IWT Pistol River – Oregon

Still leading the IWT Tour 2019

Two weeks ago was the 3rd stop of the IWT Wave Tour 2019. For this competition I flew all the way from Turkey to California, where the journey was only just half way done. I got picked up by Amanda – my good friend and old windsurf buddy from the PWA Tour- and Kazuki, a friend and fellow competitor who I met in Japan this winter. From the airport we drove to Santa Cruz where Amanda is living, where we had some time to prepare the van for our road trip to Oregon, where the competition was taking place.

We started our journey at 5am in the morning, the van packed with our windsurf gear and all the camera gear of Amanda. I took two wave boards with me for this event; my 76 liter Stubby which is amazing in onshore conditions like Pistol River, and my 68 liter Grip in case of very strong wind. I brought my Duotone Super Hero’s in the sizes 3.4 / 3.7 / 4.0 and 4.5. Turned out I only needed my two smallest sails … but you never know of course!

Jumping in front of the Golden Gate Bridge. Two years ago I was windsurfing under this bridge with whales!

We had quite an exciting trip as the van broke down already after one and half hour after leaving the house, but luckily it was nothing serious and we made it all the way up to Pistol River that same day. The area around Pistol River is beautiful. Nature is incredible, so much forest and we passed some of the biggest trees I have ever seen in my life. We were staying in a hotel in the nearest village, together with all other riders and the crew.

The next day we drove down to the spot, and around noon it was already hauling. Two years ago I have been here too, and I did remember it was a windy spot.. but I could not quite remember it was this windy, and I definitely did not remember it being that COLD! It’s the only place in the world I know where you burn your feet in the sand from the heat while walking to the water but where you don’t feel your toes anymore after half an hour windsurfing because of the cold water. I went sailing with my 3.7 and Stubby, but I had to rig down to my small board and 3.4 within half an hour. I really liked the conditions, I love starboard tack jumping and I quite enjoy onshore wave riding!

The first heat of the competition I had to sail against Sarah Hauser. She is the winner of the IWT in 2018 and a very good wave sailor from Maui. so it was not the easiest draw to start with. I started of with a good forward, then caught two waves but on the 2nd one I went a little too deep. The waves can be pretty hollow and the nose of the Stubby dived in to the wave which ended up me and the gear getting the full wash machine experience. Sadly enough the mast must have hit the bottom and broke while it got washed. Luckily I had someone at the beach with my spare gear (the 68 and the 3.4) and I only lost a few minutes getting the other gear. It did stress me a bit, as I lost time and energy swimming and running up the beach. So I was super happy to hear that I still won the heat!!

After that heat I had a day of rest, as they were running the amateur and some pro men heats the next day. Quite happy about that as I pulled a muscle in my shoulder on the first day of sailing. The water is SO cold there, and I think I did not do enough of a warming up before going on the water. Nothing serious, but it was nice to give my body some rest from competing in 3.4 overpowered conditions!

The day after I was up against Vicky Abbot in the semi finals. I had a few really nice waves in this heat and I enjoyed sailing a lot. I won again and this made me face Sarah Hauser again in the final as she won of Maria Andres in the semi.

Teamrider Maria Andres and me, who got 3rd in this competition

It was mega windy in our final heat and I took my 3.4 sail. For the final they would count the best 2 waves and best 2 jumps. The heat begun and i started off with a forward that I crashed, so went back in and did another forward- this time I landed it. Continued the heat with wave riding, as I knew that Sarah would probably only do one jump in her heat. Had some nice waves, and as I knew that Sarah is a very good wave rider I tried to go pretty vertical in the turns. In the last minute of the heat I saw a nice ramp and went for a backloop and BAMMM I went up properly and landed totally dry. Such a great way of finishing of a finals heat. I came back of the water super happy and mega stoked, being quite sure I won the heat with a very high scoring 2nd jump in the pocket. I calculated that even if she had super super nice wave rides (which I heard she had! ) I would still have at least 6 extra points of landing that 2nd jump. Especially as the jump being the only backloop done in the girls competition and it being a difficult and high scoring move.

They did not tell us who won until the price giving. Although I came off the water super stoked and convinced I kinda lost that feeling in the day after already. Somehow I had a feeling that they would give her the win. The judges are amateurs who are volonteering, and I was not sure how they would score things. And my feeling was right, it turned out I lost by a 2:1 decision on 0.1 points and got 2nd place. I was happy for Sarah and took the loss. It’s what competition is about! However, I was curious to know why I lost and asked for the score sheets. Seeing the score sheets changed my mind on accepting that I lost. Don’t get me wrong; I am very competitive and of course I came to win, but I will always accept the loss if it was judged fair, even though it’s a judge sport and never 100% objective. But to score a wet forward the same as a dry landed backloop (her forward scored same as my backloop; 6 points) while my forward (also wet, like hers, but a little less high) scored almost half of her forward; I only got 3.8 for mine. This scoring seemed totally out of perspective to me, and I did not understand at all. Her wave rides scored at least 2-3 points higher than mine; and fair enough as her wave rides were epic. But to give my clean backloop (which on the IWT website is written down as at least 2 points higher scoring move than a forward on average) the same score as a wet forward feels like I have been treated very unfair. It’s a big thing if you come all the way from Europe, pay an expensive flight, bring your gear in the plane and book a hotel for 10 days. I watched the footage back with Duncan the headjudge, who told me I did get underscored but said it was too late to change things.

Well, nothing I can do about it anymore now; just smile, keep my head up and continue! I am still leading the IWT Tour, although I know my strong point is my jumping and all other competitions will be down the line wave sailing. That is why I straight away went for a little trip to Oman for some down the line training…. but more about that crazy adventure in the next blog! It was a good trip, thanks Kazuki and Amanda for exciting road trip, and Tom and Maria for all the nice coffees in the van!

The coast of Oregon is an incredible place, it’s so beautiful and so windy. It was a pleasure coming back, although I must say I don’t miss the cold water! 😉