The 2017 Mercedes-Benz Sylt PWA World Cup certainly delivered with action on almost every single day across four disciplines – foil, wave, freestyle and slalom – making it one of the most successful events in Sylt for many seasons. Over the course of the 10 days there was plenty of world class action and at the end of the event three new world champions were crowned.
This event will live long in the memory of Marco Lang after the Austrian clinched not only his first ever elimination wins on the World Tour, but also his first event victory. On day 3, Lang was in a league of his own as he claimed two clinical victories. And with no further races completed, the 31-year-old finishes the event with a perfect score-sheet as Team Fanatic and NorthSails dominated the event with victories in the Men’s Slalom, Men’s Wave and Men’s Freestyle. Lang’s victory here sees him rise to 8th in the overall rankings with one event to go.
Vincent Langer may have been entering his first world tour event of the season, but he hit the water flying to secure his place on the podium: 2nd after two class performances which saw him finish 4th and 2nd in the two races completed.
Meanwhile, Ross Williams earned his 3rd consecutive podium finish, which sees the Brit gain the upper hand in the fight for the overall podium. The Brit came into the event on equal points with Pierre Mortefon but with the Frenchman facing a quarterfinal exit in the opening race and no discard, Mortefon had to settle for 14th place – which sees him fall one place to 4th in the overalls.
Reigning world champion – Matteo Iachino – has seen his hopes of defending his world title diminish after a broken mast in the second race saw him eliminated in the quarterfinals and with no discard that means the Italian ends the event with his worst result of the season – 16th. The Italian of course just discards the result, but he would have been wanting to reduce Antoine Albeau’s lead heading into the final event of the year in New Caledonia. Instead, Iachino now trails Albeau by 70 points and while you can never say never, it does look increasingly likely that Albeau will win a 24th world crown.
Albeau was extremely unimpressed that Heat 11 of race two wasn’t cancelled after going from first to almost last after rounding the opening buoying the lead, but with no cancellation flat coming that also means Albeau records his worst finish of the season – 10th, but he’s firmly on course for the title still.
Iballa Moreno came into the final wave event of the year leading the World Tour and looking to defend her world title for the fourth year in a row and that’s exactly what she managed to do as she won the single elimination ahead of Sarah-Quita Offringa, which left her in a powerful position as the only way she could then be denied would’ve been if Daida Moreno had have been able to come back from third place and win the event.
Unfortunately it wasn’t possible to complete the women’s double elimination meaning that on the final Sunday at 12 PM it was official that Iballa was the 2017 Women’s PWA Wave World Champion with all the sailors released.
Iballa Moreno secured her 4th world title row said:
“I’m super happy to win another year. Four years in a row… It’s incredible and with the level of the girls increasing every season it makes it even harder. Congrats to Daida also for becoming second overall despite her injury in Tenerife! Adding already a total of 27 World titles to our history! Thanks to our sponsors: ANFI, Starboard, Severne Sails, Volkswagen Canarias and Maui Ultra Fins for believing and supporting us during our career! Next year more! Sylt was a successful event and for 20 years we have been coming here and this has been the windiest event ever! Completing all disciplines and competing almost everyday – it has been amazing to see.”
Daida may feel slightly unfortunate after injuring herself in Tenerife, but she walks away from 2017 as the vice-world champion again and will undoubtedly be in the mix again next season, while the Moreno Twins continue to dominate the women’s World Tour. Their latest victory means they have now won an incredible 27 world titles between them.
Sarah-Quita Offringa recovered from a disappointing start to the season in Pozo, which saw her finish in 5th place, by bouncing back with consecutive 2nd places, which sees the 26-year-old retain her place on the overall podium.
Elsewhere, Lina Erpenstein continues to catch the eye with her aggressive approach to waveriding and no-fear jumping, making her look an extremely exciting and promising prospect for the coming seasons. The German is still only 20 and looks she will be a genuine podium contender from now on. Erpenstein finishes the season with her best result yet – 4th – improving two places from 2016.
Justyna Sniady also enjoyed her best ever season on the world tour and breaks into the top 5 for the first time after consistently being able to transfer her level from free sailing into the competition arena and she receives her just rewards.
Nicole Bandini is crowned the Women’s Youth PWA Wave World Champion for the second season in a row after improving on last year’s ranking by four places as the young Italian finishes 7th for 2017.
Victor Fernandez did everything in his power to defend his World title and deny Philip Köster’s by winning the final wave event of the year, but unfortunately for the Spaniard it wasn’t quite enough as Köster claimed 3rd place in Sylt to win his 4th world title – much to his and the home crowds delight. Köster has performed better than ever this season and continues to push the boundaries of wave sailing.
