Wish you were there? (Credit: R.Summers)
Dan Ellis and Bo Ruamsap battle it out in Kuantan (Credit to Sukhdev Singh)
Dan 'the giant' taking the top spot in Bintan (Credit to Mana Mana Beach Club)
Lucy enjoying life away from Europe in Boracay!
Kit transport: Philippines style
Oh, no it's a Pro! Gonzalo Costa Hoevel (No.6 in the world) arrives in Boracay to spoil the party
Boracay & Saipan also had a kiting contest with winners taking home a brand new kite
Lucy beat off Japan's top racers to take the women's AWT Title
Saipan: a heavenly location for a windsurf event
A wor;d away from the World Tour
The AWT Current Champion
The race site at Kuantan, Malaysia (Credit to Sukhdev Singh)
Click here for a PDF of AWT TV coverage
AWT 2005 Season
19-22 Jan: Monsoon Madness, Kuantan, Malaysia
26-29 Jan: Mana Mana Amslam, Bintan, Indonesia
31 Jan–5 Feb: Boracay Funboard Cup, Boracay, Philippines
16-20 Feb: Marianas Open, Saipan
27–31 May: Ulsan International Windsurfing Championship, Korea
The Monsoon Madness was held on Balok Beach in Kuantan, Malaysia with 6 races held over 4 days. It hadn’t been the windiest of events but the Race Organiser, Klaus Michel, managed to fit in 3 master blasts with beach starts and 3 downwind slalom races.
Winning his first AWT event at his first attempt was Britain’s Dan Ellis. Coming in second was Thailand’s Bo Ruamsap while in third was Andrew Foo from Singapore. After a stellar performance Britain’s Lucy Horwood finished in fourth place overall.
Lucy Horwood: "Other than my sailing, which I was really pleased with, I’d have to say the show before the prize giving was my highlight! It was a very grand live performance of dancers acting out past Malaysian history which was beautifully choreographed. All the competitors watched while supping on a little Fosters till the prize giving. You don’t get that on the UK circuit!"
Lucy Horwood: "Following the event in Malaysia, the next part of the tour involved travelling in an aircon coach for 6 hours with a DVD player to amuse the sailors all the way to Singapore. An overnight stay in the wonderful city and then a short ferry ride over to Bintan the following morning. Everything was organized so well for the sailors that they barely had to lift a finger to get to the next venue!"
Dan Ellis, however, did lift a finger on the race course and was crowned Champion of the Mana Mana Amslam to make it two AWT events in a row. It looked, at one point, as though he would lose out to Thailand’s Kookiat Sakulfaeng but four back-to-back wins mid contest sealed his victory. In the Ladies division Lucy took the title and finished an credible seventh overall.
TC Chua won the Masters and Richard Toh the Grand Masters. 10-year old Connor Baxter from Hawaii finished 23rd overall!
Boracays shores are covered in palm trees and white sand with constant 15-25 knot winds blowing from November to April. For seventeen years, windsurfers have been coming to the Boracay Cup for a mix of world-class pro/amatuer slalom racing and intense evening parties. This year, 67 competitors entered the event in which 8 rounds of slalom were held.
The UK Slalom Champion, Dan Ellis, would face some stiff competition in Boracay from Team Neil Pryde rider Gonzalo Costa Hoevel of Argentina (ranked 6th in the world). The Korean duo of Yoon Sung Soo and Lee Jae Cheol had been performing well so far on Tour and there was also Guam duo Keichi Kobayashi and Conrad Kerber who turned up for this event.
In the end it was Dan and Gonzalo who shared all the bullets, but with five firsts to Dan’s three it was Gonzo who took the win.
In the Women’s fleet Lucy had a slightly easier time taking all the honours and she finished inside the top 10 overall.
CABRINHA KITESURFING EVENT
For the first time, a kiting event was held which followed the “Mambo” rules where all the kiters hit the water at the same time and anonymous judges rated everything from style, airtime and technical proficiency to their attitude on the beach.
Hironobu Ikeda from Japan triumphed out of the 22 kiters and took the men’s title while Katherin Bohvardt of Germany won the womens. Both went home with a new Cabrinha kite.
The Marianas Open incorporates both kite boarding and windsurfing over a five day festival and takes place on Micro Beach, a slender strip of white sand that hugs the island’s west shore. A protective reef two kilometres offshore creates a shallow lagoon that is perfect for downwind slalom action.
In the Pro Mens fleet the battle for top spot was once again between Gonzo Costa Hoevel and Dan Ellis. Dan managed to take a couple of hard earned wins but in the slightly lighter winds than Boracay it was not enough to stop Gonzo taking first at the event.
Dan finished in second but it was enough to secure him the title of AWT Champion for 2005.
In the Womens fleet the competition had really hotted up for Lucy with Japans top 2 Pro women turning out to compete, Yoshi Ishindoa and Ayako Suzuki. However they were not enough to stop the onslaught of the UK’s top slalom racer and Lucy made it 4 out of 4 so far on the AWT.
FOSTER'S KITING EXPRESSION SESSION
Sixteen international kiters battled through a double elimination series in search of a winner. Japan’s Maru Mori won by showing technical skills and style that the other riders could not match. Laurent Weiner from Guam had an aggression and height to his moves that impressed the judges and got him a second. Whilst local legend Jeffro Elliott carried the torch for the local Saipan riders and came in third. All went home with a Cabrinha Kite.
THE FINAL EVENT
The next (and final) event on the 2005 AWT is in Ulsan, South Korea and will begin on May 27th.
Gonzalo Costa-Hoevel: “The AWT is such a change in atmosphere from the World Tour and it’s a pleasure to compete here. The racing is just as intense but once you are back on the beach it’s all genuine smiles and good fun. Perfect.”
Dan Ellis: “I can’t believe it. I’m just really happy to be Asian Windsurfing Tour Champion. It means a lot to me and I can’t wait to watch the TV series!"
THE FUTURE OF THE AWT: More prize money, more Pros OR will it always remain an amateur event?
For more info go to www.asianwindsurftour.com