The PWA Windsurfing World Cup which started on 4 May in South Korea and comprises four legs in the mens category and two in the womens, will see the third leg of the mens races completed in Alacati. The womens champion will be named after the Alacati races.
The champions of the mens category will be named after the fourth and final leg of the PWA Windsurfing World Cup in Sylt in October, the third leg having been completed in Alacati.
Competitors in the Pegasus Airlines PWA Windsurfing World Cup include the world's best slalom windsurfers, among them 41-times world champion Bjorn Dunkerbeck, world champion for the last five years Antoine Albeau, internationally top-ranking Julien Quentel and Micah Buzianis, winner of last year's womens championship Sarah-Quita Offringa, Karin Jaggi and Valerie Arrighetti. Turkish windsurfers Cagla Kubat and Dilara Uralp will also compete for the €55,000 prize money.
A press launch for the Pegasus Airlines PWA Windsurfing World Cup has been held in Turkey with Head of the Turkish Sailing Federation Ahmet Gencturk, Head of Alacati Municipality Muhittin Dalgic, PWA Head Jimmy Diaz and Pegasus' General Manager Sertac Haybat in attendance. At the launch the importance given to windsurfing was emphasised and the latest developments in the sport were shared with all present. Turkish windsurfers Cagla Kubat and Dilara Uralp, competing in the PWA Windsurfing World Cup, were also present at the launch.
Jimmy Diaz of the Professional Windsurfers Association (PWA), under whose banner professional windsurfers of the world gather, said at the launch: “Windsurfing is like no other branch of sport. The explosion of adrenalin produced by the serenity and calmness of light breezes versus strong winds and giant waves produces a paradox of emotions. Windsurfing is a successful union with nature. As a sport working in tandem with nature; it also reflects human feelings like a kaleidoscope. Alacati has become the symbol of windsurfing in Turkey. Thanks to the support of Alacati Municipality and Pegasus' continuous sponsorship, Alacati has for seven years running been one of PWA's bases having hosted one of the most exciting competitions presented under the auspices of PWA – in doing so becoming one of the world's top centres for windsurfing. On behalf of all the windsurfers competing under the PWA, I'd like to thank Alacati Municipality and Pegasus Airlines for all their support.”
Sertac Haybat, General Manager of Pegasus Airlines which has given great support to both windsurfers and Alacati and Izmir's tourism and economy with its seven years of sponsorship, summed up Pegasus' support of PWA and the leading role taken by Pegasus in the development of windsurfing in Turkey and the associated private-sector tourism in his speech. “Just as we transformed aviation in Turkey, one of our missions as part of Pegasus' culture has been to promote change and development in lots of other fields, starting off with sport. Windsurfing, which is a comparatively new sport in Turkey and so open to new developments, requires great discipline and hardwork despite it giving the impression of a natural, lyrical and free-style sport. Thus windsurfing is just the type of sport which is in line with the values of Pegasus and its brand, and since 2007 we have been supporting it continuously. Famous sportsmen and women from around the world have been competing in Alacati year after year for the past seven years courtesy of us. We're also very happy that the Pegasus Windsurfing League, presented in partnership with the Turkish Sailing Federation for the third year running, is increasing the interest in windsurfing throughout the country, not just Alacati. With the support we are providing to windsurfing, such destinations as Datca, Ayvalik, Zonguldak and Canakkale are now getting better known for the sport after the first being Alacati. In this way people across Turkey are now able to access windsurfing, with an increase in interest leading onto the emergence of new windsurfers.
Explaining how Pegasus has continuously supported windsurfing, Haybat also focused on the economic benefits provided to Izmir and the surrounding region: “For a whole week the attention of fans of windsurfing from around the world will be on Alacati and the world's top windsurfers competing in the PWA Windsurfing World Cup there. Our continuing support means that the economy and tourism of Izmir, Cesme and, in particular, Alacati are reaping great benefit. We at Pegasus think that, as with Alacati, many other areas of the country have the potential to develop further in terms of tourism, different sports and other special interests in this way.”
Haybat also pointed out that the numbers of those interested in windsurfing has risen sharply in Turkey: “With Pegasus' support of windsurfing we firmly believe that we're helping the sport be better known and reach further afield, as we have done with making the flying experience easier and within the reach of all. Since getting behind surfing we have observed a rise in interest in the sport in Turkey. According to the Turkish Sailing Federation, the number of registered windsurfers in Turkey has increased by 142% in the last five years. There has been an increase of 99% among women, with the number now at 3316 windsurfers, and among men of 159% with a total of 10,894 male surfers. We wish all those competing in the PWA Windsurfing World Cup, starting on 19 August, great surfing weather and look forward to welcoming lots of spectators for the races that the whole world will be watching.”