The German slalom sailor Oliver-Tom Schliemann reports from his journey to the 2014 Awaza PWA World Cup in Turkmenistan on the Caspian Sea. And it is a journey into the unknown, a blind spot on the windsurfing spot map, which gets discovered.
They say it is the first international sports event ever hosted in Awaza, Turkmenistan. Awaza is a modern tourism zone and one of the favorite projects of the president of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov. The plan is to build 60 hotels until 2020, even a skiing center and a bike racing center are planned, with a total investment volume of 5 billion US$.  While Turkmenistan remains one of the world’s most repressive and isolated countries, this newly built region should be the window to the world in the future. But until this region will be a flourishing tourism zone a lot of things need to happen and we hope that not only the environmental issues in the Caspian Sea will be solved until then.
Further information:
Oliver Tom Schliemann 
Sailnummer: G-1001
Oliver-Tom is 23 years old and has won already several Youth World and Vice World Champion titles in different classes (Aloha, Formula, Mistral One Design, etc.). He has been on the PWA tour for some years and at the moment he concentrates, besides studying and working in his father’s windsurfing center in Eckernförde, on organizing his Beginner2Winner Academy for the summer. 
Text by Oliver-Tom Schliemann

One day before the start of the PWA event in Turkmenistan we had an amazing sand storm going on here. You couldn’t see 50 meters and the wind was blowing with gusts up to 40knots. We had wind all day long but the conditions were so crazy that only a bunch of guys tried it. Today there was the official opening ceremony with the president of Turkmenistan. Hundreds of people were working day and night to make this opening as perfect as possible. The president was planing to come around 11am but the organization didn’t know for sure, so they let everybody wake up at 6:30 so that we were ready, if the president would show up earlier.


Waiting for the president

Waiting for the president


Turkmenistan is a small country that is changing with the new president. He is applying new laws for the residents. His key rules are more education, more health and more sport for all. He is preparing the country for the rest of the world. Turkmenistan has one of the largest gas reserves of the world and is looking into a bright future. Half of the population is working for the goverment, so it is easy for the president to control his country. After the arrival of the president there was a show for him, where all sailors had to go to the water and besides there were many other sportmen were presenting their sports like: waterskiing, kitesurfing, wakeboarding, parasailing…

After the opening the rain kicked in and so we went for lunch.

Finally the first skippersmeeting of the event took place with some interesting news. There will be a different heat order, heats with 12 sailors (6 advancing) and giant marks, we are still looking for smaller ones.


Marco Lang and the giant mark | Basti Kördel & Gunnar Asmussen

Marco Lang and the giant mark | Basti Kördel & Gunnar Asmussen – Pic: OTS


The forecast is not looking so promising for the next days, but in the morning there is always strong wind. So the race director told us that there will probably be skippersmeetings at 5:30 in the morning. Let’s see and wait what happens.



First day of racing. The early bird catches one heat. The forecast looked only good for the morning, so the skippersmeeting was at 6am in the dark. The wind was offshore and pretty gusty, but the crew was so on fire to get an result that they started anyway. First up was the ladies final and we saw a start were many people were not planing over the starting line or later.
After pushing through that women’s heat, the first heat of the men including Björn Dunkerbeck and me was up! Björn wasn’t able to plane to the starting line so he couldn’t even fight for a place in the top 6! The course was very long and the wind was very gusty, so we had an interesting heat with many holes and after beeing in 5th position after the third mark the wind just stopped and me and Moussilmani stopped planing and were not able to pump because there was no wind! The guys from behind got a gust and passed us all.
After a lot of complaining on the beach the heat was valid. After that all other heats were cancelled and then the waiting began.
Oliver Tom Schliemann

Oliver Tom Schliemann

Slalom Action

Slalom Action

Until 4pm nothing happened and we just burned in the sun. Then the thermic winds came through and it looked like we get some great heats. But the wind was still very light and because of the new wind direction a lot of seaweed came into the course area. So, all competitors pushed hard at the start to get free wind and so it happened what had to happen. In heat 4 Antoine Albeau and Gunnar Asmussen went over early. I just want to mention the French teams, which was flying today, especially Pascal Toselli from the Point7 Team.
Tomorrow again skippersmeeting at 6am, so lets see what we get there. 🙂
Aloha and good night!