-14Â° airtemperature. In the end I finished in 9th position in my first Formula race.
The wind picked up and we went for 6 rounds of Slaloms. The crew set a 4 mark downwind course with the first leg on porttack. My favourite starting direction. The fleet had 30 sailors. It was quite crowded at the line. In the first three races I sailed on iSonic 122, Vector 44 plus Code Red 8,8. The trimm was good , but I missed some knots. The wind was up and down and big windholes were on the course area. It was a tough fight with Markus PÃ¶ltenstein, who could beat me in the first 3 races. In race 4 the wind picked up to 25 knots and I was fully powered on 7,0 and 101 plus Vector Canfire 36. We had an awesome run, but the heat got cancelled, because too many guys were over early. While the restart the wind completely lost strength and I massively struggled arriving in 10th position at the first mark, but could overtake a lot of sailors with a hard carved inside jibe and finished in 3rd. That meant Markus was winning the this years 2009 Nationals. In race 5 I changed back to 122 plus the 8,1, because the gusts were still strong. The sail felt super quick this day. I had by 1,5 cmm more downhaul, but felt already some pain in the muscles. In the 5th race I had a good lead, but met a massive windlow before the last mark and lost the lead to Stojan Vidarkovic just 300 before the finishing line. In the final elimination number 6 I kept on going on the same gear setup and changed my starttactics. It paid off and I could win the race with a good distance towards my opponents. It felt good winning the final elimination.
Immediately after finishing the Slalom we continued with Formula racing. Two more rounds got sailed and the wind was much stronger compared to the morning. I did ok and finsihed once in 9th and once in 10th position. It was an ok debut out of my view. There were quite good sailors from Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovenia.
Overall it was a cool competition and I really wished to win in the Slalom competition, but also felt happy with the second position. Congrats to Markus, Stojan and all other competitors, who were fighting like animals.
Now itÂ´s time to keep up training and my plan is to compete in some Super Cup events in Slalom and Formula.
The PWA tour is over for 2009. I finished in 27thÂ in the overall Slalomranking and could improve from last year by 4 positions. In the moment there are no infos about the next years tourstopps, but I will try to improve my skills in all terrains and kind of windconditions. I also want to improve my jibes. The plan is to change the boardsizes. Instead of the 101 I plan to ride the iSONIC 111. As the biggest board I will use the 121 or the 131. Will test the 131 against the 121 from 2010 very soon.