From the 8th till the 12th of September Surf and Kite Theologos hosted the European Freestyle Pro Tour. The freestyle windsurfing competition attracted riders from all over the world to compete on the beautiful shores of Rhodes, Greece. In total there are 42 athletes from countries like Venezuela, Bonaire, Russia, New Caledonia and many European nations that battled it out for the podium in three categories: Pro Men’s, Women’s and Junior’s. There was a lot at stake as the vent actually decided the European Champion for the Women and Juniors. The conditions for the weekend were fantastic with 5-6 Beaufort winds and large waves making the biggest and most radical jumps possible from the world’s best windsurfers.
The competition was run in an elimination format, meaning that the athletes sailed one on one heats on the water, with the best rider advancing to the next round. With a total of 9 minutes in each heat the riders had 6 of their most stylish and radical tricks judged and counted towards their score.
On Saturday the 11th of September it was finals day, where all the riders that advanced the furthest were up against each other. In the junior category, the unstoppable force of Lennart Neubauer from Greece took the victory by winning every single heat he sailed. He was therefore also crowned European Champion in the under 18 category. The podium was topped off by two Dutchmen: Tigo Kort in 2nd and Bodhi Kempen in 3rd. The junior’s competition at Theologos showed great promise for the future of the freestyle windsurfing sport.
In the women’s elimination ladder it was Maaike Huvermann from the Netherlands dominating. She became European Champion in a spectacular fashion, doing moves that would get her quite far even in the Men’s competition. She was followed up by Russian Olya Raskina and Austrian Hanna Poschinger. The women’s competition was also joined by some rising stars, most notably 16-year-old Dutch Sterre Meijer who just barely missed out on the podium places.
In the Men’s final the best performance can be attributed to Amado Vrieswijk from Bonaire. The rider showed no hesitation in his sailing and often won his heats with some of the events highest scores. Even more impressive was the second place for Belgian Yentel Caers, who made one of the biggest comebacks in the sport, sailing 8 heats in a row to challenge Vrieswijk. On his way there, he took out multiple World Champion Gollito Estredo, Junior winner Lennart Neubauer and multiple European Champion Steven van Broeckhoven among others. The third spot was claimed by Italian Jacopo Testa who impressed with his unique radical style.
On Sunday the award ceremony was held with traditional Greek dancers and live music. Organizer Tobias Gottfried spoke of a successful event and announced that Surf and Kite Theologos will host the European Freestyle Pro Tour once again in 2022.
Rookies Camp – A new generation ready to compete
The event was preceded by a Rookie Camp where a new generation of freestyle windsurfers was steamed ready for competition by German pro windsurfer Julian Wiemar and 2017 European Champion Jacopo Testa. The young riders also got the chance to meet and sail with reigning World Champion and EFPT Theologos runner-up Yentel Caers as well as multiple European Champion Steven van Broeckhoven.