EFPT Palekastro Crete 2009
Head judge Tom Hartmann welcomed the riders early in the morning for the first skippers meeting at Kouremenos beach in Palekastro. Unfortunately the wind didn't play ball, so the first start had to be postponed. However at 11:30 the green flag was raised for heat number 1.
The first round proved tough and the spectators were given a taste of the extremely high level of the young guys competing on the tour. Adam Gavriel (Naish/Naish), only seventeen years old, advanced with a solid performance against Sassa Teixera (RRD/RRD) from Brazil. Another young competitor, Vittorio Mazzocca Gamba (RRD/RRD) - Italian Junior Freestyle Champion - also pulled off a really good heat against German newcomer Adrian Beholz (F2).
In the semifinals Andre Paskowski (Fanatic/North) met Nico Akgazcyan (Starboard/Gun) and Niklas Strahlen (RRD/Simmer) had to compete against Steven van Broeckhoven (F2). The wind dropped during this heat and after a couple of minutes pumping, it had to be cancelled and the riders put on stand-by.
Unfortunately the wind never came back, so the riders were released for day one in the late afternoon. Nevertheless, the sun was shining and the early finish of day one gave the riders some time to relax and prepare themselves for the strong winds that had been forecast for the upcoming days.
The wind was blowing from early in the morning, and the green flag was promptly raised for the semi-final of the single elimination. Nicolas Akgazcyan (Starboard/Gun) was on form and sent Andre Paskowski (Fanatic/North) into the losers final. Also Steven van Broeckhoven showed a solid heat and advanced over Niklas Strahlen (RRD/Simmer) to go to the winners final. Niklas was fighting hard for 3rd place, but Andre was pulling out lots of different moves and barely crashed giving him the heat. In the winners final Steven was on form again, pulling off his power moves and to take the win.
With a short break after the finals of the single, the double elimination was up.
The wind was full power 4.5 and after the first two rounds we were down to the last four riders. Steven van Broeckhoven (F2) had been waiting all morning for his opponent in the final of the first double and was focused on keeping his first place. He pulled some big moves like fully planing Toads, clean Burners and super high switch and normal stance Konos. Andre Paskowski (Fanatic/North) also showed a huge repertoire of moves like Double Eslider and a nicely executed Shaka Diabolo. After 5 minutes it was Steven van Broeckhoven (F2) who impressed the judges most to win the first double elimination.
The double finished around 1.45pm, so with plenty of wind and time left race director Tom Hartmann announced that the competition will go into its second single elimination at 3.30. In the first heat Club Vass instructor Ollie Scott (RRD) from England finally found form and kicked out Adrian Beholz (F2) from Germany. Also Christofer Kalk (Fanatic) from Estonia put in a good performance to take out Slovenian Champion Zan Sude (Exocet).
Like in the first single, we had Nico Akgazcyan (Starboard/Gun) versus Andre Paskowski (Fanatic/North) and Steven van Broeckhoven (F2) versus Niklas Strahlen (RRD/Simmer). This time it was Andre who was out in front and made it to the final together with Steven who kicked out Niklas. Steven was sailing well but so was Andre which made for a great heat but the power style and perfectly executed moves of Broeckhoven gained him the win in the second single elimination.
After a long day of competition, all the riders were tired but stoked to have run so many heats. There was a rock concert at Kouremenos beach followed by a beach party. Skippers meeting was scheduled for 11.00am so everybody could enjoy the party and didn’t need to get up that early! The forecast was epic for Sunday with even stronger winds than Saturday, so we were all looking forward to some great action for the second double elimination.
Sailors where on 4.0-4.5 sails and the wind was a bit gusty on the inside, so the choice of sail size was crucial. At 12.00pm the action was on for the double elimination and the crowd on the beach had a show of powerful high wind moves and some spectacular crashes too.
Youngster Yarden Meir (Fanatic/Simmer) from Israel put in a great performance by working his way up the ladder winning 5 heats in a row. Yarden seemed to be on fire pulling a huge repertoire of moves like Shakas, Burners, Culos, Konos and double moves. He eliminated Tony Mottus (Starboard/Neilpryde), Sassa Teixeira (RRD/RRD), Davy Scheffers, Phil Soltysiak (Starboard) and Maarten van Ochten (JP/Neilpryde) before he got stopped by Niklas Strahlen (RRD/Simmer) and finally settled for 5th position. Niklas then went on to meet Nicolas Akgazcyan (Starboard). The wind got even stronger and both riders were really powered up. There were a couple of crashes on both sides and in the end it was Niklas Strahlens (RRD/Simmer) who advanced to leave Akgazcyan in 4th place.
The Final was on and the conditions got pretty rough with gusts of 40knts and flying sand through the heat area. Andre and Steven were fully overpowered on their small sails and tried to make the best out of it. Steven tried to go for an air chachoo but a gust just took his gear away from him and threw it 30 meters downwind! It took him some time to swim after it and continue, while Andre could rack up points by landing some nice moves like a full planning Forward, a high one handed Shaka, a Toad and several switch moves. Andre came out as the winner of this heat, so both riders had to battle again in the super final. Steven had injured himself on one of the hard crashes and came out of the water bleeding. Race director Tom Hartmann checked with Steven if he was able to continue. Steven could feel his eyebrow was swollen, but said he wanted to go for it. All eyes were on the super final then between the 2 times European Champion Andre Paskowski (Fanatic/North) from Germany and the current tour leader Steven van Broeckhoven (F2) from Belgium. The show was worth it with high level freestyle action on both sides. This time Steven was able to perfectly execute his new school power moves again and therefore gained victory of the second double elimination and also the overall event.
It was an awesome event in Palekastro with some of the best action seen so far on the tour and also great hospitality from the village. Crete delivered excellent conditions throughout the 3 day event with 2 full double eliminations completed and Steven van Broeckhoven (F2) winning the 3rd event in a row."
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