The event crew made every effort to get competition underway, but the frustratingly light winds forced the competitors to remain on standby for the full duration of the day.
When the one gust of the day did hit, the professionalism amongst the competitors was outstanding. With a chance that the competition could run at any moment an elite entourage of freestylers were on the water and ready to rock out their radical tricks. The current world champ, Jose ‘Gollito’ Estredo (Fanatic, North), was seen throwing down many a move during the one-minute period of wind including a clean cana brava. Hopefully it’ll blow for long enough tomorrow to allow official competition to commence.
Tense Times In The Tent
Being on standby for the whole day with the threat of competition imminent, the sailors can get rather frustrated at times, and if you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time, you definitely know about it! Mid way through the afternoon, a group of the world’s most fierce freestylers were seen arguing over which moves should be scored the highest. According to the sailors, a willy skipper in Fuerteventura is as difficult as a chachoo in Bonaire! Head judge, Duncan Coombs, commented: “Generally we all agree that a regular chachoo is perhaps the most difficult move to perform, but it does all depend on the conditions, and moves will be scored accordingly."
Here in Podersdorf there are often a few new faces on the world tour. We hooked up with two of freestyle’s freshest to rack their brains about their exciting new experience…
PWA: What’s it like coming to your first PWA event?
Max Rowe (Mistral, Simmer): “It’s all a bit surreal sitting here with all the guys that I’ve watched so many times in the videos. I’ve met a few of them before but have never seen them all in one room like this. It’s pretty exciting really. I just hope we get some wind!"
Dieter Van Der Eyken (Starboard, Severne): “It’s really cool. I remember just last year, looking at the pictures in the magazines and wishing I could go to the events. I decided to join a while ago and the last six months have gone really quickly.
PWA: How do you feel right now? Anxious or scared?
MR: “I do feel a little bit anxious, but I’ve got Andy Chambers (JP, NeilPryde) in my first heat. I’m hoping that by having a familiar face on the water it’ll make it easier, and perhaps take the pressure of the whole event."
DVDE: “I’m quite scared of the scoring format because I haven’t practiced that many power moves recently. I was landing Culos fairly consistently during my training though, so hopefully they’ll help to push me through.
PWA: Do you feel star struck with the current world champion, sitting right next to us?
MR: “I’ve met Gollito a few times before when I worked in Margarita so it’s not too bad with him. I’ve only just met the guys from Bonaire though, so I was a bit scared of them, but they’re all super friendly. Everyone is very welcoming."
DVDE: “Not really because I’m used to sailing with quite a lot of the guys. One good thing about having such great sailors in the heats is that you can either learn from them if they beat you. Or, if you beat them, it means you have a better chance of going further through the contest."
PWA: Why have you decided to join the PWA world tour?
MR: “I think I’m at the right level now to join, and hopefully it’ll make me push my own personal sailing so that I improve further. Plus, I think it’s really good for the sport if we have more people competing at the highest level, and the PWA events definitely attract the best sailors in the world."
DVDE: “I wanted to have fun and meet all of the top sailors in the world.
PWA: Where are you aiming to finish? Or are you simply here for the experience?
MR: “I suppose I’m here for the experience mainly, but it would be nice if I could break into the top 16. I’d love to be at that sort of level."
DVDE: “Hopefully I’ll be able to get a top 16 finish. I didn’t train as much as I wanted to this winter, but at the EFPT event prior to this, I came 2nd which was a real shock to me. So hopefully a top 16 place here isn’t out of my reach. If I get kicked out in the first round, I’ll just try my hardest in the double elimination. Also, all of the guys have been training really hard this winter whereas I’ve only sailed a handful of times because I’m still at school, so there’s no shame in being beaten by them."
PWA: Are you going to do the whole tour this year?
MR: “That’s my plan."
DVDE: “I told everyone that if I got a top ten finish here then I would definitely do everything, but I’ve also got my exams to think about for the following few months. I would really like to go to them all though for sure. I mean it’s the highest level of competition in the world, and I’d love to be a part of it – I’ve been dreaming about competing on the PWA tour since I was nine years old!"