Wave specialists impress with their freestyle skills at FPT Cape Town 2023
Howling winds kicked off the racing season 2023 in Sud Africa
Marc Pare (Fanatic/Duotone) and Pauline Katz (Severne) win the first Freestyle Pro Tour event in Cape Town! The nuclear winds kicked off the competitive season 2023 with riders up and down the draw frantically searching for the smallest equipment they had. Two eliminations took place, one at Lake Rietvlei and one at the Doodles wavespot, which means different conditions that challenged each of the 28 participants. With over 40 Knots during heats, history was made with the first ever Pushloop Forward in a freestyle heat, as well as highly technical freestyle combo maneuvers performed on wave equipment.
First round in Rietvlei
The wind usually blows around noon in Cape Town, But when the riders arrived at 9:00 for registration were greeted by what is described locally as a “Southeast Black”. This meant strong wind from the start and was a good sign for the rest of the day. After Chief Judge Florian Ragossnig explained the modified evaluation format at the skipper meeting, The wind was already well in the range of 30 nodes. With a mix of wave and freestyle conditions, in addition to the presence of many riders traditionally oriented to the wave, Scores were decided on the basis of a single best maneuver on each edge. The overall impression contributed to the rest 50% of the score, forcing riders to get creative. Throughout the day the judges would also keep an eye on the best Forward Loop, Pushloop, The attempt at a new maneuver, Rider of the day, The most impressive attempt and the best maneuver in general. The riders who performed them would receive an extra prize at the end of the day along with the winners of the traditional competition.
As the fleet prepared to enter the water, There was a lot of talk about the wave specialists participating in the competition. How they would have fared in flat water with a limited freestyle repertoire? They would soon get lost and would have to fight to climb the leaderboard in the waves.? And you can’ also freestyle on a wave board? Riders like Marc Pare, Flo Jung (Starboard/GUNSAILS/Maui Ultra Fins), Alessio Stillrich and Miguel Chapuis (JP/NeilPryde) among others, seemed confident, And no one knew if they would cause problems …
The strong wind was wreaking havoc. In the first rounds it is’ witnessed impressive performances by Dudu Levi (FutureFly/GUNSAILS) who was in control of his equipment despite the difficult conditions. He was eliminated by current world champion Adrien Bosson (Fanatic/Duotone/Maui Ultra Fins), who was in a league of his own. Maarten Molenaar (GUNSAILS) deleted David Jeschke (GUNSAILS), both riders entering the Freestyle Pro Tour for the first time force the judges to make some tough decisions at the beginning. Also the German Marco Lufen (JP/NeilPryde/Maui Ultra Fins), Belgian Dieter Van der Eyken (Severne) and Britain's George Grisley (AV-Boards |) passed the heats when the wind began to overcome the 40 nodes. To surprise the judges there were Pare, Jung and Stillrich, who all put together a solid heat with Ponches, Flaka's and Spocks along with some old-school hip maneuvers added to the mix for their impression score. These riders made it clear that they were serious..
As rounds progress, emerging freestyler Mathis Mollard (JP/NeilPryde) caught everyone's attention by eliminating Adam Sims (Sailloft) in the quarter-finals. With the strong support of the crowd French on the shore, the 21-year-old was jumping with Skopus and Burners so close to the judges' tower that concerns were jokingly raised about his landing above them.. On the other side of the board, Marc Pare started performing regular ducking maneuvers with his wave equipment, impressing the judges with Asil and Kono. Joining the last four were Van der Eyken and Bosson., well known for their achievements in Freestyle in the past.
Due to Pare that he suffered a slight shoulder injury, Mollard managed to secure 3rd place in the first round. When the final between Bosson and Van der Eyken took place, The two were so overveiled that it really goes back to basics.. The landing of Double Puneta and Forwards was the sure way forward, after the heat started with the Belgian rider having to swim a lot to retrieve his equipment. Bosson emerged victorious and became the favorite of the event, as the French is also known for its skills in the waves.
With two women registered, We went directly to some final heats to decide the winner. It was great to see some new names, with the Swiss Pauline Katz (Severne) and French Aurore Bous who both made their competitive debuts in freestyle. With a mix of Forward Loops and Air Jibes plus some impressive Spock attempts, The two challenged each other with strong winds. Katz prevailed, convincing judges with forwards on both walls.
Second round at Doodles
The lake and’ soon “Exploded”. The riders prepared their equipment and began their transfer to Doodles, a wave spot where the second round would take place. Upon arrival the general consensus was that going out with freestyle equipment would be a silly exercise.. After everyone has armed the sails more’ piccole, The competition is back to play but with a completely different story on the water as the Wave Riders were now on their home ground, advancing rapidly through the leaderboard. However, Freestyle was not yet completely ruled out.
