Dopo cinque mesi di pausa, si ricomincia… il “rutilante” circus del Pwa Tour è di nuovo in moto. Prima tappa dell’anno riservata ai freestylers che tornano in Austria sul laghetto di Neusiedler a Podersdorf per darsele di santa ragione.
Gli attori principali, come leggerete nell’event preview che segue, sono più o meno gli stessi delle ultime due stagione, cosiccome il team di Wind News in loco composto dalle nostre super inviate Stefania, Carlotta e Greta che ci terranno informati su tutto quello che succede sul lago austriaco.
Di nuovo c’è che per l’occasione dell’inizio del tour 2016, il Pwa si è dotato di un nuovo sito più moderno e veloce…
The freestylers prepare to set the 2016 PWA World Tour alight in Podersdorf
After a 5 month break it’s that time of year again as the PWA World Tour gets set to begin in 2016. Like last year it will be the contortionists of the windsurfing world who are given the honour of raising the curtain on this year’s tour — and they’ll be hoping to do it in explosive and spectacular fashion.
Dieter Van der Eyken warming up last year in Austria
Podersdorf, Austria, is where the men’s freestyle fleet will be preparing to descend upon as Neusiedler See prepares to play host, one final time, to the elite of the freestyle world between the 4th-8th May.
Austria may seem like a strange place for the opening stop of the tour at first glance — due to the fact that it is landlocked, but this is one of the reasons which makes the event so wonderfully unique. Podersdorf itself is located about an hours drive southeast from Vienna and here you’ll find the famed Neusiedler See, which has a history of being one of the most unpredictable spots on the tour. In previous years we’ve had anything from freezing cold nuclear winds, accompanied by torrential rain, to glorious sunshine and lighter thermal breezes, which you wouldn’t be blamed for associating with a Mediterranean climate. Either way Podersdorf never disappoints and you can expect to see more explosive action than ever on the water, while thousands of party goers will be soaking up the festival like atmosphere long into the night.
Rigged and ready to go
Ones to Watch
As the reigning world champion Dieter Van der Eyken (Starboard / Severne) will be the man that everyone has to beat. The Belgian was in inspired form during 2015 — beginning the year with a 4th place finish in France — his best result at that point — before blowing the competition out of the water to claim a maiden event victory in Fuerteventura, which ultimately provided Van der Eyken with a well deserved maiden world title. The 24 year old was slightly hampered with a foot injury during his time in Australia this winter, but is reportedly back to full fitness and he’ll be looking to make an explosive start to his title defence.
The reining world champion: Dieter Van der Eyken in action
However, Van der Eyken, will face a stern test with a seemingly never ending list of challengers waiting to take him down. Fellow countryman, Steven Van Broeckhoven (JP / NeilPryde), was leading last year’s tour after an emphatic victory in France, before an injury ended his title aspirations for 2015. Now the 30 year old will be raring to go again and you can expect to see him charging for the top.
Steven Van Broeckhoven
6-time PWA Freestyle World Champion — Jose ‘Gollito’ Estredo (Fanatic / North / MFC) — also suffered a similar fate to his title challenge last year as a bout of chicken pox forced Gollito to withdraw from Fuerteventura after winning the opening double elimination. The Venezuelan reportedly has a niggling shoulder injury, but that shouldn’t stand in the way of a big start — especially when many people believe he’s more dangerous and more competitive after relinquishing his world crown.
Gollito looking to fight back
Kiri Thode (Starboard / GA Sails) has been agonisingly close to adding to his sole world title — claimed in 2013 — having finished as the vice-world champion in both years since. The Bonairean is one of the most stylish performers in the world and always performs, which will see him in the thick of the action again.
Amado Vrieswijk (JP / Severne) has been knocking on the door for the past two seasons with 3rd and 4th place finishes respectively and many feel that he will be one of the top contenders for the title this year if he can bring his freesailing into the competition zone. The 20 year old is pulling off double air culos on both tacks together with air kabikuchis and many more combinations, so there is no doubt he possesses all the tricks in his arsenal to come out on top. Vrieswijk will also be able to take confidence into the opening event of the year having won the second single elimination in Fuerteventura.
Of course the remainder of the Bonaire crew will pose a serious threat too with the legendary Frans brothers Tonky (Patrik / Sailloft Hamburg / AL360) and Taty (Starboard / GA Sails / Mystic), who both ooze style and have been battling it out at the top since they started competing. Tonky also changed sponsors over the winter to Patrik and Sailloft Hamburg, so he’ll be hoping to make a bright start on his new equipment. Meanwhile, Youp Schmit (99NoveNove / Avanti) has been able to enjoy an injury free winter and he’ll be coming into the season sharper than ever, while looking to re-establish his place in the overall top 10 having narrowly missed out in 2015.
The legendary Frans Brothers. (Taty, left, Tonky, right)
Next up are the French duo of Nicolas Akgazciyan (99NoveNove / Challenger Sails / AL360 / Maui Ultra Fins) and Antony Ruenes (Tabou / GA Sails). Akgazciyan will come into the Austria full of confidence having achieved his best overall result to date last year — 4th overall, while Ruenes sailed through the pain barrier after injuring his foot in Fuerteventura to bravely secure 5th place. Both men will be fired up to make an emphatic start and you can expect them to be battling it out in the latter stages of the competition.
Davy Scheffers (Tabou / GA Sails) completed last season in 7th place overall and the Dutchman will be hoping to emulate the form which saw him earn his sole podium to date here in 2011. Scheffers is equally adept in light or strong winds, so no matter what the conditions bring he’ll be a force to be reckoned with.
Phil Soltysiak (Starboard / Sailworks) is never too far away from the action and you can expect to see another bold showing from the Canadian, who is one of the best competition sailors in the world — illustrated by the fact that he has finished in the overall Top 10 in 6 out of the last 7 years — with only an injury in 2014 spoiling his 100% record.
Also keep a close eye on Yentel Caers (JP / NeilPryde), who already started to show what he is capable of last year and has reportedly taken his sailing to another level again over the winter, and also Frenchmen Julien Mas (JP / Avanti), Adrien Bosson (Fanatic / North / Maui Ultra Fins) and Sam Esteve (JP / NeilPryde) as well as many more.
The level of freestyle looks as though it has gone through the roof over the winter with double air moves and triple pop power moves being landed left, right and centre, which means this year’s PWA Freestyle World Tour is set to be more explosive and spectacular than ever, while also being even more fiercely contested than ever before. Based on last year’s contests it seems that there are no easy heats anymore and that on their day almost anyone is capable of beating anyone, so it is going to be intriguing to see how the inaugural event of the year plays out. Don’t miss any of the enthralling action by tuning into www.pwaworldtour.com — here you’ll be able to stay up to date with the event via the live ticker and also find all of the latest images at the end of each day.
A Recap of the 2015 Overall Top 10:
1st Dieter Van der Eyken (Starboard / Severne)
2nd Kiri Thode (Starboard / GA Sails)
3rd Amado Vrieswijk (JP / Severne)
4th Nicolas Akgazciyan (99NoveNove / Challenger Sails / AL360 / Maui Ultra Fins)
5th Antony Ruenes (Tabou / GA Sails)
6th Taty Frans (Starboard / GA Sails / Mystic)
7th Davy Scheffers (Tabou / GA Sails)
8th Jose ‘Gollito’ Estredo (Fanatic / North / MFC)
9th Tonky Frans (Patrik / Sailloft Hamburg / AL360)
10th Philip Soltysiak (Starboard / Sailworks)