Day four of the European Freestyle Pro Tour (EFPT) Aqualeto Cup and on this day, a tow-in competition with prize money, a big press conference and the praying for wind continues. With very light wind forecast we started off our day at 10.00 am's skippers meeting in the hotel area with the decision of running the tow-in competition with 1.000€ prize money today.
Thirteen out of the 18 registered riders signed up for the tow-in competition that started at 1.00pm. The riders included were Adam Sims (Sailloft) and Max Rowe (North/Fanatic) from the United Kingdom, Dieter Van der Eyken (Starboard/Severne) and Steven Van Broeckhoven (JP/Neilpryde) from Belgium, Rick Jendrusch (F2/Severne) from the Netherlands, Julien Mas (Sailloft) from France, Antoine Albert from New Caledonia, Mattia Fabrizi (North/Fanatic) from Italy, Adrian Beholz (Sailloft/Fanatic) from Germany as well as four Russian competitors: Alexey Karachevtsev (RRD/RRD), Roman Gysev, Dimitry Tertyshiy and Vladimir Yakovlev (JP/Neilpryde).
After having some issues with the speed of the jetski we begin competition after a short delay. Every rider got two runs, with the better one to count. Each judge could give a total of 20 points. A maximum of ten points for the style and a maximum of 10 points for the technical difficulty, whilst a move where the rider didn't stay on the board in the end could not exceed seven points.
Already in the first round we've seen some pretty impressive moves like a super smooth triple funnel by Julien Mas and the same maneuver also by young Dutch rider Rick Jendrusch which put them into second and first place respectively after the first run. Another competitor who finally transferred his abilities into competition was Adam Sims from the UK who showed a double air funnel diabolo straight out of the gate. All in all we saw some decent performances but also some surprises like Steven Van Broeckhoven who was the target of an unlucky swing in the wind, causing him to crash out and sit in ninth place after his first run.
It became obvious pretty early in the second round though, that nobody would give up the fight for the podium positions and the riders were all stepping up their game. Especially team Russia who showed some impressive action with the likes of Roman Gysev attempting an air funnel into burner. Unfortunately he couldn't quite make the second rotation. Also Dimitry Tertyshiy did a super high culo and Vladimir Yakovlev stuck a perfectly clean double funnel. Steven Van Broeckhoven came back with a bang and proved to all why he is the European tow in champion with a perfectly timed triple bouncing funnel onto the glassy flat water surface.
The top three from the first round: Rick Jendrusch, Adam Sims and Julien Mas also impressed with some very rare tow-in moves. Sims came in full speed and went for a spock culo, whilst he couldn't land the culo, the attempt was still very close and left everyone talking. Julien Mas was motivated by his team mates decision to try something new and went for a burner into burner, he didn't manage to land the second rotation but also showed the potential next step for European tow-in. Jendrusch came blasting towards the beach normal stance, ducked the sail and did a perfect bob which obviously also scored high. The result after the second round and therefor the end result was: first Steven Van Broeckhoven from Belgium, second Rick Jendrusch from the Netherlands and third Julien Mas from France. We'd like to congratulate all sailors on their performance and are excited to see where tow-in will progress from here!
The schedule has been quite tight today for the riders and after the tow-in everybody rushed to get a quick lunch as there was a press conference planned just an hour or so later. At five o'clock all the riders and the local camera teams met at the hotel pool where a perfect set up was already waiting for them. The coordinators of the Aqualeto sport hotel asked them some questions that they were interested in and also they have been busy collecting questions from guests and spectators to ask the riders. We've heard questions like: 'How is the life of a professional windsurfer?', 'What does your girlfriend think about you traveling so much?', 'What is better: sex or windsurfing?', 'What do you think about kitesurfing?' and also 'Where is your favorite place for sailing?' and 'How do you think freestyle will develop in the future?'. All the riders obviously enjoyed their status and the way they are being treated here at the event and happily replied to all the questions.
Tomorrow we'll have the skippers meeting at 8.30 am as the forecast is looking promising.