George Grisley, The only rider on a freestyle board, tried Burners and Skopu's on the wall of often high waves. Van der Eyken, who took second place in the first round, performed some amazing Spock Ass and Spock Kono on a 3.3 with wave board. Even Mathis Mollard wasn't slowing down. At the end and’ Sims state to perform farthest from traditional Freestylers, mixing some huge Backloops with Konos, Culos and Spock.
However, they could not compete with wave specialists., although they were maintaining a high level. For example, Jeschke was still attempting Spocks but the competition was now completely dominated by wave jumps.. Baptiste Cloarec, Arthur Arutkin (Fanatic/Duotone) and Miguel Chapuis were climbing the charts with jumps reminiscent of a typical day in Pozo. Stillrich and Pare managed to keep them at bay but had to give everything to succeed. The crowd that gathered, while hiding among cars so as not to be covered by sand, witnessed what must have been one of the highest Pushloop Forwards ever seen, and definitely the first ever seen in a Freestyle competition. Spanish Pare, who wrote this enterprise with his name, beat Stillrich who defended himself with some crazy Double Forwards. In third place was Chapuis who managed to defeat Sims in the losing final., partly thanks to his Stalled Forward.
Pauline Katz was also on her home grounds., that despite the forfeit of his opponent due to the crazy conditions, came out and cemented her lead.
Back to the lake
When the last heat ended, everyone returned to Milnerton Aquatic Club for a relaxing evening and the announcement of the results. The judges did their calculations, combining the two rounds together to achieve an overall result. The winner was Marc Pare who impressed everyone present with his unexpectedly high level of Freestyle. “Every time the wind gets light in Pozo, I try to learn some freestyle power maneuvers on my wave equipment” commented Spanish. In second place Alessio Stillrich who also showed his allround windsurfing character. To complete the podium, to everyone's surprise, was Mathis Mollard. The French achieved two good results that added up pleasantly in third place overall. In women, Pauline Katz uncorked the champagne, admitting to being super motivated now to do more freestyle in the future.
Proving Grounds Series and extra prizes
The event was part of the new Proving Grounds series., introduced to make freestyle competition as accessible as possible to everyone. The flexible judging and forward-looking nature of the event make it a fun way to get involved, without the stress associated with high-level sports competition. The FPT Cape Town event therefore also had an Amateur division. The winner of this category was Victor Landau, with Sietse de Jager in second place and Clement Auger in third place.
The event that is part of the PGS (Proving Grounds Series) It also means that more prizes are awarded. The judges kept their eyes peeled all day and decided that the best Push Loop award should go to David Jeschke, that he was fully engaging in this maneuver in his heats. The best forward went to Alessio Stillrich who landed one in full glide. The best maneuver went to the Pushloop Forward of Pare, with Chief Justice Flo Ragossnig saying she had never seen anything like it in her life. The best attempt at a new maneuver was a difficult category to choose, mainly because no real new maneuvers were seen in the competition. Eventually, However, Adam Sims received the award for his stylish One hand Railgrab Pushloops, Never seen in a freestyle competition. The most impressive attempt had to go to Miguel Chapuis for the crazy height of his jumps. Infine il premio di rider del giorno è andato a Mathis Mollard che ha superato ogni aspettativa ed è entrato con il botto nella scena agonistica.
L’evento è riuscito a sposare insieme freestyle e onde, e ha fornito alcune delle azioni più emozionanti mai viste.
Overall Results Men
First name Last name Nationality Sailsponsor Boardsponsor
1 Marc Pare Spain Duotone Fanatic
2 Alessio Stillrich Spain
3 Mathis Mollard France NeilPryde JP
4 Adam Sims UK Sailloft
5 Adrien Bosson France Duotone Fanatic
6 Dieter Van der Eyken Belgium Severne Severne
7 Florian Jung Germany GUNSAILS Starboard
Baptiste Cloarec France
9 Arthur Aurtkin France Duotone Fanatic
Victor Landau France
11 Miguel Chapuis Spain NeilPryde JP
Marco Lufen Germany NeilPryde JP
13 Tomer Shamgar Israel FutureFly
David Jeschke Germany GUNSAILS
15 Dudu Levi Israel GUNSAILS FutureFly
Maarten Molenaar Netherlands GUNSAILS
Sietse de Jager Netherlands
George Grisley UK AV-Boards
19 Clement Auger France
20 Vincent Chapelle France
Manolis Chrysopoulos Greece NeilPryde JP
Jeremy Amsellem France
Florian Ragossnig Austria NeilPryde JP
Marc Pesman Netherlands Severne FutureFly
Max Matissek Austria Duotone Fanatic
Romaine Delon France Duotone Fanatic
Overall Results Women
First Name Last Name Nationality Sailsponsor Boardsponsor
1 Pauline Katz Swiss Severne Severne
2 Aurore Bous French
Overall Results Amateurs Men
First name Last name Nationality Sailsponsor Boardsponsor
1 Victor Landau French
2 Sietse de Jager Netherlands
3 Clement Auger French
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