The 12 riders left in the single elimination competition of the KIA Cold Hawaii PWA World Cup face a black Wednesday on the water in notoriously tough on shore conditions in Klitmøller tomorrow. Windsurfing’s oldest enemy - a lack of wind - kept the sails grounded in Klitmøller on Tuesday. The riders were on standby for the evening session that never came and all the wind there was appeared for five minutes in the shape of a small tornado 50 metres from shore, heading north along the Cold Hawaii coastline.
Some riders were putting a brave face on the forecast, but those who know were in little doubt about how difficult it would be. “I think everyone is going to be struggling tomorrow,” Kenneth Danielsen, the Danish wave champion, who has been living in Klitmøller for the last eight years, said. “I’ve tried it in these conditions and it’s hard. When it’s really on shore the guys will find it hard to keep on course.”
“Tactics will play a big part because you have to keep on the right part of the course. It’s OK if it’s if there is a lot of wind, but I think it going to be lighter tomorrow and then it’s hard to keep upwind even with your biggest gear.”
After the first two years of world cups here being spoilt with perfect cross shore south-westerlies, Wednesday could be a wake up call. Contemplating such conditions before the event, Klaas Voget, the experienced German rider, who trains in Klitmøller for about three months a year, thought messy on shore weather could be a great leveller and help challenge the dominance of Philip Köster, last year’s champion and this year’s runaway leader.
Danielsen, who is 15th overall but was knocked out of the single elimination on Monday, went even further. “I’ve talked to Klaas about this and he agreed that with the current here it’s even harder than Sylt when it’s (the wind) on shore. In Sylt you can get past the shore break and it’s easier to stay upwind.”
“If the wind is west then it’s a straight port tack, if it’s west-north-west then it can be OK, but I think it could be north-west which is dead on shore and means we will be jumping on both tacks and working hard. I’ve trained in it for an hour, but I usually give up and go to Hanstholm.”
“I still think the top 10 guys will be really good in and Philip (Köster) is going to be the standout guy because he seems to be the standout in all conditions these days.”
Robby Swift, the British rider, was perhaps being hopeful when he said it was going to be the kind of port tack day that most of the riders were used to. “It will be OK, if it’s windy, Swift said. “None of the other events are side shore, they’re all on shore. I don’t care. Philip Köster is still a pretty great bet.”
But Duncan Coombs, the PWA judge, was as pithy as ever when he said: “It’s on shore tomorrow and I don’t think anyone’s going to like it. It’s unfavourable conditions for everyone.”
Editor's notes: The Kia Cold Hawaii PWA World Cup, which runs from Monday September 17 to Sunday September 23, is the third time the world cup event has been staged in Klitmøller.
The single elimination competition is a straight knockout tournament between the 43 riders, who are seeded. Time and wind allowing the world cup has a double elimination format which allows all the riders who were knocked out a second chance to compete in another knockout tournament. They start at the stage they were knocked out in the single elimination round and work their through to face the winner of the single elimination. If there is no time for the double elimination or it is not completed, the winner of the single elimination is the event champion.