Philip Köster completes a miraculous come back in the best way possible:
“It feels amazing to win the title again after such a long break from sailing due to my injury and all the pain I went through with the recovery. It took me a while to get back on the board, but after a lot of work it felt great. It’s also pretty special to win it in Sylt, but it’s a shame about Hawaii as I’d have liked to compete there also, but overall to win it in front of a German crowd is pretty good even though there has been a lot of media work, but I guess that’s part and parcel of it. 100% worth it in the end.”
Fernandez finishes level on points with Köster, but misses out on count back and he’ll now have to wait till next season to try and win his world title back. Fernandez deservedly won the event with equally impressive performances on both port and starboard tack – further enhancing his reputation as one of the most complete wave sailors in the world.
Marcilio Browne successfully defends his place on the prestigious overall podium after another fine season, which has seen the Brazilian improve his result event on event this year – 5th, 4th and 2nd in Sylt.
Alex Mussolini came into the final event of the season ranked 7th, but the Spaniard climbs three places to 4th after another excellent display in Sylt. Mussolini faced Adam Lewis in Heat 32 in the battle for 4th and 5th in the world and was able to come out on top.
Lewis won’t be too disappointed with that loss to Mussolini though as he still finishes the season with his best ever result on the world tour – 5th – after an extremely impressive and consistent year which saw him finish 7th, 5th and 5th. The Brit has shown glimpses of brilliance in the past, but found a way to link it all together this year to scale new heights.
The top 10 is completed by former world champion Thomas Traversa – 6th – Australia’s Jaeger Stone – 7th – Ricardo Campello – who landed a couple of 10 point pushloop forwards before being stopped by Lewis – 8th – Alessio Stillrich, who produced a brilliant comeback from the first round the double to finish 9th here and 9th overall and finally Dany Bruch.
Elsewhere Aleix Sanllehy finished the season with his best result yet – joint 7th – to finish 12th overall – one place behind Marc Paré, who produced another scintillating comeback in the double elimination to earn back-to-back top 10 finishes for the first time and the 19-year-old looks a serious threat going forwards.
Gollito Estredo showed himself as the ultimate competitor again over the last 10 days to win an incredible 8th PWA Freestyle World Title after finishing the season unbeaten as he continues to prove why he is the undisputed king of Freestyle – sailing with his usual exquisite style, consistency and killer instinct to see of the rest of his competitors.
Amado Vrieswijk will have been wanting to exact revenge against Gollito after the Venezuelan denied him a first world title on the final day of last year, but he’ll have to wait another year now. The Bonairean produced an outstanding starboard tack display in the final against Gollito – consisting of a stalled forward, air kabikuchi and a signature double air culo, but crucially he was missing a move on port tack, which cost him dearly.
The 21-year-old would’ve only need to land the most basic of freestyle manoeuvres but just couldn’t get planing the dying seconds of the final. If he had won he still would’ve had to defeat Gollito on a further 2 occasions to win his first world title. So, the wait goes on for Vrieswijk but it does still seem like a matter of time until he gets his hands on a world crown.
2017 has been a breakthrough year for Jacopo Testa, who has sailed with more maturity and consistency this season. Testa has caught the eye since making his debut in 2012, but seems to finally realizing his potential with a series of superb performances, which sees the highly talented Italian not only break into the overall top 10 for the first time, but also complete the overall podium after finishing on the podium at a world tour event for the first time in Sylt.
In the 3rd foil exhibition the year, Alexandre Cousin and Jordy Vonk claimed one victory each. However, neither would go on to win the foil with the consistency of Julien Quentel and Sebastian Kornum proving to be key in the two races completed. Quentel and Kornum were tied on 5 points after finishing 2nd and 3rd or vice versa, but Quentel wins the event of countback, while Vonk completes the podium after foiling for just a couple of months. Former vice-Olympic Champion Julien Bontemps finishes 4th ahead of Gonzalo Costa Hoevel. Having dominated the opening two events, Antoine Albeau and Antoine Questel both failed to continue that dominance.
With action almost every single day this has to go down as one of the most successful Sylt World Cups for many seasons. The PWA would once again like to extend their thanks to the sponsors and organisers. We look forward to returning in 2018 for more radical action. And congratulations again to all of the newly crowned event and world champions!
There’s just one more event to go on the 2017 PWA calendar, which will see the creme of the crop of the slalom world heading to the stunning island of New Caledonia for the Noumea Dream Cup. The women’s world title has already been decided with Sarah-Quita Offringa wrapping it up with an event to spare. However, the men’s world champion will be crowned with the event running between the 21st – 26th November.