The last event on the PWA calendar is OVER & OUT!
Honestly, after the wave event in Maui I was not looking forward to flying out again for 24 hours for a slalom event. I was a bit tired of going through the motions of competing for the 10th time this year.
About 12 hours before my flight I realized I booked my ticket from Honolulu to New Caledonia. This was a problem seeing that I was on a completely different island of the Hawaiian archipelago. A panic attack and a few phone calls later I managed to get a ticket from maui to Honolulu as well.
This made me realize I really DID want to fly out on this new adventure!
What a great and memorable week I’ve had in New Caledonia. One I wouldn’t have wanted to miss for the world.
After about 24 hours I arrived at airport La TonTouta with Sean O’brien and Micah Buzianis and were welcomed by the organizer and my host Pierre Henry.
The New Caledonia freestyler Antoine Albert invited me to stay over at his home. When I got there I found out that his home was a boat hahaha. Awesome !!!
I arrived the day before the competition but there wasn’t any wind. so Sarah hauser took, Casey, Taty and me for some hiking up “pique Malaoui”. I have to say I’m not the best hiker. Had to give myself some pep talks a few time those 3 hours. But I survived and the view was amazing.
Thankfully I did this bit of sightseeing as the days after that We’d be sailing non stop. In total we did 14 eliminations. Because there weren’t as many competitors, about 12 in the women’s division, we would do full fleet races.
I had a bad start to the event. As opposed to Alaçati in Turkey, This spot (L’anse Vata) is really choppy and with the strong winds makes it one of the most challenging places I’ve sailed slalom ever. I didn’t have any time to tune my 7,2 before hand and I just couldn’t get the right set up during the day. My board was bouncing all over the place everytime I tried to sheet in. I fell on my jibes, had spin outs at the jibes, fell going straight as well. I did win one race but that was it. Ranking: 4th.
This day I decided to rig my 6,3. I prefered to be on a smaller sail with a better setup than on a bigger sail where I couldn’t get the tuning right.
I was way more comfortable straight away. I had more control and was able to actually sheet in and go for it a bit more. I won the first 2 races.
Then came the 3rd race. Everything was going quite good, although I could feel delphine breathing down my neck. At the last jibe I went wide and she passed me. I wouldn’t have it at that moment and was determined to pass her. Just when I realized that wasn’t going to happen I caught this gust about 10m before the finish line and I went over the handlebars. Hooked in. landed face first but my legs went over and practically touched my head. Auch. When I finally made it to the beach I was lucky enough to get help from Alexandre Rouys who borrowed me his boom because I broke mine. So I made it on time for the race after. I wasn’t thinking much during that race and just tried to keep calm. I finished in 2nd. Which I was happy about.. but after that I just collapsed. I’ve never catapulted like that in my life. I was quite shaken for the rest of the day.
Sore and stiff back but I was feeling okay.
Back on 6,3. I was definitely sailing more careful than the days before.
I started out with an overearly and got disqualified. But after that I sailed consistent and finished 2nd and 3rd. Lena Erdil sailed great though ( she’s so fast on the small equipment!!) and overtook me in the rankings.
At this point I was ready to fight for 2nd place. And I started out really good winning the first race. In the 2nd race however I was on point away from Lena and I basically just had to make sur to stay ahead of her. She made it to the bouy first but I overtook her during the jibe and then….my outhaul broke. Some times some things are just not meant to be. I couldn’t sail further and had to settle for a 12th places for a third time. After 14 races and 3 discards my overall ranking fro the event was 3rd place.
After this week I couldn’t wish for anything else. I was so happy to be on the podium. Especially sharing it with Delphine and Lena. This week was really challenging for me but I learned so much! But I have to say I enjoyed it so much. It was fun to change settings on my equipment and see how that would change my speed and control etc. so believe it or not. I’m quite motivated to tune my slalom gear and practice for next year!
I wanted to thank the organizers (every single one of them smiling and ready to help anytime you need them) for mking the riders comfortable and the locals for an incredible time. Biggest thank you to Antoine Albert and his family for having me over at their place and taking care of me.
I’m so excited I had the chance to fly over and discover this country.
Besides slalom I went for a short freestyle session and it’s really a fun spot. So how About a slalom AND freestyle contest there next year?
SQ is in! Anyway Contest or not.. I’m going back to New cal again soon!!