Fuerteventura hosted the 35th edition of the PWA Grand Slam, marking the return of Slalom and Freestyle events after a 4-year hiatus. The prestigious competition unfolded from August 5th to August 15th. After the pandemic-induced break, elite racers and freestylers gathered for 10 action-packed days of thrilling competition. The opening five days featured high-octane Slalom races, with the best racers gearing up for their third-season clash. The latter half was dedicated to Freestyle, as the freestylers made their season debut.
Sotavento, located on Fuerteventura’s southeast coast, is known for its consistent winds and perfect conditions for exhilarating contests. The challenging and rewarding conditions were especially suitable for the freestylers’ gravity-defying moves and the slalom racers’ fin vs. foil dilemma.
In the Women’s division, Slalom made a long-awaited return after 15 years, promising exciting battles among the world’s top female racers. Blanca Alabau (Starboard / Severne Sails) led the rankings after a strong start to the season, with Justine Lemeteyer (FMX Racing / S2Maui / LOKEFOIL) and Marion Mortefon (Fanatic / Duotone) as her closest rivals.
The Freestyle category saw Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / NeilPryde / Maui Ultra Fins) aiming for her 14th world crown. Maaike Huvermann (Severne / Severne Sails / Maui Ultra Fins) posed a significant threat. The historic podium positions of Offringa, Huvermann, and Oda Brødholt (Starboard / Severne Sails / Maui Ultra Fins) since 2014 were challenged by the likes of Arrianne Aukes (Fanatic / Duotone / Maui Ultra Fins) and Olya Raskina (JP / NeilPryde).
In the Men’s division, Slalom world champion Maciek Rutkowski (FMX Racing / Challenger Sails) defended his title against fierce competitors, including Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / Duotone / Phantom Foils) and Matteo Iachino (Starboard / Severne Sails). The return of 2021 world champion Nicolas Goyard (Phantom / Phantom Sails / Phantom Foils) added more excitement.
Freestyle defending champion Adrien Bosson (Fanatic / Duotone / Maui Ultra Fins) faced strong contenders like vice-world champion Jacopo Testa (AV Boards / Point-7 / AL360) and the talented Belgian trio: Steven van Broeckhoven (Starboard / GUNSAILS), Yentel Caers (JP / NeilPryde), and Dieter van der Eyken (Severne / Severne Sails).
With the forecast predicting strong trade winds for the opening day, the stage was set for a thrilling start to the competition. Fans caught all the action via the PWA live stream, guided by Ben Proffitt (Simmer / Simmer Sails).
Day 1 kicked off at the 2023 Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam with a blast of energy! The wind was absolutely cranking at over 30 knots, setting the stage for an exhilarating race day. The women’s division saw Sarah-Quita Offringa seize the spotlight with a dreamy hat-trick using a fin, while the men’s field was a rollercoaster of results for the top seeds.
In the women’s Slalom, Offringa ruled the waves, scoring three consecutive wins and even giving Blanca Alabau a run for her money. Justine Lemeteyer and Jenna Gibson made their moves too, making this a nail-biting contest.
On the men’s side, it was a bit of a mixed bag. William Huppert took the lead with solid fourth and fifth-place finishes, while Amado Vrieswijk had a near miss after a lead-explosion mishap. Johan Soe pulled off a miraculous recovery, securing a spot in the Winners’ Final. Pierre Mortefon showed his mettle, and Maciek Rutkowski’s perfect start was shaken by some crashes.
Day 2 at the 2023 Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam delivered thrills in every form. Starting with light winds and flat waters at 14-18 knots, the day evolved into a wild ride with gusts exceeding 30 knots, accompanied by a small swell that added a challenging twist. Amidst heavy crashes and broken gear, Sarah-Quita Offringa and Nicolas Goyard stood out, each securing commanding hat-tricks.
In women’s Slalom, Offringa brushed off a minor setback in Elimination 6 and stormed back with her second hat-trick, establishing a 12.5-point lead. Marion Mortefon claimed a bullet and advanced to second, while Justine Lemeteyer held strong in third. Blanca Alabau and Jenna Gibson faced ups and downs, staying within striking distance of the podium.
For men, Goyard surged into the lead with an impeccable hat-trick, displaying remarkable speed. Johan Soe impressed with consistent placements, trailing Goyard by only 0.9 points. Amado Vrieswijk dropped to third after a challenging semifinal but remained a contender. Maciek Rutkowski overcame gear troubles and rose to fourth. Bruno Martini’s electrifying performance launched him into sixth. The top 10 saw shifts, promising a gripping podium battle as racing continues.
