Mortefon and Offringa, strong contenders for the first X Slalom crown

The windsurfers from France and Aruba are the top riders dominating the new windsurfing discipline in Pozo Izquierdo

Santa Lucía de Tirajana, July 4, 2024 – The sixth day of competition at the Gran Canaria Gloria Windsurf World Cup 2024 thrilled spectators once again with the trendy discipline of Slalom X. It was an intense day with three rounds completed in both the men’s and women’s categories, marked by the absence of a clear leader, with six different winners in both categories. “To add excitement, we’ve introduced a new Slalom X format, extending the course with new buoys and obstacles, and shortening the rounds from eight heats to four in each elimination round,” explained Luis Escribano, the head judge of the competition.

Although the second day gave other riders the chance to steal some heats from Sarah-Quita Offringa, the Aruban still remains the top windsurfer mastering the newly introduced Slalom X discipline. After Thursday’s three elimination rounds and the application of two discards, Offringa maintains the class leadership. “Today was even a bit more challenging than yesterday, with more different obstacles and less wind, but it was just as fun. I’m happy to have won the last heat,” said the Aruban rider.

This second day of Slalom X allowed other female competitors to get used to the new high-speed zigzag racing format with obstacles, highlighting the Dutch Femke van der Veen with her first World Tour victory and the French Justine Lemeteyer, who won the penultimate heat of the day. Despite their strong performances, British rider Jenna Gibson and French Marion Mortefon continue to closely follow Offringa in the overall discipline standings with a chance at the podium.

Representing Spain, Andalusian Blanca Alabau improved her performance in the new discipline compared to the previous day. The increased difficulty, especially with more obstacles, entertained spectators with the action in the water. “Today we had jumps, surf-slalom against the waves, and chicanes, which basically means gybing (maneuvering to change the mainsail from one side to the other), making everything more extreme and fun,” highlighted the Spanish rider.

In the men’s class, the lack of a clear leader in the new discipline was even more noticeable. Among the potential contenders for the first Slalom X crown, one standout was the 2023 Slalom World Champion, according to the PWA overall ranking, Italian Matteo Iachino, who won the first heat of the day. “Yesterday I started very badly, and today with a first place, but overall I’ve already had three false starts, which has never happened to me before. I checked and found out I had a problem with my watch. I hope to advance in the next heats,” explained the Italian windsurfer.

Despite Iachino’s strong performance, the men’s category saw several winners on Thursday, including French Pierre Mortefon and Polish Maciek Rutkowski, who each secured a victory. Nevertheless, Mortefon still leads the rankings after a discard, followed by Rutkowski and Dutch Ingmar Daldorf. “Slalom X is great, I love it because the race never ends and you always feel the adrenaline. The important thing is to stay calm and take advantage of the speed,” commented Rutkowski.

Activities in the Tent

This Thursday, attendees at the event tent enjoyed the documentary Born to Windsurf, which narrates the life and sporting career of event organizer and 42-time windsurfing world champion Björn Dunkerbeck. The documentary focuses on the Dane’s challenge to break the windsurfing speed record, a feat he achieved in 2022 at the Lüderitz Canal in Namibia, reaching 103.68 kilometers per hour. The presentation was attended by the councilors for Sports and Social and Community Services of the Santa Lucía de Tirajana City Council, Julio Ojeda and Saúl Goyes.

Additionally, a guided tour of the Salinas de Tenefé was held, an initiative promoted by the southern municipality’s city council, which has become a classic during the championship. From 7:00 PM, all spectators had the opportunity to meet and get autographs signed by Björn and Liam Dunkerbeck.

Friday’s schedule includes a guided tour of the Canary Islands Institute of Technology at 5:00 PM, along with an autograph signing session by the competitors of the Gran Canaria Gloria Windsurf World Cup 2024, accompanied by a resident DJ.

The Gran Canaria Gloria Windsurf World Cup 2024, endorsed by the Canarian and Spanish Sailing Federations, is sponsored by the Cabildo of Gran Canaria through the Departments of Sports and Tourism, the Government of the Canary Islands through Promotur, the Santa Lucía de Tirajana City Council, and companies such as Gloria Palace Hotels, which also lends its name to the championship; Seven Island Film; Neilpryde; Red Bull; Volkswagen Canarias; Water Speed APP; and Seven Island Film. Collaborations include the Canary Islands Institute of Technology; Canary Blue; Helados Peña La Vieja; Poema del Mar; Ejove; Bazar Ani; Bahía Grill; Semilleros Sardina; Jaklar, WS, As Acción; Surf, Wind; Windsurf TV, and Daily Dose.

@GranCanariaWindsurfWorldCup

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JPK 11.80 July 2024