Ever wonder how the slalom elite rate their chances in Costa Brava?

With the start of the 2013 PWA Catalunya World Cup only days away, we managed to catch up with several of the world’s top sailors to find out what they thought about their performance in the opening event of the year - Ulsan, South Korea - as well as finding out what their expectations are for the thrilling five days ahead, which are sure to be as tense as ever as the battle for the title begins to heat up. First of all we caught up with some of the French contingent, who put together a sterling performance which saw them claim an amazing five places in the top ten, to reiterate just how strong French slalom is right now.
Antoine Albeau and Julien Quentel - PWA Sotavento Fuerteventura World Cup 2012
Thoughts from our reigning PWA Slalom World Champion Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde), who finished second in South Korea. 'I’m super happy to go again to CB in June. I Hope the Tramontana will be there to make some killer slalom like two years ago. Anyway for sure the seabreeze will be there.' 'I’m super happy to have made second place in Korea. So I have to battle against Alberto [Alberto Menegatti (Starboard / Point-7)] now. But Julien [Quentel (RRD / NeilPryde)] and Cyril [Moussilmani] are there as well so it will be super interesting again this year. I am sure Bjorn [Dunkerbeck] will be super motivated as well again. So I am looking forward that the event start to see what happens on the water!'
Cyril Moussilmani - PWA World Cup Catalunya Costa Brava 2011 Day 2
Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard / Severne), who started the season with a fourth place finish: 'I am alright and after Korea I’m happy after achieving my best finish ever there.' 'I am prepared for Costa Brava - sailing pretty much every day in Marseille south of France. We have been lucky together with my brother's with wind almost every day. It's given me chance to make a few upgrades on my gear. So I think this year will be Tramontana wind because in Mediterranean Sea we had wind for almost five month in a row - So let see what is going to happen.'
Antoine Questel - 2014 La Torche PWA Grand Slam
Antoine Questel (Starboard / Loft Sails) seventh place: 'The opening event has been good for me because my goal was to finish in the top 10 so it's good start!! 'From Korea, I worked a lot on starts and maneuvers with my training partner Alexandre Cousin (Patrik / Loft Sails / Mystic) and also a lot of test with new fins I received. I'm ready for this PWA in Costa Brava hoping that the wind will be there like two years ago. If I manage to finish in the top 10, I'll be happy! We'll see what will happens...'
Pierre Mortefon - 2013 Ulsan PWA World Cup
Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / North) eighth place: 'Everything is all right for me currently, I am preparing the second event of Costa Brava at home in South of France.' 'Directly after the Korea event and after my landing in France I managed to go to the DEFI Wind in Gruissan to run the last race. It was super nice for all the competitors and to sail with 800 people. But after that and my travel back from korea (30h) + the road and the event, I was super tired! The week after we had the second stop of the French Tour in Brittany... so let's go for some road and races with all the top French riders. Unfortunately, we spent lots of time on the water with lots of launched races, but in three days on the water we never finished the first race even if we tried around 20 times to do this race it was impossible - due to a super light and gusty wind between 5-20 kts. Finally, it was super good training for the Costa Brava event with all the starts and jibes even if we didn't have a result. Back home I was a bit tired but after some rest I am back to the gym and to the water with some super good sailing conditions with wind every day at home, the perfect way to prepare this second event!' 'After a good start in Korea with a first Top 10 of the year, my expectation is to continue on this way with a Top 10 goal but firstly I would like to continue to sail properly and manage to make my place at the top!'
Ben Van Der Steen - 2014 PWA Fuerteventura Grand Slam
Ben Van Der Steen (Starboard / Gaastra / Mystic / Different) made a strong start to the season as the flying Dutchman claimed his first podium finish at the first time of asking on his new equipment: 'I am very happy with my result in Korea as it was the first race I did on my new Gaastra sails . I didn't really know where I was at against the competition but all seems pretty ok. 'I have been in Tarifa sailing lots of slalom and did a short trip to France where I sailed with team mate Cedric (Bordes [Tabou / Gaastra]) for five days. Now I'm preparing and doing the last tests on the gear to be ready for Costa Brava. Looking forward to race again and let see how it all goes next week.' Gonzalo Costa Hoevel (Starboard / Loft Sails) made a strong start to the season on his new equipment as he took home sixth place: 'Korea was a few weeks ago and it seems months passed already. I had a lot of expectations and was quite nervous to see what would be the outcome of it. We didn’t do that much but three rounds was enough to see that my new gear is working super good and that my training in Tarifa is paying off. Finishing sixth and very close to the guys in front was a good start of the season.' 'Back in Tarifa I prioritized the gym workout again the first weeks with some bike action too. Now, that Costa Brava seems to be just around the corner, loads of time on the water and mainly training gybes with marks. We get very similar conditions to Costa Brava here. When the strong Levante hits in, we get those similar 40 kts as the Tramontana up there. When the Poniente comes, is the same as that onshore breeze from CB, so basically I feel very prepared for this event. Most of the past years after every event I was going back home to Argentina, to the cold winter…so basically losing time on the water and fitness. Being here in Europe I feel that every day i’m improving. I am looking forward to Costa Brava!'
Micah Buzianis - 2013 Ulsan PWA World Cup
Micah Buzianis (JP / NeilPryde) couldn’t quite replicate the form in Korea he showed last year - which saw in crowned the winner - now Micah reflects on his time in Korea and how he’s feeling ahead of Costa Brava: 'I was very unhappy with my performance in the opening event of 2013. I didn't feel like I sailed very well or was aggressive enough. I feel very good about my equipment and my prep I just need to be more aggressive on the start and during the heat and I think I can be right there. I was also disappointed in the amount of racing we did in Korea, we didn't have the best wind conditions this year but I think that the race crew could have utilized more wind and we could have finished a couple more races. But I guess this is always easy to say from the other side of the fence.' 'I am feeling good for Costa Brava I have just been back at home doing a lot of the same prep as I did for Korea, some small tweaks on my gear to try and get it to go faster and I will also be able to do the first Maui Race Series which is always good training for the PWA races. I just hope that we get some good wind this year and have some consistent racing.'
Bjorn Dunkerbeck - PWA Catalunya World Cup 2012
Lastly we caught up with Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard / Severne / Dunkerbeck Eyewear / Chris Benz) - who narrowly missed out on the world title last year - and surprisingly missed out on a place in the top ten in Korea due to a combination of bad luck and errors, with no discard coming into play: 'Looks like the wind pattern is good this year in Cost Brava this means lots of racing. After winning last year I hope to have a good event and my goal is definitely to win again this year! 'I hope that I can sail a lot on 8.6 7.8 7.0 Reflex 4 Severne and 107 iSonic Starboard so that the wind limit is not so important!' Make sure you check back on Monday for the full event preview, as well as being able to find out the thoughts of our current leader Alberto Menegatti (Starboard / Point-7). PWA World Tour website