Major drama unfolded on the final day of the 2017 Hvide Sande PWA World Cup as the women’s event and world title race saw the pendulum swung back and forth in the favour of Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / NeilPryde / Maui Ultra Fins) and Delphine Cousin Questel (Starboard / S2Maui). Meanwhile, Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde) earned his 3rd event title out of the 4 events completed so far to extend his lead at the top of the overall rankings.
You couldn’t have written the script for the final day here in Denmark as the last women’s race of the week took several dramatic twists and turns – meaning Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / NeilPryde / Maui Ultra Fins) and Delphine Cousin Questel (Starboard / S2Maui) endured an emotional rollercoaster.
Offringa was involved in the opening semifinal and everything looked to be going just fine with the reigning world champion holding a comfortable lead and looking as though she was easily going to qualify for the winners’ final. However, it soon became apparent that Offringa, and all of the other girls, had sailed the wrong course as they crossed the finish line in the wrong direction, which led to all 12 girls being disqualified from the heat.
This swung the door wide open for Delphine Cousin Questel (Starboard / S2Maui), who had reduced Offringa’s lead to less than a point after yesterday’s brilliant performance where she won both eliminations.
Cousin Questel would still need to win the final race in order to deny Offringa the event and world title – while forcing the title race into the season finale in New Caledonia, but the 26-year-old couldn’t have wished for a better opportunity to deny Offringa as only 5 women lined up for the winners’ final.
For Offringa, the tension was unbearable and she chose not to watch as she thought she had blown her chances of wrapping up the event and world title, but she didn’t know about what was unfolding behind her… Cousin Questel raced into an expected lead as they approached the first mark and it looked as though she was going to snatch the event title and rain on Offringa’s parade. However, as the former 2-time world champion rounded the opening buoy she dropped into the water and with the light winds she struggled to recover, which let Marion Mortefon (Fanatic / NorthSails) to sneak through a take the lead. Meanwhile, Cousin Questel went from 1st to 5th as she watched her world title dreams drift away for another year.
A Rare Mistake
Offringa returned to the beach and still didn’t know if she was the event and world champion. In her head she still doubted the outcome of the result and needed to be reassured that a rare mistake on her behalf had not been punished – before being overcome with emotion – a mix of relief and happiness at being crowned the Women’s PWA Slalom World Champion for the 4th time in her spectacular career- which is her 14th overall world title.
Marion Mortefon went on to win the 7th Elimination and with Lena Erdil (Starboard / Point-7 / AL360) missing out on the winners final – under the same circumstances as Offringa – the 25-year-old earns her second podium of the season, while dislodging Erdil from the top 3 for the first time in 2017.
With the wind not kicking in until after 2pm the men already eliminated from Elimination 7 were released for the event meaning only one further race was completed, which meant that Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde) had already wrapped up the without even going on the water today after a run of 4 consecutive bullets.
Matteo Iachino (Starboard / Point-7 / Shamal Sunglasses) won the last elimination of the event, which was his 4th victory of the week, but it wasn’t quite enough to defeat Albeau as he missed out by just 0.3 of a point, which keeps him in second place in the overall rankings with two events to go.
Ross Williams (Tabou / GA Sails / Mystic / Shamal Sunglasses) and Arnon Dagan were embroiled in a battle for 3rd and 4th place on the final day. The Brit held the advantage meaning Dagan would need to finish in the top 2 and Williams finish 4th or worse. The two entered the first mark in close proximity with Dagan forcing Williams wide which saw the Israeli secure a solid second place, but unfortunately for Dagan, Williams finished 3rd meaning he earns his second podium of the year – with Dagan finishing 4th.
Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / NorthSails / Chopper Fins) and Julien Quentel (Patrik / Avanti) remain in 5th and 6th place, while Maciek Rutkowski (Tabou / GA Sails) rises to 7th to earn his best ever result on the world tour. The Pole needed a slice of luck in the final race, which saw Amado Vrieswijk (JP / Severne) drop his final gybe as Rutkowski secured 4th – before going on to finish 5th in the winners’ final. Rutkowski sailed solidly all week and deserves his just reward!
Antoine Questel (Starboard / S2Maui) remains in 8th with Tristan Algret (Starboard / Severne / Mystic / Chopper Fins) and Mateus Isaac (JP / NeilPryde) completing the top 10.
The prize giving was held shortly afterwards and the men’s slalom fleet will meet again in Sylt, Germany in a couple of weeks time for their penultimate battle of the season, while the women will fight it out one more time this year in New Caledonia at the end of November – together with the men.
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Result 2017 Hvide Sande PWA World Cup: Women’s Slalom
1st Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / NeilPryde / Maui Ultra Fins)
2nd Delphine Cousin Questel (Starboard / S2Maui)
3rd Marion Mortefon (Fanatic / NorthSails)
4th Lena Erdil (Starboard / Point-7 / AL360)
5th Maëlle Guilbaud (Starboard / Loft Sails)
Result 2017 Hvide Sande PWA World Cup: Men’s Slalom
1st Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde)
2nd Matteo Iachino (Starboard / Point-7 / Shamal Sunglasses)
3rd Ross Williams (Tabou / GA Sails / Mystic / Shamal Sunglasses)
4th Arnon Dagan (RRD / NeilPryde)
5th Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / NorthSails / Chopper Fins)
6th Julien Quentel (Patrik / Avanti)
7th Maciek Rutkowski (Tabou / GA Sails)
8th Antoine Questel (Starboard / S2Maui)
9th Tristan Algret (Starboard / Severne / Mystic / Chopper Fins)
10th Mateus Isaac (JP / NeilPryde)