Yes!!! Let’s make slalom great again! What a week I’ve just spent in Denmark.
It’s been a while since we managed to complete so many rounds in such a huge range of conditions. Driving down from Norway I already heard rumours about this storm that would come through the area. That got me a bit nervous, since I’m not very comfortable on slalom gear in high wind conditions. But I decided to just take it day by day.
Turns out we got a bit of everything during the week. And this is really something that has set Hvide Sande apart from any other slalom event that I’ve attended. In the 10 days that I’ve been there, I’ve sailed all my sails from 8.6m² down to 5.6m² with winds coming from all sorts of directions. I love it. This place keeps it interesting.
For this contest there were 22 girls registered from all over the world. I came into the contest a bit tired from overdoing it on traveling for the past 2 months. When the races started I didn’t have my head in the game. The fire wasn’t there. I qualified for the first round even though I fell in at a mark… In the final, I mistimed my start, gybed badly and finished fourth. Lena [Erdil] won it ahead of Delphine [Cousin] and surprisingly, new comer Jenna Gibson sailed really well and came in third!
And that’s when it kicked in. I don’t mind losing. But I can’t stand under-performing. After crossing the finish line in 4th, I flipped the switch: “What’s the point of competing if you’re not giving your best SQ!?”
For the remaining rounds at least I sailed wholeheartedly. The key was really nailing the start. I started at the pin-end most of the time as the buoy was set quite downwind. I won three races in a row. Turns out in this contest, every single race mattered. Looking back now, the most important days were day 2 and day 3 of racing as these were the windiest days. Delphine and Lena excel in these conditions.
I couldn’t believe my eyes on the morning of day 4. It was howling. I’ll admit that my first thought was “Where’s my freestyle gear?!” and then “Oh no… where’s my 5.6m²?!?!” I knew that Delphine and Lena excel in these conditions. My goal for the day was mostly to survive. But it went so much better than expected! I did everything I could to have the most control possible: lowering the boom, moving the base forward and extending my harness lines.
I don’t think I was ever able to completely sheet in but I can’t believe I managed two second places in these conditions. And I was even ahead of Delphine in one race, even though she easily passed me. Anyway it was good to know for me that I can compete in those conditions and that there’s much room for improvement. Some girls didn’t have smaller than 5.6m² and at some point we realized that even some guys were on 5.2m²; that was quite funny. The swell and the chop was quite huge and the main objective was not to fall in at the gybe. And I’m proud to say I didn’t drop any gybe that day!
Delphine had won both eliminations, setting her only one point apart from me. But I really think that this day was the day that mattered most for me. I could have finished way worse on that windy day but because I didn’t, I think I was able to hold on to that first place.
I still can’t believe how everything unfolded on the last day. There was no wind all morning, but one hour before we would call the contest off, the wind started picking up. We were going to sail the 7th elimination. I was nervous all day, but once we got on the water I let it go and said I was just going to do my best. What happened in the end is that I sailed the wrong course in the qualifying round and every other girl in that heat did as well. I was struggling to stay on the plane on my 7.0m² so I was pumping as hard as I could at the marks, and after the second mark I went to the most natural mark to me. Apparently that was the finish mark… Oops.
So we all got disqualified to the loser’s final. I still don’t agree with this as every single girl made the mistake. And what’s the point of sailing a losers final with 17 people and 5 in the winner’s final? 6 girls went over early in that losers final because there were so many and covering each other’s wind. I would think that re-sailing that qualifying round would be the better decision.
Anyway I thought I had lost the event win. Delphine was in the winners’ final and I had not thought about any other scenario than her winning it. After winning the loser’s final and floating back inside I looked up at the winners’ final and saw that a white North Sails was crossing the finish line in first and not Delphine’s red and blue sail. That’s when I started calculating and remembered that I could discard Race 7 and that Delphine HAD to win that race to beat me…
How in the world did I get that lucky?! A wave of relief on the beach when the crew told me that I indeed got lucky, won the event and with that also the title! Because I had won three out of four events it means I can discard the 4th event so I will win the title no matter what. Slalom title number 4 and world title number 14 on the 14th of September!
Just wanted to thank the people that supported me during the contest and kept me motivated. I’m so thrilled with this title. But above all I’m grateful we had an event with all these different conditions where all the ladies were able to showcase their abilities.
On to the next wave contest in Germany!
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