34 registered riders, a beach full with spectators and a handful of new moves.
When the official registration took place this morning it became quite obvious how much recognition the tow-in discipline gets amongst riders. We had a lot of interest in the competition and many entries, not only by the male but also by the female riders. While some were hesitating a few girls were motivated to give it a go, even if they had to compete in a fleet only consisting of guys.
Many of the worlds finest female freestyle talents put their names forward for this tow-in, including; world-champion in freestyle, Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard) from Aruba, second in the world Arrianne Aukes from Holland, Yoli de Brendt (North/Fanatic) from Venezuela and Maxime van Gent (North/Fanatic) from Bonaire.
After the seeding was completed the three fleets are as follows:
With the weather clearing up, the beach filled up with spectators for the first tow-in qualification round. The competition itself was executed outside the famous 'pool' at the Zeil & Surfcentrum Brouwersdam to give all the riders the possibility to choose from which side they want to be towed. Sarah-Quita, who got the wildcard to compete for the first time in an EFPT event opened the contest with a nice funnell and a big smile on her face. During her second run, after obviously gaining some confidence the freestyler from Aruba went for a burner but couldn't quite get the full rotation. Yet the people on the beach honored her performance with a warming round of applause.
Outstanding in his first and also his second run was Nicolas Akgazciyan (Starboard). Knowing that France seems to have become a nation famous for its inventive tow-in riders, Akgazciyan still surprised with a clew-first flaka, being towed clew first the whole way. The move let him finish in second position and therefor guarantees him a place in the final.
Tom Hartmann, race director of the European Tour had already pointed out that 'new' tow-in moves, that would progress the sport, will be definitely honored by the judges. This obviously motivated some riders as we saw some skopu tries from Dutch rider Remko de Zeeuw and Quincy Offringa (Starboard) from Aruba. Also the era of the burner in tow-in seems to end as more and more riders get towed regular stance to fire through huge culos, so did Youp Schmit (JP/Neilpryde) from Bonaire and Paul Boef (North/Fanatic) from Holland. Schmit's massive move put him into 4th place, still with quite a high score which makes him a possible candidate for being the lucky loser who enters the final.
After being quite unsure about his participation in this discipline at the registration, Antony Ruenes stomped a perfectly clean flaka into shaka 720 in front of a cheering crowd. The riders in the water also celebrated the move which was a premiere for the EFPT tow-in. Ruenes seemed to pleased with his performance yet came out of the water wrapping his hands into a scarf because of the cold. He stated: 'I don't really train tow-in because it's very dangerous, you can get injured easily. You get pulled into the move much faster than you would usually go and also crash worse. I was lucky to land this move today.'
Bonairian, Taty Frans (Starboard) succeed over his brother Tonky this time with a clean triple funnell diablo. It put him into third position behind the two French riders.
See the whole list from today plus points below: