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After a season of hard racing, it all came down to the 2023 Fly! ANA Yokosuka, Miura Windsurf World Cup to decide the 2023 PWA Slalom world champions. Japan once again provided a true test of the sailor’s abilities with a wide variety of conditions, but you simply couldn’t have scripted how the event unfolded. In this article we will pay testament to the winners’, while you’ll be able to hear more from Johan Søe in an exclusive interview later online.

Words: Matteo Iachino, Amado Vrieswijk, Maciek Rutkowski, Blanca Alabau, Justine Lemeteyer & Lina Eržen.

Photos: Carter / pwaworldtour.com



It has been a rollercoaster. Honestly, I don’t know if I ever experienced something like this. Overall, the season went well, we had five events and raced in a wide range of conditions. It came down to the last event again and there were many guys fighting for the title. I made it and I can’t describe it. I worked so hard for it. I have been so close to it, so many times in the same situation, so to win it again means so much to me.


I commit every day to my title challenge. My one goal, every season and every year, is to win the world title again. Anyone who knows me, knows the amount of effort I put into it, but it is difficult for me to describe just how much effort, and energy, I have put into this. There is a lot going on behind the scenes that people don’t see, and winning certainly does not come easy.


Since 2016 I have tried every time to become world champion again, as if you win once, then you want to win again. I spend a lot of time in the gym and spend countless hours on the water testing with Remi Vila and all the riders. It feels better than the first time to finally get my hands on a second world title.



I don’t know what’s going on, I keep winning events on the very last day, the very last race even! I felt very confident and was more prepared with my equipment for this event. It was just about me as a racer being able to piece everything together. I had some minor mistakes with huge consequences, but I knew I had the speed to go well. As soon as I nailed a good start, I had the speed to go down to the first mark and I could control it from there. I am just very happy and I am already looking forward to next year.


Where I had more time to prepare for this race, I felt I was more in control. Earlier in the season, I didn’t have as much time to prepare as I made the decision to go from iQFOiL to PWA late in the day. Whereas in Japan, I knew where my limits were and how my gear feels. It was just plug and play and I knew what I had in my hands. It was just about having a good start, sending it to the first mark and then controlling it to the finish.


I am pretty happy to make second overall in the world this season. Since 2021, when I won the freestyle world title, the focus shifted to racing. However, I went to iQFOiL for a while, but this year I have been full power on the PWA with the goal to make the podium. We managed to do that and I am very happy for Matteo and for Blanca [Alabau]. We have been travelling, testing and training a lot together. To be one and two in the world with Matteo and Blanca winning the world title feels absolutely amazing.

EYES ON 2024

My goal was to win Japan. The rest [world title race] was not in my control. I could not do anything about where Matteo finished. I am still happy to win Japan and next year I will go to Tenerife for two months to train full power for 2024. As soon as the first competition starts there will be no question marks. I must say it feels very bad for Søe. On one side cheating is cheating, you are not allowed to do that, but Johan sailed a very good year. However, he was disqualified, which was very unfortunate for him. It was very sad to see.



Third place was kind of a consolation for me. I had an excellent beginning to the season in Italy, where I won, but then mistakes started to occur. I started to get frustrated with the mistakes and I came to Japan willing to fight, but still not in the perfect mindset, which showed. I made some mistakes, while I also had some bad luck hitting something in the water. As far as consolation prizes go, it’s pretty good.


The main prize was to win the title. I really want to experience that again for sure. I was leading most of the year and then lost it here in Japan, which sucks, but I am still motivated. I was relaxed at the beginning of the season and then for some reason I was putting more and more pressure on myself. I guess there was no specific reason really, but things just got to me. After Sylt I was pretty depressed as I measure myself against the level I know I am capable of sailing at, and I felt like I had the level to be able to win, which ultimately, placed even more pressure on me. I wasn’t going out there and just sailing heat by heat anymore I don’t think, and the bad results started creeping in. In both Fuerteventura and Sylt, I made mistakes and every point counts – especially over the course of the entire season. If we change one elimination in Fuerte, Sylt or in Japan, I could have possibly been world champion.


It was extremely tight at the top, so I hated the wasted opportunities, but at the same time that is sport. That is what racing is all about and it is so cut-throat. Last year I didn’t do everything perfect either, but I won. There is a lot to analyse from this season. It was a great learning process because it was the first time I was in this position – defending a world title. It is something that I hope to learn from and be more comfortable with moving forwards. I still see the season as a success. I was really down after Sylt, but there are always different perspectives.


I don’t really feel sorry for Johan Søe. Sorry but, I am in heavily involved in R&D. I know the difference a few millimetres can make, so if we are talking about twenty-five millimetres of change, it is basically a totally different sail. If you have enough confidence that you are the best, come and show us with the same standards as everyone else. I am in a position, as is every single rider, to modify our equipment for every contest. There would be no budget issues doing that with a snap of the fingers. However, there is an unwritten pact between us that we don’t do that. We obey by the rules. It is like doping in the Olympics. It is the same kind of thing. Johan is amazing, he is young, he is good enough and will be there next year again, fighting for it.




