It was a quiet start to the opening day of the 2017 Ulsan PWA World Cup with light winds and sunny skies throughout the day. The highlight was the official opening ceremony which saw a water jet pack performance and a local band perform.
In the afternoon we caught up with a couple of sailors – first up Maciek Rutkowski (Tabou / GA Sails) –
What have you been up to over the winter Maciek?
Firstly I locked myself in the gym for 6-7 weeks to try and gain some weight, which I actually managed a bit. Then I went over to Tenerife for the TWS Training, which some of you may have already seen as we released quite a lot of footage.
Overall the training was very good. The conditions were a bit lighter compared to last year, which was great for us because it wasn’t the usual Canaries where we spend most of our time on 7.1m and 7.8m – instead we were able to train on 9.3m and 8.6m. So it’s been good for tuning.
After that I’ve spent some time in Tarifa and France where I competed in the first French Slalom event of the year in Marseille, which saw over 100 guys competing and I was really impressed. Windsurfing is alive in France and they are passionate about following the tour. I was able to take 3rd place behind Pierre [Mortefon] and Pascal [Toselli] , but also guys like Antoine Questel and Julien Quentel were there so it was a strong field, so it was a decent result I guess. I was there more for training than to record the best result possible, but of course it’s always nice to make a podium.
Then my last week before coming here I went to northwest Italy with Matteo [Iachino] to get a bit of last minute training in. Since I arrived here I’ve sailed once and now I’ve just been chilling waiting for the first race of the season.
Has that result in France given you a bit more confidence coming into the first event here?
For sure you know… Tenerife only really offers one kind of conditions, so I just wanted to see in the racing environment if I am missing something – whether that be in choppy conditions, gybing in certain conditions and equipment needing tweaking or something, but thankfully my gear is really, really good this year so a big shoutout to Gaastra and Tabou. I’m not sure I’m really more confident, but I certainly feel relaxed because I feel like I know where I’m at.
Compared to last year have you chosen any different equipment and what gear have you chosen?
The only difference is that I chose 5.4m instead to 5.8m for my smallest sail mainly because of the conditions last year in Fuerte, where I didn’t really have my best event and I felt having something more towards the control end of the spectrum would be beneficial.
Sails I’ve gone for 9.3m, 8.6m, 7.9m, 7.1m, 6.4m, 5.4m.
Boards: 135l – so 85cm wide – 116l – 71cm – 91l – 61cm wide.
Thanks Maciek and good luck for the rest of the event.
Next up we spoke with the women’s vice-world champion Lena Erdil (Starboard / Point-7):
Hey Lena, how’s it going and how was your winter?
Hey I’m good, I had a nice winter, training in a lot of different conditions in Maui, Cape Town, the Canaries and just before coming here I went to Lake Garda to train with the Point-7, which was a great bit of last minute preparation before the new season starts.
You won the event here last year – are you happy to be back?
Of course I have really good memories as last year was the first time I won a PWA event. Of course I hope I can do the same again this time around and I’m feeling good about it.
Last year you also came really close to winning your first world title are you ready for another title challenge?
Well yeah haha… I hope so. I’ll do my best. I was really sad with the way I lost out in the end. I really messed up in that last race in Denmark, but that just makes me want it even more now, so I hope I can make it happen. I’ll just give it my best shot and see.
Thanks Lena – good luck for the contest.
With the conditions failing to improve the sailors were released at 6pm. The best chance for tomorrow looks as though it will be in the late morning or early afternoon with 7-12 knots of wind being predicted from the southeast. The skippers’ meeting has been called for 9:30am with the first possible start at 10:30am (GMT+9).