Having only spent three weeks warming up on my new gear and recovering from a broken ankle back in November I definitely wasn’t at my most confident going into the event which being only one of three I knew would play massive significance on the years rankings. The recovery from my ankle injury hadn’t been as straight forward as I’d hoped and still even during my final training trip it had been causing me plenty of grief. However with my mind set to positive and after feeling very comfortable on my new sails I was hoping I could start to show some form again.
After a windless event last year we were definitely due some wind and oh boy did Podersdorf deliver, the first day provided some of wildest conditions I’ve ever sailed a heat in and It was mental!!! Nearly everybody was on their absolute smallest gear and to be honest I was really struggling; my first heat was a bit of a disaster against Riccardo Marca, I was so knackered for the last few minutes that I couldn’t complete enough clean moves. Fair play to Ricky however he’s been looking real good all winter and put together a solid performance! The wind didn’t back off the entire day so even after crashing out of the single elimination early I knew there would be an opportunity to redeem myself in the double elimination later that day. After heading home to rest up a bit I came down to watch the final heats and also check the draw for the double, there are no “easy” heats these days but the double elimination gives you a chance to go up against guys who were knocked out in the same heat as you were in the single elimination. When I saw the draw I have to say I was less than impressed with who I’d have to face.. I was up against Antoine Albert from New Caledonia who is a seriously dangerous opponent. I’ve sailed against him three times in the last two years and fortunately for me my string of finding some good form against him continued and I put together one of my best heats of the event. I desperately needed that and the confidence gained there went a long way towards helping me sail another solid heat. I was up against Yuma Kobayashi that evening as we continued to run the double elimination, the sun was setting, it was bitterly and I was still hanging on to my 4.0. They were desperate to finish as much as possible with the wind significantly lighter for the coming days and after advancing my heat against Yuma to take me into 17th place completely exhausted the prospect of being on the water at 6am the following day against Youp Schmit on a 5.3 wasn’t desperately exciting.
So there we were at 6am the following morning and the wind was right on the edge of being enough and it wasn’t looking promising to start with, as the morning went on and thankfully the temperatures increased a touch the wind started to pick up. In the first attempt of my heat I started great and felt like I had an advantage before the heat was cancelled just two minutes before the end, I was quite dissapointed but fair enough as the wind had really started to tail off. On the second attempt it really didn’t go my way and my performance was summarised on my final attempt of a move in which I sailed away from but landed really awkwardly on my bad ankle. The adrenaline meant that it didn’t feel too bad to start with but by the time I got back to the beach I was already struggling to walk, Youp and I clambered out together as he had also sustained a muscle injury the previous day.
I was sacred at first that I’d done some serious damage and after my first consultation with an orthopedic surgeon he did mention that surgery could be on the cards, as he assesed it further it became quite clear that in Maui where I first had the injury they had missed that fact that I had ruptured a major ligament the Syndesmosis. He concluded that surgery wouldn’t be necessary as the joint was stable enough but there were some boney growths amongst the ligament that were causing the body alarm whenever the ligament came in to use. I felt relieved to know that there was a reason why my recovery had been more complicated than I expected but also a bit pissed off that they missed that even after I’d had an MRI scan in Maui. Hoping that with plenty more Physio though I can continue to a full recovery! Still though feeling quite satisfied as 17th is a solid start to the year and it felt great to regain that winning feeling!