Day 3 of the 2023 Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam brought another burst of the renowned wind. A single men’s elimination occurred due to a sudden cloud layer interrupting the wind. In a dramatic twist, Johan Soe seized the event lead by winning Elimination 6 after Nicolas Goyard faltered. Soe’s 4.4-point lead over Goyard intensifies the title race. Tight battles persisted for the podium, with Amado Vrieswijk, Matteo Iachino, and Pierre Mortefon vying for positions. Maciek Rutkowski slipped to sixth, while Daniele Benedetti made an impressive top-10 entry.
Day 4 of the 2023 Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam delivered exhilarating racing with 4 women’s and 3 men’s eliminations in winds of 15-30 knots. Marion Mortefon closed the gap on Sarah-Quita Offringa, reducing the lead to 4.6 points. Blanca Alabau’s strong performance propelled her into the top 3. In the men’s division, Nicolas Goyard’s bullet reclaimed his lead from Johan Soe, with only 1.9 points separating them. Matteo Iachino surged to third place, while Maciek Rutkowski and Amado Vrieswijk remain contenders. The final day promises thrilling battles for the podium.
Day 5 of the 2023 Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam concluded with intense slalom races in winds exceeding 35 knots and rough waters, providing a true test for the world’s top racers. Sarah-Quita Offringa emerged victorious, securing her first Slalom World Tour win since 2021 with exceptional performances in challenging conditions. Despite Marion Mortefon’s remarkable efforts, Offringa’s lead remained unassailable. Blanca Alabau secured the third spot on the podium, maintaining her position at the top of the overall rankings. Nicolas Goyard claimed the men’s event title, comfortably fending off the competition. Johan Soe’s unfortunate mast foot break dashed his title hopes, allowing Goyard to clinch the victory. Matteo Iachino secured his first podium of the season, while Maciek Rutkowski retained his world title race lead. As the slalom competitions concluded, the focus shifted to freestyle events, promising thrilling battles and exciting performances from the windsurfing elite.
Day 6 of the 2023 Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam saw relentless winds exceeding 35 knots and improved water conditions, setting the stage for explosive Freestyle action. Only the top 4 men and women remained in the competition after an intense day of heats.
Sarah-Quita Offringa displayed her prowess by earning the highest score of the quarterfinals, securing her place in the semifinals. She will face Lina Erpenstein, who made her Freestyle World Tour debut impressively by defeating Arrianne Aukes. Oda Brødholt advanced to the semifinals after overcoming Olya Raskina. Lisa Kloster stunned by defeating Maaike Huvermann, causing the biggest upset of her career.
Reigning men’s world champion Adrien Bosson showcased consistent high-scoring performances to reach the top 4. He will face Yentel Caers, who delivered the day’s highest score against Antoine Albert. Antony Ruenes advanced after a heat reversal against Takuma Sugi and a strong comeback against Niclas Nebelung. Ruenes will take on Amado Vrieswijk, who transitioned seamlessly from racing gear to Freestyle, posting an impressive score against Balz Muller.
The Single Elimination brought Nebelung his best result to date, finishing in joint 5th place. Muller, Albert, and Esteve also shared joint 5th. George Grisley and Bodhi Kempen debuted on the Freestyle World Tour with winning starts, adding to the day’s excitement.
Day 7 of the 2023 Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam brought mixed winds, but a late surge allowed the completion of the Women’s Single Elimination in Freestyle.
Sarah-Quita Offringa dominated with the highest score of the event, displaying a polished repertoire and even landing her first backloop in a Freestyle heat. She secured victory, taking a significant step towards her 14th Freestyle world title. Oda Brødholt earned second place, while Maaike Huvermann claimed third, edging out Lina Erpenstein. Huvermann, though not at her best, managed to maintain her form, securing third place by a mere 2.7 points, as Erpenstein brought her wave background to the competition.
On Day 8 of the 2023 Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam, the Men’s Freestyle witnessed a spectacular showdown. Adrien Bosson (Fanatic / Duotone / Maui Ultra Fins), the reigning world champion, stole the spotlight, dominating the single elimination and claiming victory in an all-French final against Antony Ruenes (Tabou / GA Sails). Bosson’s clinical performance, characterized by power moves, led him to the top of the podium, positioning him as the frontrunner with two days remaining.
Bosson’s path to victory included a thrilling semifinal against Yentel Caers (JP / NeilPryde), where he secured a narrow win with 46.5 points against Caers’ 44.9. The final showcased Bosson’s prowess, as he scored 47.8 points, sealing his lead in the event.
Ruenes showcased his skills by landing trademark moves, yet fell short of Bosson’s power-packed routine, finishing second. Caers missed the winners’ final by a small margin but displayed remarkable talent, earning third place with the highest heat score of the competition, 51.1 points. Amado Vrieswijk (Future Fly / Severne Sails) finished fourth, showing his versatility across different disciplines.
