It feels like yesterday that the 2014 season ended.
On the plane to Seoul it still hadn’t fully set in that I was actually off to the season’s first competition already! I think 2011 was the last time I was in Korea. I’ve finished 2nd and 3rd ath the previous events I did. So I know I could do well, but like always with slalom, I never know what to expect. I just go and do the best I can. In the end I couldn’t believe I took home the top prize!!
After Maui I had about 10 days to get in tune with my gear. I hadn’t really tried my new Neilpryde sails yet. Thanks to Ethan Westera and his dad for the much needed help. By the time I was off to Korea I felt relatively comfortable on my gear. It was good I at least had that confidence before the event.
Korea is tough mentally because you never know when you’re going to sail. You either wait all day and nothing happens. Or you wait all day and just when you’re ready to leave, the wind kicks in and you have to switch to competition mode within 5 minutes.
In Korea there is no room for error because often we only run a couple of races because of the undpredictable and gusty wind. Then there always seems to be stuff in the water like seaweed or a piece of rope. It can be a real obstacle course. I got lucky, I think and didn’t hit any of those things. Winning a race then, is that more satisfying! As the days pass you realize you have less and less room foor mistakes. So when it came down to the final two days of the event to determine the ranking, emotions ran quite high.
I qualified for all finals and won two races out of four.
It seems I was most comfortable and fastest on my 7,8 and 110 liter in the lighter winds.
The first race was all Fulya Unlu from turkey.I read back through my worldcup updates and saw that I had already written about her performance 2 years ago. The progress she made this year is amazing. She had the perfect start, burst out ahead of us all and held the lead untill the end. Mind you the wind had picked up and I was really struggling to hold on to my 7,8. She just held her equipment down all the way! Impressive. Lena finished second and I finished 3rd.
That same day I was able to win the second elimination. Fulya finished 3rd and Lena finished second again. This meant I had the same points as Fulya but because I had the last best result I was leading the rankings. We were only ahead of Lena by 0.3 points. The forecast wasn’t the greatest for the next days.
And although I was in a winning position I didn’t feel to proud about taking an event win that I didn’t totally deserve. But then again. Starting off the season like that would be insane!
These thoughts ran through my mind the whoooleee last day. The day started out really cloudy and the wind direction wasn’t too great. Then the wind picked up and they tried to run the men’s which got cancelled constantly because of wind holes. They had re-run my qualification round three times, and fatigue was definitely setting in. Finally at the end of the day when the wind had dropped completely I thought it wasn’t possible to run anymore. The wind then suddenly picked up and stabilized. And they were able to run the 3rd elimination of the women. At this point whomever of the top 3 finished ahead of each other would win. Just great. Pressure.
Lena Came out all guns blazing in the final and left no room for anybody to pass her. I watched her cross the finish line and felt really really happy for her because that would have been her first event win. At the same time I had to deal with sitting in first all day and losing it in a blink of an eye. I made peace with it quite quickly because 2nd place overall is a great result. I went back to the beach where I was ready to start packing when Arnon told me to get myself together and win that last race!
Because it doesn’t take much time to run the ladies, the head judge decided to run the 4th elimination. I already had 3 really good results and really couldn’t do bad anymore. But this was a unique chance to get the event win anyway. Sometimes you do get second chances in life! I qualified for the final.
Before the final, instead of focusing on what could go bad, I stopped thinking entirely. In my mind it was quiet and all I focused on was staying away from the pack and getting a good start. Lo and behold. I had the great start I envisioned.
I kept it together at the jibe marks and finished first. Taking the event win.
I will write it again. I could not believe it and was quite overwhelmed.
Lena finished 2nd overall and Fulya finished 3rd.
I promise you , the level was high and quite some girls have the chance to win that top spot. Keep an eye out for us because the rest of the season is going to be interesting!
Thank you to Arnon & Enrico for taking care and helping me out with my gear.
After the prizegiving it was time for some good ol’ karaoke singing with everybody!
Korea is the start of a long season for me. After this I have about 8 events more to go all across the world. Let’s see if I can keep it up.