Korea & Japan Slalom!

Aloha classic 2016
November 16, 2016

The first two slalom events were held in Korea and Japan.

We didn’t get to race as much as we hoped but we got two results for the girls.
I’m happy to say that I managed to win both events. It’s definitely a great start to the year!

I’ve been to korea a couple of times, but this spot still catches me by surprise.
On the only day that we raced we had winds gusting between 15 and 25 knots. It was crucial to choose the right gear.
Right before the qualifying heat the wind dropped so I grabbed my 7,8 and big board. But lucky for me I came across Basti Kordel who was on the water right before I had to go. He whispered to me that I should grab my medium board. That way I’d be able to hold down my gear in the gusts. That was the golden tip!
When my heat started the wind picked up again and I was struggling to sheet in while behind me, Oda’s board caught this “helicopter” gust and she crashed. It was really unpredictable. Survival mode for this race but I won and qualified for the final.

I went straight back to the beach where I also had my 8,6 and 7,0 rigged. You just never know! I switched to my 7,0 and kept my medium board.
Some top riders like Delphine, Fulya and Çagla didn’t make it to the final, but Lena was in there and she’s fast when the wind is strong.
All I focused on was nailing the start and it worked!
All though she was gaining ground on me on the first leg I rounded the mark in first, planed through and from there was able to keep my lead and take that race win!

It’s do or die in Korea as you never know if you’ll get another chance so I’m happy I was able to make the best out of it. Sadly for the guys they were not able to get a result in.
Besides the racing, the highlight of this event was the amazing closing ceremony!
Koreans really know how to give a show and entertain the crowds. They had all of us singing and me dancing along to Gangnam style haha.
Congrats to lena for finishing second and Marion for finishing 3rd.
Thank you korea!

Japan
The day after we were all off to Japan. For many of us this would be a first and you could feel that all the riders were excited for this “new” location. The last time the tour stopped there was 24 years ago. That was right about when I learned to walk.
The Japanese culture is something mythical and exotic to me. A week isn’t long to spend time there but I sure got a taste of their culture and I have to say I need to come back for longer next time.

For the contest in Japan we were based at Tsukuihama beach.
Again for this event we only got one round in.
We were actually sailing in the rain this time! I was actually quite excited about the added challenge haha.
At first it was hard to get the races in because the wind was very patchy. I had a close call here where I got stuck at the start line and had to catch up to qualify, but this race got cancelled. Then the wind stabilized long enough for the women to finish one round.
The tricky part here was to get the start right because it was quite light. Another worry was seaweed in the water. So what do you do ? You stay close to the line so you don’t get stuck, so my starts weren’t optimal. I was on 7,8 and 127L. I won qualifying round! By the end of the race I was overpowered again. However instead of opting for a smaller sail I opted to go for my medium board. This 107 board I have this year has really been my go to board! It just works so well with so many sail sizes.
This time the big guns were back in the game: Fulya, Delphine and Çagla.
For this race, the start was key again. The first mark was really down wind, so I decided to start down at the pin. I managed to get it right. Once in front I had clean wind for the rest of the race. It felt so good to win that race!!
And that would also be the last one for the whole event.

Although we didn’t get to race so much again, the crowds and the Japanese hospitality made up for everything!

I’ve never given out so many autographs or taken pictures. People were excited about the event and it was almost overwhelming. Thank you Korea and Japan.Before going home though I had some time to check out Tokyo for 2 days and while I was at it I also stayed in Istanbul for half a day to check out town before flying to Amsterdam. That was a nice way to end the trip!

Now it’s time for the Canarian leg again! In the next two months I will compete in Gran canaria, Fuerteventura and Tenerife.
See you there!