We’re just a short time away from the freestylers taking centre stage out in Fuerteventura. Tom Bendt catches up with three of the Fanatic sailors to see how they’re feeling before things kick off.
Yoli de Brendt (V-26):
For the ladies the Fuerteventura World Cup is the first freestyle event in 2012. Nervous?
Yes – every year I get nervous weeks before and even more this year.
How has your winter been?
My winter has been better than the one before, with many windy days but never really strong meaning I could work on my light wind freestyle, something I’ve never been able to do before.
What are the moves you are working on this season?
I have been training a lot to get all my moves on both tacks – Konos, Toads, Shove It Spocks and some double moves.
How do you see your chances of get onto the podium again?
The level of all girls is really high and it needs hard work, full concentration and some luck to get back on the podium but of course it will be my goal again.
How do you think about your competition during contests?
Like I said, all girls are really good and I have to do my best to get a good result, but for me it’s always more important to sail good and show what I am able to do – if this results in a good ranking, even better.
The conditions have been really hard with super strong winds and waves for your training sessions. Are your training days harder than expected?
No – actually I’ve spent so much time in Fuerteventura and in those conditions and I like strong winds much more than lighter conditions.
What do you think about the guys sailing level here and on the tour?
All guys are going crazy and they push the limits more and more and make it harder for us girls to close the gap, but we do our best.
And the girls level?
I think the girls level is also really high with Goiters, Airflakas, lots of switch and double moves and also air moves. I think we are not doing bad at all…
Adrian Beholz (G-888):
When did you arrive on Fuerteventura?
I arrived here three weeks ago and have been quite busy getting used to the conditions over here.
Sotavento has quite a big range of conditions to offer. Is that why you came here early?
Fuerte is a pretty extreme spot to sail. It can be so choppy and gusty. If you have to perform your moves with wind speeds between 30 and 40 knots, on 4m sails, you need to practise a bit. You have to get here early. My moves are now coming together.
Where did you spend your winter?
I’ve been in Brazil and Bonaire. I also did a little trip through Sardinia with my girlfriend.
What are your latest, most difficult moves? Which move you are working on at the moment?
I have been working hard on the Kabikuchi and Air Bobs and getting all my moves dialled on both tacks. Here in Fuerte my new priority moves are Backloops and Pushloops.
In Germany you are already well known as a top freestyler, while in World Cup Events you have not been the luckiest with your rankings. How do you see your chances on this year´s tour?
Here in Fuerte we usually complete a minimum of two double eliminations and I will always get my chance to do my best. The most important will be the conditions, with some nice ramps rolling in the whole thing will be more about jumps and big air moves on the way out. It will be very interesting to see which new young talents will manage to push into the top 16 – right behind all the big names.
How do you see the level on the Freestyle Tour?
The level is high. In Fuerte I expect five guys to fight for the top four places. Four more who have best chances of top ten rankings and right behind those guys I expect a lot of surprises. At the moment lots of new, young and very talented sailors are coming through. The Freestyle Fleet is completely full with 48 competitors and lots of sailors have a realistic goal of reaching the top 16.
Who would you say is the favourite for the Fuerteventura and tour victory?
Very clear, Gollito! If it is a typical Fuerte event, like we love and hate, nobody will be able to stop him. But if the wind fails there could be a different winner.
What´s your prefered gear for the Fuerteventura World Cup?
I use my 89 and 99 Skate with 17 or 18 fin and my 4,0m or 4,4m.
Max Matissek (AUT-97):
You know the conditions in Fuerteventura really well. Do you still find it difficult to get used to the challenging conditions?
That´s correct. The first time I came here was a while ago. That was together with the Continentseven Youth Team at the Young Guns Camp. This year is my fourth time in Fuerteventura. It all depends on the tides and wind directions – sometimes it can be very gusty and choppy and it takes a while to get accustomed again.
At the first Freestyle World Cup in 2012 at your homespot Lake Neusiedl you performed very wellt. Did that gave you some extra motivation – an extra push for your next competition?
That was a really good moment and gave me a lot of confidence. For the first time I could train throughout the entire winter, so better results at the contests were my goal, but also all the other guys on tour train a lot during the winter which did not make it easier to make a step forward. Now I wait and see what the next contests will bring, but my motivation is super high!
Will you do the complete 2012 PWA Freestyle Tour? How you see your chances?
I will compete at all stops this year. My goal is to finish in the top 25.
Who do you think will win the tour?
I think it will depend on the conditions during the contests. Gollito and Steven are a good bet. But who might be on top by the end of the season? I can´t really decide. It depends on the conditions we get at each event.
Which new moves are the ones that impress you most, which will be the hardest to learn?
Doubleloops of chop
How do you see future freestyle moves progressing?
At wavier spots I guess jump moves will become more and more important. At flatwater venues combinations between slide and air moves will be the norm. It´s just getting more and more crazy.
For more info check out the Fanatic site here