The first ever IFCA Grand Prix in Austria left us with all kind of different weather scenarios throughout the week. On the last day it eventually delivered suitable conditions to run the EFPT freestyle competition.
With north-westerly wind, the buoy course was set in the morning and the horn for the first heat went off at 1.15pm. The sailors were on their 5.2s and bigger freestyle boards. The slightly more westerly direction made the wind quite gusty, so the heat duration had been extended to ten minutes after the third heat. Already in round number one, the action had been amazing, considering the challenging conditions. Julien Mas (JP) showed his moves with a very smooth style and managed to take out local rider Max Matissek (North/Fanatic), to then be stopped by Belgian freestyle hot-shot Yentel Caers (JP).
Riccardo Marca (North/Fanatic) who was placed 6th overall in last years EFPT ranking, seemed to struggle a bit in the beginning, yet could get his competition game back on in the end, to take out Eliran Levi from Israel and Giovanni Passani. Once again, Caers was the one to stop this run.
An impressive performance was shown by German rider Andreas Lachauer (JP/Neilpryde). He sailed super stylish in all of his heats landing a switch forward loop, a funnell clock as well as powermoves, which scored him points on all levels: diversity, style and technical difficulty. Lachauer was taking out Loick Spicher (RRD/RRD) from Switzerland and could then win over Nicolas Akgazciyan in a very close 2:1 decision. The German competitor was excited by his victory and stated, that he has already been sailing five times against the Frenchie in other competitions, yet could never pass.
19 years old Sam Esteve (Neilpryde/JP) from France, who won the Chiemsee Tow-In Championship yesterday, was sailing on an outstanding level. He caused quite an upset by taking down Tonky Frans (RRD/RRD) in the first and Adrien Bosson (North/Fanatic) in the second round. After losing against Caers in the semi-final, he faced Jacopo Testa (RRD/RRD) in the last heat of today – the losers final.
Jacopo Testa has been stepping it up big time in the past seasons and seems a lot more switched on in competition. He landed perfect kabis, double spocks and spock culos in most of his heats and topped it up with no handed flakas, a regular chachoo and shakas that he went through completely one handed.
Vice World Champion from last year, Amado Vrieswijk (Severne/JP) proved once again how consistant his sailing was, regardless of the conditions. The Bonairean sailor landed spock culos, double culos, konos and burners as well as shove-it spocks and nice shakas on both tacks. Vrieswijk closed the doors for Ruyssenaars, Lachauer and Testa, to face his good friend and team-mate Caers in the winners final.
The winners final itself was great to watch – not only because of the high class sailing, but also because of the good vibes between the two friends on the water. The JP Australia team-mates were sailing close together, trying to either excel each other move by move or by trying to synchronize double culos and kabikuchis. Both riders filled their sheets, yet Amado Vrieswijk could take victory over the Belgian sailor.
The top three and final result of the first IFCA Grand Prix:
1st Amado Vrieswijk (Severne/JP)
2nd Yentel Caers (JP)
3rd Jacopo Testa (RRD/RRD)
Since Vrieswijk and Caers won't make it to all the EFPT events, Testa and Esteve collected extremely valuable points for the overall ranking of 2017 and became contenders for the title. The next EFPT contest will take place in Tarifa from the 18th-21st of May, where the hunt for the EFPT title 2017 will continue.