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Laurence Carey's account of his trip to the IFCA World Slalom Champs at Curacao, Carribean

Laurence Carey recently won the Under 20 Youth title at the Windsurfing New Zealand national Slalom Competition in Dunedin. He was then invited to compete in the IFCA Slalom World Championships in Curacao. With support from various sponsors and friends he made the trip and despite disappointing conditions at his first international event he returned with a #7 ranking and a plan to go further.

This is his account.

The Slalom Youth World Championships in Curacao this year was the first major international event I have ever been involved in. It started with forty one hours a flying and airports before I even reached Curacao which made the first four days before the event a good time to climatise and adjust to the time change. On the day I arrived I was picked up by an IFCA representative who dropped me at St Joris Bay to meet all the locals and competitors. This was the first time it fully clicked in I was overseas as nearly everyone was either speaking Dutch or French.

Throughout the event I met a lot of people from all around the world, Germany, Portugal, and Poland are just to name a few who I became friends with. To my surprise they had all heard of New Zealand and how we have more sheep then people. Some of the older competitors had also heard of Carbon Art Boards and C3 Fins. Because of this I was getting questions about how and where this gear is tested, and in what types of conditions they are tested in. There were two other competitors who rode either Carbon Art or C3 Fins in the competition. One was the under 13 sailor from Australia, who had Carbon Art gear and finished second. I also met Ben Van Der Steen who dominated the sports class who rides C3 Fins who is in the top ten in the PWA.

On the opening night all competitors were invited to go for dinner at the Ostrich Farm. This was great as it was easy to meet and talk to the other competitors and see what they have done. By this time I had become friends with a Portugese man, Pedro Pexiro who we ate with. He introduced me to some of the best sailors at the competition including Patrik Schmelzer and Last years World Champion from Italy, Marco Begalli.

Unfortunately the wind didn't do its part for the majority of the competition however on the 23rd (the second to last day) the wind was slowly building in the afternoon. So all eighty five competitors went on the water. In the first elimination I started very strong, leading the whole course, however behind the island the wind was considerably lighter and I couldn't manage to hold onto first place, finishing second. This however meant I would be going through to the winners final. It was this race which was surprising to all competitors as on the start line there was a very big lull. However the race was not postponed and it was a pumping start. I was coming fifth around the first mark however the other sailors managed to keep planning. I still got a great result finishing 7th. The day after the competition the wind was a Strong 18-20knots, which enabled some good training with the french sailors however it was unfortunate it could have been like this the week before.

On our final night we had dinner at a world class restaurant which was Brazilian style, all you can eat. It was great as a lot of the locals we had become friends with came to say farewell to my mother and I. There would have been around twenty five of us which was a great way to end our stay in the Caribbean. The next morning the journey home began with a 5pm flight to Miami. Luckily we had three days here to relax and shop. We went on a tour on the second day and looked at 'Star Island'. I never thought I would say it, but some people have to much money!

I would just like to thank my sponsors Rodgers Dental, Carell Apparel, Auckland Windsurfing School, DHL, The Auckland Windsurfing Association, and Camden Motors

Regards Laurence Carey

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