The cream of the crop of the men's freestyle fleet will once again descend upon Austria's famed Neusiedler See for the opening event of the 2012 freestyle world tour.
From 27 April to 1 May the contortionists of the windsurfing world will be congregating on the shores of Neusiedler See, to show off all their latest moves after their winter training and to launch the 2012 freestyle season off to an explosive start.
Neusiedler See is unique as the only inland stop on the PWA tour. It is also truly unpredictable as it can offer anything from freezing 40 knot winds, combined with torrential rain, to weather more associated with the Mediterranean and idyllic breezes. One thing is for sure though, this event rarely disappoints.
What's The Deal?
A five day freestyle extravaganza, which will witness the finest world class freestylers going head-to-head for a share of the €35,000 prize purse, and the all-important world tour points at the beginning of the season.
One's To Watch
Reigning world champion Steven Van Broeckhoven (JP / NeilPryde) will be the man to beat. Fresh back from his winter training in South Africa and Maui, it is clear that Van Broeckhoven hasn't rested on his laurels. He's added a whole repertoire of refinements to his freestyle artillery in order to make a successful defense of his title. The Belgium maestro can be seen throwing double burners, no handed culos and even double forwards in his latest video prior to the opening event of the year. Everyone will still be waiting to see how he has adapted to his new JP and NeilPryde equipment, but early impressions would seem to suggest that he is continuing to push the boundaries of freestyle.
Still considered the King of freestyle by many and with four world titles to his name already, Jose "Gollito" Estredo (Fanatic / North) will be hungry to add a fifth. After a disappointing season last year, by his standards, which saw Gollito finish third, he'll be keen to set the record straight. After breaking his wrist in Brazil, Gollito has been training in his home spot, El Yaque, and he is looking in formidable form for the start of the season.
The Bonaire crew consisting of: - Kiri Thode (Starboard / Gaastra), Tonky Frans (Tabou / Gaastra) and Taty Frans (Starboard / MauiSails / Mystic / Maui Ultra Fins) offer a unique style, which often attracts the attention of the judges and pleases the crowds. These guys are always pushing for podium places and we expect it to be no different this year.
The young, radical Dutchman Davy Scheffers (Tabou / Gaastra) enjoyed his best year on tour to date in 2011, which saw him claim fifth place. Scheffers performed brilliantly here last year, and he is used to the array of conditions Podersdorf produces, so he should be expected to do well no matter what the weather delivers.
Other riders to look out for in the season ahead include, Dieter Van Der Eyken (Starboard / Severne). He spent his winter training in Western Australia and is feared by many of his fellow sailors. On his day he is more than capable of shooting down any of the big guns. Wild Israeli Yarden Meir (Fanatic / Simmer Style / Maui Ultra Fins) is known for his go big or go home attitude, and this definitely makes him one to watch. The super consistent Canadian Phil Soltysiak (Starboard / Sailworks) has all the latest power moves to match the top guys, expect to see him pushing for the top ten.
The freestyle world tour is extremely competitive, and as a result there are a whole host of sailors who are capable of making it to the top and this season promises to be more competitive than ever. With the top guys throwing increasingly bigger and more powerful moves each than any previous year, you can be sure that Podersdorf 2012 will be a spectacular event - not only on the water but off it too with its world renowned parties!
Scope The Action
For information on all the entrants, and to keep up to date with every piece of the action, navigate to www.pwaworldtour.com