What an exciting view (Pic: Carter/PWA)
Elimination 1: the French riders dominated in both fleets. We saw upsets in the first round of the men. Antoine Albeau broke a mast just before his heat and tour leader Matteo Iachino went to the wrong side of the finishing line, when crossing the finish in leading position in his first round heat. Some other big names like Ross Williams and Julien Quentel went out in the second round. Pierre Mortefon was fast in all rounds, won the elimination after a tough fight with Pascal Toselli and now sits in first place of the world ranking at the moment. 4 French riders made it in the top 5. But many more eliminations will come.
Elimination 2: the ladies fleet saw the same 3 ladies on top in elimination 2, Delphine Cousin won, ahead of Sarah-Quita Offringa and Lena Erdil. That’s the ranking after day 2. Sarah-Quita is still in a safe lead overall in the ladies ranking (e.n. she just has to finish in 7th at Noumea to win her second Slalom World title). Delphine and Lena would make it on the podium, if the rankings stay like now.
In the second elimination of the men Gonzalo Costa Hoevel took the hammer down and won his first elimination in 2015. Event leader Pierre Mortefon made it in 2nd and is on world title course as current leader Matteo Iachino went over early in round two. The second big mistake in the second elimination. The Italian actually is ranked 40th. Antoine Albeau, the second main contender for Pierre, finished 3rd in the losers final and actually is ranked 35th. But let’s wait a few more rounds. But looks like Pierre Mortefon is on incredible form. Tristan “Legs” Algret finished round 2 in 3rd place.
Elimination 3: Sarah-Quita Offringa won round 3. She had great board speed racing on 97 and 6,4m. Her main contender Delphine Cousin crashed really hard in the final. Cagla Kubat got second and Marion Mortefon 3rd. Miss Quita jumped on top in the event ranking now. In the men’s competition Antoine Albeau saw a big comeback and won round 3 by leading from the start till the finish. Pierre Mortefon was on his heals during the whole race and kept the event lead with another second place. Micah Buzianis – there are rumours he is participating in his last PWA Slalom – had great speed and finished in third.
Elimination 4: Again it is Sarah-Quita Offringa who wins the elimination. Delphine was leading the race till the second mark, but crashed and Sarah-Quita took the lead. Turkish racer Lena Erdil, who already trains for a month in New Caledonia – finished 2nd and Delphine limited the damage with a 3rd. The 4th men’s elimination saw a few upsets. Antoine Albeau again had an early exit in the quarter finals due to sudden light wind scenario after the first jibe. The door was open for Pierre Mortefon to extend his lead drastically, but he didn’t qualify for the winners final. Matteo Iachino as well missed out to qualify for the winners final. He crashed in the semi finals after the last jibe and lost time and ground and got overtaken by young talented Tristan Algret (21) and totally surprising Valentin Brault, who absolutely has a personal high at Noumea. In the end Micah Buzianias won elimination 4 just ahead of Taty Frans. The two former MauiSails riders had impressive speed in 17 to 25 knots of wind flying on their 7,8m sails over the course. Pascal Toselli saw a strong comeback with his third place.
Elimination 5: Delphine Cousin showed great endurance over the day and recovered from her heavy crash during the final of elimination 3. She wins the final elimination of day 3 and again is in leading position. Sarah-Quita, who finished in 2nd position, came closer to her 10th PWA World title. She needs a 7th at least, but currently discards a 2.0. She is actually Miss consistency in the women’s Slalom racing. Actually Delphine Cousin and Lena Erdil would make it on the podium in the overall ranking. Lena Erdil has great speed and is always there. She can win eliminations.
The final elimination 5 in the men’s fleet again saw Antoine Albeau on top. He is a rider, who never gives up and fights till the end. In little steps he works up the rankings and already is in 8th position with two high results. Still everything can happen in the title race. Antoine needs to improve his position by a few places to win the title again in 2015. Pierre Mortefon again had a great result with a third place in elimination 5 leading the event. Cyril Moussilmani, who stated he is just on holiday in New Caledonia – confirmed his great form finishing fourth and sits overall in 2nd. Julien Quentel gets in his usual rhyhm and made in 2nd place in elimination 5. Pierro Pierro has still a good safe lead and the lowest discard of the fleet. Current tour leader Matteo Iachino improved his ranking in the event and he actually is in 19th position. He needs the second discard and a few more good rounds. After two more eliminations another discard will change the rankings for sure a bit. Actually there are three more days to go in Noumea. It’s half time.
Elimination 6: Day 4 saw lighter wind conditions with 8 to 20 knots on the course. As the wind showed up later due to heavy cloud cover during the morning just one full round in both fleets got completed. Delphine Cousin won her 4th elimination. Lena Erdil made it in second and young Fulya Ünlü showed great skills in ligther wind conditions. That’s what she often has at Alacati, Turkey, where Fulya trains. Sarah-Quita Offringa produced a PMS (premature start) in the final and earned 10 points for that. That’s her discard. Delphine extended her lead in the event ranking, Sarah-Quita is in a safe 2nd position and Lena Erdil in a safe third position. These three ladies currently are the most consistent and fastest ones on the water. On their heels are Marion Mortefon, Fulya Ünlü and Cagla Kubat.
In the men’s fleet UK top racer and Formula top rider Ross Williams, he isn’t the most heavy rider, took advantage of the lighter wind conditions and won elimination 6. He now made it into the top 10 in the event ranking. Italien Malte Reuscher made it in 2nd. What a comeback in the event! And Antoine Questel 3rd. Micah Buzianis in 4th, Taty Frans in 5th and Cyril Moussilmani in 6th collected great results for their event ranking. Pierre Mortefon made it to the winners final, too, but went over early. What a bad luck! His main title contender Antoine Albeau won the losers final and still is in the game. Elimination 7 will bring in the second discard. The event has two more days and the wind forecast looks quite ok. We can expect 3 more eliminations. Actually Pierro Pierro is in a relatively save first position, but the other positions in the top 10 can change a lot through the second discard. Antoine Albeau can improve with a good result in elimination 7, Pascal Toselli can jump up a few positions, but Cyril Moussilmani, Taty Frans and Micah Buzianis are on great form actually. It will be a tough fight for Antoine to grab the title last minute. Actually there are 9 riders within 24.7 points. And the 20th, Sebastian Kördel, for instance is just 32,8 behind the 10th Ross Williams. Current tour leader Mateo Iachino improves his ranking day by day and actually is in 16th position, but it will be hard for him to return to the podium in this event, but the Italian still has the chance to make it inside the top 10. Let’s see, what the weekend will bring at Noumea! If you have time, just watch the live stream starting around 11.30 am.
Elimination 7: Delphine Cousine started with a bullet into day 5. She is on great form at the moment and dominates the event in Noumea this year again. On her heels in elimination 8 were Lena Erdil and Sarah-Quita Offringa. Wind were from 15 to 20 knots in this round. The losers final saw 3 riders over early. Ben van der Steen won the losers final ahead of Sebastian Kördel. In the winners final Cedric Bordes took the hammer down and won his first elimination at Noumea this year. Event leader Pierre Mortefon made it in 2nd, but had a photo finish with Antoine and main title contender Antoine Albeau in third. With that great result Antoine is back on top again in the overall year ranking. And we would like to mention that young kiwi Laurence Carey made his first winners final in his career.