It was a very stressful week for me – especially on the last day, even though we knew it was unlikely the wind would blow. I have no words to explain how I am feeling about what has happened to me. I have been dreaming about winning the title for years. Finally, it came true, so I super emotional about it. I am already motivated for next year. It has been so much work behind the scenes. Every day, every hour I am thinking about what to eat, how to sleep, where to train and how to travel with the gear etc. It is so much effort.


We have had so many great moments on this journey, but there is a lot of energy going into it in the background. I have put in one hundred percent! I sometimes wanted to consider other projects, but I didn’t want to lose my focus on the title race, so I avoided anything that could distract me from the title. In the end, was it worth it? Absolutely!


I have been involved with the best possible training camp in Tenerife, and also being able to work with my boyfriend, Matteo, is amazing and helps a lot. My team behind the scenes are great and I have so much feedback and support from them. It is hard to train as a girl because I am usually on my own in Tenerife and have to sail with the boys, which is not always easy. It has all been worth it though and I am delighted.


I went all out for foiling this season. I did not use a fin once in a single elimination, despite bringing my fin board everywhere with me. I was close to using it in Fuerteventura and also Gran Canaria, but I realised that my speed and performance on the foil was good enough to remain competitive, so I stuck with it, which ultimately paid off.



I am really happy and I think it will take me some time to realise what has just happened. It is now two times in a row that I have finished as the vice-world champion. I will definitely take it – especially as I am only twenty-one, so that sounds pretty good to me.


I have been studying this year until July and will be back to it when I get home. So, studying has been taking up most of my time. Now my goal is to be able to fit studying around my windsurfing life, so that I can push harder and stop coming second. I would love to become world champion one day, that would be amazing, so that is my plan.

I finished in a solid third place in Japan with no pressure. I had nothing to lose and my worst case scenario was to finish the way it did. I was happy to move up to second. Blanca performed really well, so even if I had won the event, she would have probably still been world champion. I have no regrets and it was a great battle with Blanca all year as well as Lina [Eržen], Marion [Mortefon] and all the girls. Lina, came out of nowhere and won the last event, so that could make things interesting next season, if she decides to join more contests.


Second for me was good, but of course I want to be world champion. It was my first year competing on the full tour. Last year we only had one event in Japan, so this year it was nice to discover some new locations. I made some mistakes with my gear choice, which cost me a lot in the Canary Islands. My foil gear was way too big, and I didn’t expect the girls to be pushing on the foil as much as they were. I did not have the best results in the Canary Islands, but I am still happy and I know I can do better next year.


I really love both the fin and the foil. I really can’t decide which I prefer. When I ride on the fin, I feel like it is magic, but then I switch back to the foil and I experience that magic feeling as well. In the light winds for sure I prefer the foil, but in high winds, I love both. Blanca was all out on the foil, which meant that by the end of the season I was almost always on the foil as I felt switching between the two all the time, like myself and Marion were doing in Pozo, was costing us. When you switch, you need to change everything, both on and off the water. So, I decided to focus on foiling. We are pushing the foil as far as we possibly can. Blanca has the feeling of being able to push the foil to the limit and I think that made the difference in deciding the title race, as we were not ready for this. So, you have to take your hat off to Blanca!



I won four races in Japan and won the event. I really wasn’t expecting that. I knew I could be fast, but not necessarily at the same level as the other girls competing on the PWA. I was using a 6m and 8m Severne Sails, as well as a Starboard Foil and the Youth iQFOiL 85 board. I am trying to qualify Slovenia for the Olympics and I have two more chances next year, which is my main goal. I am competing at PWA events when I can because I enjoy it.


Winning in Japan has not quite set in yet. I think that will happen when I land back at home and my parents and family will be there. I think they are more excited than me. They were up all night watching, so I think when I arrive home it will all sink in, but it definitely feels amazing.


I was using my iQFOiL gear here in Japan, but it is not all about the gear, it is also about the rider. You can adjust to your equipment. I believe everything is not just about the gear. It is never like this. You can have the best equipment, but that does not instantly make you the best. I will travel back home now and then I will fly to Brazil to compete in the iQFOiL. I will also go to Lanzarote for the World’s. I plan to compete on the iQFOiL up until May 2024. Then I will see if I qualify for the Olympics. After that I will make another plan… maybe I will join the PWA World Tour more often, but it depends if I have enough time to do so. I hope I can. For me the PWA is fun and more relaxed and I enjoy it very much. The PWA is not run in such light wind as in iQFOiL, which makes it more enjoyable for sure, as I love high speed racing.

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