This year's PWA Surf World Cup Podersdorf certainly didn't disappoint, with unbelievable action both on and off the water. Monumental crowds gathered on the shores of Neusiedler See, and they were treated to extreme freestyle action day and night with the Chiemsee tow in event running alongside the PWA event each evening.
The inaugural day of the 2012 Freestyle World Tour was a relaxed affair, as the wind remained light for the duration of Friday. Once the formalities of registration were out of the way, sailors were left to chill and enjoy the atmosphere encompassing the event.
Day two saw the first heats of the season sailed, with Adrian Beholz (Sailoft Hamburg / Maui Ultra Fins) being the stand out sailor of the day. However it was day three when the action really hotted up, as the wind blew for the whole day, allowing the single elimination to be finished and the big guns to hit the water for the first time. Wild card entrant Andreas Lachauer (JP / NeilPryde) enjoyed a successful debut, beating Edvan Souza (RRD / Simmer Style) and Andy Chambers (JP / NeilPryde) on his way to the third round, before meeting his match against Steven Van Broeckhoven (JP / NeilPryde). Anthony Ruenes (Tabou / Gaastra) was sailing well but he couldn't maneuver past Kiri Thode (Starboard / Gaastra) in the quarterfinals as the top four from last years overall rankings; Steven Van Broeckhoven, Kiri Thode, Jose 'Gollito' Estredo (Fanatic / North) and Taty Frans (Starboard / MauiSails / Mystic / Maui Ultra Fins) dominated the semi-finals line up.
Gollito continued his charge to the winners final by knocking out Kiri Thode with an accomplished performance. Bonaire would have a representative in the winners final though, as Taty Frans maintained his impressive form to ruin the reigning world champion's day. Van Broeckhoven didn't seem to have quite the same level of pop that is usually associated with him, as he struggled slightly in the underpowered conditions.
The winners' final consisted of 4x world champion Gollito Estredo and the King of the 2010 Podersdorf event, Taty Frans. Gollito was on fire in the final as he delivered a devastating display of the latest power moves, including an unbelievable flaka shaka flaka. The Venezuelan continued to go from strength-to-strength as the final progressed, and even an air chachoo from Frans couldn't prevent Gollito from being crowned the champion of the 2012 PWA Surf World Cup.
The result was even more impressive based on the fact that Estredo had broken his wrist in Brazil this winter, enforcing a period of 4 months off the water, only returning to action one month prior to Austria. His intense training in El Yaque clearly paid off as he started the season in unbeatable form, and claimed the maximum points possible as he bids to regain the world title.
The double elimination was started on day four, but with the conditions remaining marginal it was only possible to complete half of the first round heats by the end of the day, despite five hours of competition being attempted.
The final day of the competition offered a forecast with gusts of 16 knots in the afternoon. Unfortunately though the wind never materialized and the results from the double elimination were discarded. Although there was no further windsurfing action, the event on Tuesday was still showered with a party atmosphere, which continued long into the night as another famous party in Austria unfolded to conclude an epic event.
Results After Single Elimination
1. Jose Gollito Estredo (Fanatic / North)
2. Taty Frans (Starboard / MauiSails / Mystic / Maui Ultra Fins)
3. Kiri Thode (Starboard / Gaastra)
4. Steven Van Broeckhoven (JP / NeilPryde)
5. Nicola Akgazciyan (Starboard / Point-7 / Maui Ultra Fins)
5. Anthony Ruenes (Tabou / Gaastra)
5. Bjorn Saragoza (Starboard / Hot Sails Maui)
5. Davy Scheffers (Tabou / Gaastra)
The freestyle fleets will return to action again on the 20th July. The world's best freestylers will be battling it out in Sotavento, Fuerteventura. Before then though the slalom tour will be competing in Ulsan, South Korea between the 5th to the 11th of May.
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