MATTEO CLAIMS SECOND PWA TITLE
The recent news coming out of the windsurfing world has been nailbiting, to say the least. The recent PWA world tour stop in Japan brought the full spectrum to the table; good action, crashes, ups, and downs, drama, you name it.
The end result brought Severne rider Matteo Iachino his second PWA World Title, but the circumstances brought controversy and doubts, putting in question the validity of Matteo’s title.
Ultimately, both Matteo and his main rival Johan Søe from Denmark were on equal points on the world ranking going into the last day of the event, but due to a disqualification, Johan dropped down on the rankings paving the way for Matteo’s title.
The reason? according to the PWA, one of Johan Soe’s sails did not meet the factory specifications, leading to his disqualification from the event.
Amidst the controversy, rumors began to circulate, and fingers were pointed in all directions. In the days following the event, the PWA, Matteo, and Johan all put out statements about the events that unfolded in Japan.
We threw a few questions at Matteo to get more insights into the nerve-wracking experience he went through on the last day in Japan, and to get his reaction to winning yet another world title.
In this exclusive interview, Matteo shares his thoughts on the turnout of events, but also his perspective of future racing.
SV: WHAT EMOTIONS WERE YOU HAVING TO DEAL WITH THROUGHOUT THE JAPAN EVENT? THE RACING WAS TIGHT FOR THE TITLE RACE, AND FROM THE OUTSIDE, IT WAS A NAIL-BITER.
Matteo: “It has been a tough event. Same as it has been the whole season. Windsurf racing is nerve-wracking.”
SV: THIS IS YOUR SECOND TITLE. THE LAST ONE WAS IN 2016, AND YOU’VE BEEN VERY CLOSE MANY TIMES. HOW DOES THAT FEEL?
Matteo: “It just feels incredible. To win again after so many years so close to the title is something special. And to win it together with Blanca is next level.”
SV: THIS YEAR’S TITLE RACE CAME DOWN TO THE VERY LAST MINUTE ON THE VERY LAST DAY OF RACING. IT WAS DISCOVERED THAT YOUR RIVAL JOHAN SOE WOULD BE DISQUALIFIED, AND THE TITLE WOULD BE YOURS. WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST REACTION TO THAT ANNOUNCEMENT?
Matteo: “The emotion was so hard it is difficult to remember. So many years of work and dedication to get where I am now. We were equal in points with the Johan and the decision was going down to some rules.”
WITH JOHAN SOE’S DISQUALIFICATION, THERE IS SOME CONTROVERSY. HOW DO YOU ADDRESS ANY CONCERNS OR SKEPTICISM REGARDING THE CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING YOUR VICTORY?
Matteo: “In a normal scenario where every party would have played a fair game, we would have been equal in points on the world ranking. In the competition in Japan, I was a little bit more than 3 points behind first place. Applying the modifications we have done for our 2024 racing sails onto my 2023 sails would have put me in a much better spot to gain those points and more throughout the Japan event. But I had the same sails that I’ve had for the whole season that we registered one year ago and I followed the rules. If I could do what I want with my gear, then you would see how my gear and speed would improve nonstop event after event.”
SV: TO THOSE WHO DON’T SEE IT AS ANY GROUND FOR DISQUALIFICATION TO MAKE SMALL MODIFICATIONS, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY?
Matteo: “When we test, we modify panels by 0.5/0.8 cm closing and opening them and this creates a huge difference. On this occasion in Japan, we were talking about a sail with panels that had been opened/closed more than 2 cm. It is a huge modification. It is like competing with another sail. It forces the mast to work differently, and the twist of the sail changes such as its acceleration and speed. That sail was used in Japan and had been used throughout the whole season. There is no room for something like this in a professional sport where we all play by the rules. It is like playing chess and one of the players has 2x queens.”
SV: HOW DO YOU THINK THIS TYPE OF SITUATION CAN BE AVOIDED IN THE FUTURE?
Matteo: “The PWA did a good job. The control has been on the top 5 and we all were found with our sails into the specs registered apart from That one sail. In the future, I hope this won’t happen anymore because we will all play by the rules we have chosen to follow for the good of the sport we love.”
SV: REFLECTING ON YOUR WINDSURFING CAREER, WHAT LESSONS HAVE YOU LEARNED FROM THIS EXPERIENCE, AND HOW DO YOU THINK IT WILL SHAPE YOUR APPROACH TO FUTURE COMPETITIONS?
Matteo: “I won’t change anything. I will keep pushing and training as I did until now and I will go to the competitions thinking we are all playing a fair game. I believe it will be a fair game from now on.”
SV: AFTER AN INTENSE YEAR AND THE INTENSE LAST EVENT, IS IT TIME TO RELAX NOW?
Matteo: “It is for sure time to relax. I am now in Tokyo for a few days enjoying Japan and its culture with Blanca.”
SV: WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE UPCOMING EUROPEAN WINTER?
Matteo: “I will go to Tenerife With Blanca from Christmas and stay there to enjoy windsurfing and to train until April.”
SV: THERE ARE RUMORS THAT THE PWA MIGHT SPLIT FIN AND FOIL FOR 2024. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN FOR THE TOUR IN YOUR OPINION?
Matteo: “I think it could be a good idea. It´s good to race on fin and foil and now it has become a full foil tour. The fin is so fun and physical and to see who at the moment is the best fin rider will be interesting.”
SV: ARE YOU EXCITED TO GET FIN RACING BACK?
Matteo: “Yes I am. I grew up fin racing and I still have a lot of fun on the fin, especially in high winds.”
SV: WHERE WOULD FIN RACING BE REALISTIC?
Matteo: “I think and hope in high-wind places like the canaries. With the medium and small board, it’s super fun for us to race and for the people to watch.”
SV: HOW ARE THE PREPARATIONS GOING TO LOOK FOR THE 2024 WORLD TITLE?
Matteo: “Hahaha I want to take it easy for a few weeks now but I will go back to my routine ASAP. My goals didn’t change. I finally got the second world title. Now I want the third one.”
Many thanks to Matteo for these insights, and congratulations on winning another title. Over the years, Matteo has been incredibly close to multiple world titles, and we’re sure we’ll be seeing him in contention in the years to come.
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