The competition’s intensity suggests potential comebacks from Ruenes, Caers, and Vrieswijk in the double elimination, while Lennart Neubauer (Starboard / Severne Sails / Maui Ultra Fins) showcased remarkable performances, hinting at a strong comeback. Jacopo Testa (AV Boards / Point-7 / AL360) and others also set the stage for an exciting finish in the Freestyle event.
Day 9 of the 2023 Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam wrapped up the Freestyle competitions, with Sarah-Quita Offringa securing her 14th Freestyle world title, and Yentel Caers making a stunning comeback to claim his first World Tour event victory.
Offringa, nervous on the final day, defended her single elimination title against Maaike Huvermann in a heated final. Huvermann’s impressive double performance led her to second place overall. Oda Brødholt narrowly missed the vice-world title by a fraction but held solidly for third place. Yentel Caers disappointed with a missed finals chance but rallied in the double elimination, claiming his first event win by defeating reigning champion Adrien Bosson, who still clinched a podium spot. Antony Ruenes secured third, while Amado Vrieswijk showcased his versatility in both slalom and freestyle with fourth place.
The final day of the 2023 Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam, marking its 35th anniversary, unfolded after the conclusion of the men’s and women’s double eliminations. Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / NeilPryde / Maui Ultra Fins) secured her 14th Freestyle world title, while Yentel Caers (JP / NeilPryde) celebrated his inaugural event victory. The day brought a sense of relaxation as the contest concluded.
An afternoon Freestyle expression session allowed competitors to showcase their best tricks. Offringa, a 21-time world champion, exhibited her prowess with a stunning no-handed culo, triumphing over Maaike Huvermann (Severne / Severne Sails / Maui Ultra Fins) and Olya Raskina (JP / NeilPryde). Balz Muller (Severne / Severne Sails) dominated the men’s division, introducing foil freestyle to the spotlight with a victorious no-handed burner. Yentel Caers and Lennart Neubauer (Starboard / Severne Sails / Maui Ultra Fins) also impressed.
Congratulations were extended to Sarah-Quita Offringa, Yentel Caers, and Nicolas Goyard (Phantom / Phantom Sails / Phantom Foils) for their remarkable achievements. The event concluded with anticipation for next week’s recap, summarizing an incredible 10 days in Fuerteventura.
Result 2023 Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam – Women’s Freestyle
1st Sarah-Quita Offringa (ARU | Starboard / NeilPryde / Maui Ultra Fins)
2nd Maaike Huvermann (NED | Severne / Severne Sails / Maui Ultra Fins)
3rd Oda Brødholt (NOR | Starboard / Severne Sails)
4th Lisa Kloster (GER | MB-Boards / Sailloft Hamburg)
5th Lina Erpenstein (GER | Severne / Severne Sails)
Result 2023 Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam – Men’s Freestyle
1st Yentel Caers (BEL | JP / NeilPryde)
2nd Adrien Bosson (FRA | Fanatic / Duotone / Maui Ultra Fins)
3rd Antony Ruenes (FRA | Tabou / GA Sails)
4th Amado Vrieswijk (NB | Future Fly / Severne Sails)
5th Jacopo Testa (ITA | AV Boards / Point-7 / AL360)
6th Lennart Neubauer (GRE | Starboard / Severne Sails / Maui Ultra Fins)
7th Youp Schmit (NB | Tabou / GA Sails)
7th Steven Van Broeckhoven (BEL | Starboard / GUNSAILS)
9th Niclas Nebelung (GER | Fanatic / Duotone / Maui Ultra Fins)
9th Sam Esteve (FRA | JP / NeilPryde)
9th Antoine Albert (NC | Goya Windsurfing)
9th Balz Muller (SUI | Severne / Severne Sails)
Result 2023 Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam – Women’s Slalom
1st Sarah-Quita Offringa (ARU | Starboard / NeilPryde / Maui Ultra Fins)
2nd Marion Mortefon (FRA | Fanatic / Duotone)
3rd Blanca Alabau (ESP | Starboard / Severne Sails)
4th Justine Lemeteyer (FRA | FMX Racing / S2Maui / LOKEFOIL)
5th Jenna Gibson (UK | Fanatic / Duotone)
Result 2023 Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam – Men’s Slalom
1st Nicolas Goyard (FRA | Phantom / Phantom Sails / Phantom Foils / AL360)
2nd Johan Soe (DEN | FMX Racing / Point-7)
3rd Matteo Iachino (ITA | Starboard / Severne Sails)
4th Amado Vrieswijk (NB | Future Fly | Severne Sails)
5th Pierre Mortefon (FRA | Fanatic / Duotone / Phantom Foils)
6th Maciek Rutkowski (POL | FMX Racing / Challenger Sails)
7th Bruno Martini (ITA | JP / NeilPryde)
8th Daniele Benedetti (ITA | FMX Racing / Challenger Sails)
9th Enrico Marotti (CRO | JP / NeilPryde)
10th Nicolas Prien (GER | JP / NeilPryde)