Julien Quentel finishes his first season with Avanti Sails on a high,
Having started the year with a double sponsorship change, for many it was uncertain how ready and how competitive Julien Quentel would be on the PWA Slalom World Tour,
His first event of the year was to be in Korea. The event started with the usual wait as no wind showed, but finally by day 4 the first elimination could be completed with Quentel in 5th which would count as the event result.
Next stop 2 weeks later was in Costa Brava, Spain.
2 eliminations were run, but the conditions were not favorable for our new athlete, who had to settle for an overall 18th place, counting a 22.5 and a 18.5
Third round of the year was going to be really windy as the crew flew to Fuerteventura, Spain.
The wind was hammering and a full 9 eliminations could be run. Quentel sailed solid as a rock and was in every single winner or loser final. Best results were two 3rd places.
Overall result for the event was 5th
4th slalom event of the year would take the world tour up North to Hvide Sande, Denmark. This being a new venue there was some good interest in the event. Unfortunately the usual autumn storms didn’t show and only 2 eliminations could be run. Quentel finished 5th for the event counting a five and a twelve place.
Next up was the Grand Slam in Sylt. Quentel had signed up for Freestyle, Wave and Slalom. A good way to stay warm rather than sitting around on the beach waiting!
This proved to be one of the best events of the year for the tour as for slalom we saw a full 4 eliminations being completed but also the wave double and for freestyle a result was boxed.
It was obvious that Quentel had been counting and was starting to smell a podium for the year. A good result in Sylt would propel him past Williams and set him in 3rd overall.
Everything was going great from the start with 3rd place in the first winners final. Second elimination a 5th place, third elimination and another 3rd place. Last elimination and Julien was leading in front of Williams and sitting in second for the event. One more good result and he would be able to claim the second place for the event and more importantly climb into 3rd for the year. Start went, Julien jolted out down by the pin only to get rammed by another rider half way down the leg. The other rider hadn’t seen Quentel who arrived at the first mark all the way in the back.
One thing that we have seen again over the season was Quentels ability to fight back, either from a slow start or from being trapped in dirty wind.
Quentel raced amazingly down the course and fought back to finish in 4th.
Unfortunately 4rd was not enough to hold on to his second place for the event but it also held him in 4th for the overall.
Quentels other results in Sylt were a 25th place for his freestyle and 17 in the waves!
Last stop for the slalom fleet was the return to La Torche in France. The event was scheduled to be a double discipline with both waves and Slalom. Unfortunately the conditions never materialized and no results to count and no chance for Quentel to give it a last push for the podium!
Overall Julien managed to position himself in 4th overall for the season.
Out of 18 eliminations he sailed in all of 16 finals!
An amazing statistic and stability throughout his season. Very few can boast this level of consistency and ability over so many events!
So here we are as the new sail sponsors for Julien Quentel, and you may ask yourself are we happy?
We are super happy with our new man on the team. Julien has raced his heart out over the season and proven time and time again the competitiveness of our membranes. The ease with which he sailed in Fuerteventura when the super strong wind was putting many out for the count. His excellent ability to get around the course in light winds, to the super smooth rotation of the sail body allowing him to cut corners tight when needed..
People would still say that he was not fastest, but as our sail designer Dan Kaseler then replies: if u start behind everybody to consistently finish in the top 4, then you finish in less time than all but 3 guys… it’s kind of hard to make the old argument that the sails are not fast!
When the tour was in Hvide Sande, Dan Kaseler was also in Denmark to meet with Julien and other riders from around Europe. The current 2016 sails were discussed and tests were made for the 2017 M5 series.
Dan needed to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the 2016 M4 sails, as they had been a completely new build, based fully on Dan’s own convictions and experience.
During his days in Denmark, notes were written down and a lot of theories were discussed as Dan started to get a clear view of what the various riders were each asking for.
Dan’s visit to Denmark was completed with a short visit in Legoland, as any good tourist would do!
Swinging back to the PWA tour 2016,
This year had 6 tour stops for the slalom fleet, 18 eliminations were run in total. 3 events only counted in one or two eliminations and one event with no result. Thankfully Fuerteventura delivered as did Sylt this year!
Overall it was a great season, with more events being live streamed giving excellent coverage to the tour and our sport! Windsurfing is in better shape than it has been in years. New young talent could this year after 16 years of Albeau and Dunkerbeck reign finally claim the world title. Giving the hope and belief to more of the young riders that hard work and dedication can pave the road to the very top of the podium!
With Quentel we put our faith in his hands and are proud to have him racing our M5 membranes next season!