After arriving in Holland straight off the back of 10 windless days at the PWA event in Sylt everyone attending the European Freestyle Pro Tour (EFPT) event was getting pretty desperate for some wind. Most of us including me hadn’t even been windsurfing in the past month due to the lack of wind in Europe. The opening day of the event was looking marginal but still quite promising on the forecast however it wasn’t quite to be as we only managed to run a couple of heats and spent the rest of the day hanging around on standby with it never getting quite windy enough.
After the let down of the first day it was starting to look more and more likely that we would be left without a result.. There was a small chance that the final day would be windy so we all hung on to that hope and in the meantime continued with what we’ve become very use to at windless events; Tow in!! Tow in windsurfing really kicked off my first year on tour five years ago and since then has become more and more a regular feature at every event. It’s a great opportunity to be able to show the crowds what would be possible when we don’t have wind and due to it not being limited by the unpredictability of the wind then you can understand why event organisers are pushing for more and more of it. I’ve always taken a pretty laid back approach to it and normally just partake to make sure I at least get one picture from the event, however now with the amount of prize money that’s starting to become available and a real kind of challenge from many lower ranked guys for the top spots its left me reconsidering my approach. With that in mind and whilst trying to not be too concerned that the only windsurfing I’d done in the past month had involved me being propelled by a jet ski, winch or a boat I set out in Brouwersdam to make a bit more effort to explore the possibilities of some different moves. To be honest I’d been boring myself with the kind of standard moves I normally result to during the tow in and although these safe options have seen me in some finals and on top of the podium at national events they’re never going to be enough to win events. Inspired by my good friend Adam Simms’ victory in Sylt I set out on a mission…. Ok it didn’t go very well at all as I didn’t even qualify for the final but I at least felt like it was a start in the right direction and it was so much more fun to try some different things.
I was quite skeptical personally but there was a bit of a buzz around the event with all hopes pinned to the last morning. Thankfully it actually came through even better than had been forecast and come the 8:30AM skippers meeting we were straight out on the water. There was just one downside… It was absolutely freezing!! With the windchill it felt around 2 degrees. So with the winter gear on I went out and was very happy to advance my first heat against a very tough opponent Antoine Albert from New Caledonia. After that I was straight up against the newly crowned freestyle windsurfing world champion Dieter Van Der Eyken and although I sailed a good heat it wasn’t quite enough to take down the champ. Unfortunately with the wind dropping in the afternoon we could only complete the single elimination so I finished the event in 9th place which after a disappointing season competing I was pretty happy to add another single digit number to my European tour results. This will be my last EFPT event this year so I end up with a 5th from Milos beach and the 9th here in Holland. Huge thanks to Ric Jendrusch and the rest of the crew in Brouwersdam for such a professional and well run event!