With over 40 knots of wind for the third day of the Fuerteventura World Cup, slalom racers pushed the boundaries of the discipline. Julien Kerneur takes the lead after eight races and Gisela Pulido solidifies her first Place. Five races were run, three in the morning with about 25 to 30 knots and two in the afternoon when gusts of wind were hitting over 40 knots. The racing was absolutely amazing, with the riders consistently reaching speeds over 30 knots. The wind became so strong that the slalom boards became uncontrollable and most competitors switched to twin tips.
The format remained the same with two semifinals and a final for the men, and one final for the women for every full ladder of racing. All five men’s finals had five different winners giving everyone the opportunity to win. The conditions became so tough, that the winners were the fastest ones that could stay in control throughout the entire race. On the women side Gisela Pulido andPaula Novotna traded first places until Paula had massive crash VIDEO in race number eight and was done for the day, hopefully she will recover fast and be ready for freestyle.
Gisela Pulido won her first final of the day, Paula Novotna was right on her tail the whole race but could not close the gap. Karolina Winkowska came in third. The men’s race was exciting with Adam Withington getting a great start and taking the lead early. Oswald Smith was taken out by Patrick Blanc but still managed to finish fourth, while Paul Serin finished second with Lewis in a close third.
In race number five, Adam Whitington came out in front again, but halfway through the race crashed and was unable to recover. Julien Kerneur took the lead and maintained at the whole time, with Oswald Smith right behind him until the finish. Ariel Corniel and Reno Romeu battled all the way to the finish line with Ariel taking the third place. Novotna won race face for the women with Gisela in second and Winkowska in third.
In race number six the top three racers did not make the final this open the door for Ariel Corniel to win his first race, followed by Paul Serin and Neto, Reno Romeu came in third. This number six was won by Gisela Pulido, with Novotna in second and Winkowska in third.
Race seven was won by Paul Serin, Followed by Ariel Corniel who really found his rhythm in the strong winds and was probably the fastest rider during the afternoon. Neto got another good results finishing third. Reno and Biniasch were four and five, with Kerneur being called early and disqualified. For the women Novotna won again, With Gisela in second. Winkowska decided not to race and rest for freestyle, Rosinka Capitalized on this and finished third.
The final races were extremely intense with the wind picking up even more. The women’s heat was carnage with all four girls crashing on the first reach. Pulido won, followed by Rosinska, Novotna was hurt in a massive crash and then tangled with Titova. The men’s race was extremely fast with Reno getting the win followed by Patrick Blanc and Kerneur. Corniel was fourth with Biniasch in fifth. Afterwards the race director decided to call it for the day due to the strong winds.
The entire day of slalom racing kept pushing the boundaries of slalom racing. Twin tips boards became the norm in winds over 30 knots, will have to wait the next event to see the models come out to compete in these types of conditions. Tomorrow the wind looks really strong and the racing will stay exciting.
To encourage participation in the slalom events, its a good thing at this time to have it as an open class. By making the legs shorter and adjusting the angles to the wind, they can 'tune' the course to give twintips a chance of winning.
You might find that there is too big a range of boards being used though and the serious slalom racers will eventually need to have a series with some limits on the equipment used. You could even have courses where a foil board was the fastest board on the course.
Windsurfing slalom allows two boards and 4 sails, with a maximum board width of 80cm and maximum sail size of 10m. They may eventually have something similar in kite slalom, but for now, the twin tippers seem to be enjoying it and they are also learning about racing and tactics.
Slalom is an event which needs numbers to run properly. In 2012 there were 126 slalom racers who competed in the windsurf championship, with about 80 entrants per event, so they could run 8 man heats and finals.
For now though, they are doing the right thing to get numbers into the kite slalom events and eventually, if its enough fun and they can keep the costs down the numbers will increase.
mike holmes wrote:
These boards have no upwind ability whatsoever .
It is a downwind slalom race though.
In 2011 Damien Leroy did use the course racer to win the slalom world title partly because he wasn't sure the slalom board would get him upwind to the start in time, so they might take upwind into consideration on board choice.
Nah, boards with a fin in the front or rocker at the back ain't gonna cut it. It has to be short flat rocker at the back and three straps. You have to sit over the tail and have control over the board with three straps configuration. It gives you better body position to control speed. You will see someone's gonna make them just matter of time. Jibes will have to happen at warp speed so the small board never stops planing and with three straps you switch strap to strap with no loss of control.