The EFPT set up their office here less than 24 hours ago and Six Fours les Plages has been delivering every possible weather scenario so far. We've seen heavy rain upon arrival yesterday, low wind and sunshine with mild temperatures today and then the north westerly Mistral fully kicked in to transform this beautiful spot into a high class freestyle windsurf arena.
With the registration finishing at 10.30 am today the starter list counted 36 riders out of ten different nations. Worth mentioning is definitely the high motivation amongst the local sailors as we didn't only see the team France (consisting of local boy Adrien Bosson (North/Fanatic), Julien Mas and Antony Ruenes) ripping but also young freestyle windsurfers who wanted to give their international debut today like Romain Pinocheau, Le Gouez Romain and Mateos Quentin just to mention a few. Riders were equipped with some nice goodies and lycras sponsored by Oxbow and shortly after the single elimination ladder has been announced.
After several rounds it already became obvious which riders would be the ones to keep an eye on. We have seen really strong sailing from the italian rider Mattia Fabrizi (North/Fanatic) who didn't only convince with his consistency but also his style and diversity of moves. Furthermore team Sailloft Hamburg left the judges impressed with Matthias Genkel sailing through his heats without hardly dropping any maneuvers, even kicking out highly talented RRD rider Jacopo Testa who had his 21st birthday yesterday. Also Adam Sims from the UK drew their attention not only by landing sick power moves but also by crashing in a quite unique way after attempting a monster skopu. Last but not least the technical yet fluid Adrian Beholz from Germany managed to pretty much 'walk' through his heats, taking out young Rick Jendrusch and Russian sailor Vladimir Yakovlev (JP/Neilpryde), who is always surprising with his consistency in any kind of conditions, to be stopped by Tonky Frans who proved one more time why he is ranked amongst the top 5 of the world.
The local hero Adrien Bosson (North/Fanatic) sailed a very solid heat against Loick Spicher (JP/Neipryde) from Switzerland and afterwards against Davy Scheffers from the Netherlands, who passed through in the end. The two riders gave the judges a hard time with busting out one move after the other on both tacks. A very full judging sheet made the decision a longer process but favored the Dutch sailor in the end. Julien Mas and Antony Ruenes also showed their best performance in the very choppy onshore conditions with wind speeds of up to 50 knots. Julien Mas managed to defeat Adam Gavriel from Israel who obviously didn't have much problems with the conditions as his home spot Eilat can deliver in a similar way, still he had to give way to the member of team France. Julien got then taken out by current 4th placed Mattia Fabrizi (North/Fanatic) from Italy. Antony Ruenes on the other hand seemed to be gutted after sailing through all of his heats without any problems to be then stopped by team mate Tonky Frans, who then didn't find his way back to the beach at all today, sailing hours and hours seizing the strong wind and the waves to go bigger and higher with a lot of style, which also brought him the victory in the end.
Dieter Van der Eyken (Starboard) from Belgium has been one of the riders who dominated the competition today throwing out consistent moves on both tacks just like Shakas, Burners and Konos. Even though he has been fighting really hard in the final heat against Frans it was not possible for him to beat the Bonairean, who showed slightly more control and landed moves even though being fully overpowered.
After the winners of the single elimination were announced, race director Tom Hartmann immediately started to work on the double elimination ladder to send the riders back out on the water as quick as possible. With sail-sizes between 3.4 and 4.2 the riders were literally flying through the final heats of day 1. While the water surface was taking off and the sun started to set we saw Cappuzzo (RRD/RRD) and Livraghi (North/Fanatic) both from Italy and Pollet and Albert from France advancing from the first round. In the second round of the double elimination Cappuzzo took out Mercader, Loick Spicher (JP/Neilpryde) defeated Ben Lee from the UK, Greek rider Athanasiou left behind talented Romain Pinocheau from France, Romeo Matteo (RRD/RRD) left his country man Marco Livraghi behind and Jacopo Testa (RRD/RRD) and Antoine Albert (Starboard) closed the door for Nic Hibdige (Starboard) from the UK and Xavier Frelin (Fanatic), respectively.
The forecast for tomorrow looks as exciting as the one for today and promises wind-speeds of up to 50 knots! Unfortunately slightly lower temperatures are expected. First possible start is set for 9.00 o'clock tomorrow, and remember the clocks change tonight!
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