Antoine Albeau wins his 4th consecutive PWA Slalom World Title riding RRD X-Fire LTDboards and his 23rd personal World Title after 6 days of tough and crazy competition at Airwaves Noumea PWA Dream Cup.The first day of competition was packed with drama and massive upsets, with Antoine finishing the day in 35th position and requiring to rise back to a top 4 finish in order to deny Mortefon a maiden world title!
Let’s see how Antoine makes it his incredible exploit!
After a low key start to the event on Day 1 the trade winds returned with a vengeance on Day 2 of the Airwaves Noumea PWA Dream Cup to provide an exhilarating day of racing in 20-30 knots of wind, which was packed with drama and massive upsets that could have massive repercussions with regard to the men’s title race.
The men’s title race seemed as though it would realistically be a two-horse race between Matteo Iachino and Antoine Albeau coming into the final event of the year, but the day showed how quickly things can change in the world of the slalom as the title race was turned on its head by the end of the day with Pierre Mortefon blitzing his way through to assume control at the top of the overall rankings.
Matteo Iachino had barely put a foot wrong so far this season, but the first day of competition really wasn’t the Italian’s day as he took early exits in both of the eliminations completed.
On his side, Antoine Albeau endured a torrid day. Antoine was extremely unlucky in the opening elimination, suffering two broken masts right before his first round heat, and despite his best efforts he couldn’t make the start line in time and he too suffered the worst possible start to the day with an early exit from Heat 4. The reigning world champion then made a slight recovery in Race 2 by finishing 11th, but he too will be looking to discard both results over the coming days in order to get his title challenge back on track.
Day 3 saw another exhilarating day of racing as winds of 15-25 knots greeted the competitors.
Antoine Albeau started his recovery to get his title challenge back on track in the perfect fashion as he claimed his first bullet of the event in Race 3. However, after taking a step forwards it was then a case of two-steps back for A2 in the very next race after being eliminated in the quarterfinals. Albeau was not willing to lay down without a fight though and he hauled himself back into contention by clinching another bullet in the final race of the day, which could prove crucial in deciding the title race. At the end of Day 3 Albeau rises to 8th in the overall rankings and is only 6.2 points off 4th place, which is the minimum result he requires to deny Pierre Mortefon the 2015 PWA Slalom World Title.
The wind arrived late on Day 4 of the Airwaves Noumea PWA Dream Cup to provide a fascinating conclusion to the day as further drama unfolded. With light winds 8-20 knots Antoine Albeau missed out on a place in the final!
After missing out on the winners’ final it was a case of damage limitation for A2 in the Losers Final and he managed to do just that as he won the heat to record a 9th place finish in Race 6. Albeau’s latest result sees him rise one place to 7th, but he still has 3 places to find — as only a top 4 finish will guarantee him a 4th successive world title.
Antoine Albeau leads the fight for the world title after hauling himself from 7th place at the end of Day 4 to 2nd by the end of play today. In the first race of the day the reigning world champion finished 3rd behind Pierre Mortefon and Cedric Bordes.
At this point Albeau had already moved into 3rd and therefore assumed control of the title race, but he further improved his position by claiming an emphatic victory in Race 8, which he celebrated by fist pumping the air as he crossed the finish line ahead of teammate Julien Quentel, Mortefon and Taty Frans.
The final day of the Airwaves Noumea PWA Dream Cup saw huge crowds gather in Noumea to see the world’s fastest sailors battling it out one final time for 2015.
In 20-25 knots of wind, Antoine Albeau was made to sweat it out on the final day after a premature start in Heat 14, which saw 6 sailors disqualified!
Antoine takes a 16th place in elimination 9, but anyway he finishes the event in 4th place, which was just enough to see Antoine collecting an incredible 4th consecutive world title, which is his 23rd overall world crown.
Antoine Albeau said: “It feels super good, it was a bit difficult with the points because I wasn’t really sure of the scenarios, but now it feels great to win one more world title.”
2015 Airwaves Noumea Dream Cup – Men’s
1st Pierre Mortefon
2nd Taty Frans
3rd Cyril Moussilmani
4th Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde / Chris Benz)
2015 PWA Slalom World Tour – Men’s Overall Ranking
1st Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde / Chris Benz)
2nd Pierre Mortefon
3rd Matteo Iachino
7th Julien Quentel (RRD / NeilPryde)