For the third successive year, the PWA returned to the shores of Alaçati, Turkey for the Pegasus Airlines World Cup. The picturesque Turkish town of Alaçati delivers six days of non-stop wind to crown two World Champions, and witness a spectacular battle for the men’s event title in the final decisive race of the competition.
With tensions mounting on the final day of competition, the ensuing last race of the event would prove to be make or break for Björn Dunkerbeck and Antoine Albeau, who sat just 0.4 of a point apart at the top of the score sheet. For Albeau to rob Dunkerbeck of the event lead, he’d have to place in the top six, and beat Dunkerbeck in the final race. Likewise, for Dunkerbeck to take the event title, he’d have to place higher than Albeau.
In a warm up for the race final, Albeau and Dunkerbeck were pitched against each other in the semi finals. The resulting brawl saw Albeau gain a psychological boost when he crossed the line in second, two places above Dunkerbeck, however it was Finian Maynard that commanded the heat.
Coming down to the wire, the event title now hinged on the critical race final, with the winner quite literally taking all. As the green flag went up, Dunkerbeck seized the early advantage with a perfectly timed start. Off the pace, Albeau ran into problems when he caught a bag around his fin. The resulting drag left him towards the back of the pack, and stuck in dirty wind.
In contrast, Dunkerbeck, who seemed to be thriving under the pressure, screamed ahead of his nearest rival, Peter Volwater in second. By the fourth mark, Dunkerbeck was half a reach ahead, meaning the final straight was a mere formality en route to claiming the event title.
Crossing the finish line, the multiple world champion was greeted with wave upon wave of cheers and applause, as ecstatic fans congratulated the newly crowned event winner.
Albeau had little control over his result, and eventually crossed the finish line in tenth place. The crowd were then treated to a rare spectacle, as two of windsurfing’s most iconic figures congratulated each other on their latest achievements; Dunkerbeck the event winner, and Albeau, whose second overall for the event was enough to crown him the 2008 PWA Slalom 42 World Champion.
The final women’s race of the event would have little baring on the top positions, with Valerie Ghibaudo and Karin Jaggi already cemented in positions one and two, regardless of the outcome.
Even so, there was pride at stake, and the consummate professionals launched into one last awesome battle for all to enjoy. This time round it would be Jaggi’s day, as she cruised to victory with Gibaudo close behind in second. Much like the men’s result, Ghibaudo was crowned event winner, but Jaggi’s second overall for the event was enough to crown her the 2008 Women’s Slalom World Champion.
Text: © PWA/Andrew Buchanan
1st Björn Dunkerbeck (Starboard, North)
2nd Antoine Albeau (Starboard, NeilPryde)
3rd Ross Williams (Tabou, Gaastra)
4th Finian Maynard (RRD, NeilPryde)
5th Kevin Pritchard (Starboard, Gaastra, MFC, Dakine)
1st Valerie Ghibaudo (Tabou, The Loft)
2nd Karin Jaggi (F2, North)
3rd Verena Fauster (F2, Gaastra)
4th Lena Erdil (The Loft)
5th Sarah Hebert (Starboard, Naish)