The PWA world tour is all set to return to the spiritual home of indoor windsurfing in Bercy stadium, Paris on the 26 March 2004.
The likes of Robby NAISH (Naish), Nik BAKER (Mistral, North), Josh ANGULO, Robert TÉRIITÉHAU, and Antoine ALBEAU (AHD, Neil Pryde) have all confirmed their entries to battle it out for the EURO 23,000 prize fund up for grabs. The Bercy stadium, which holds over 10,000, will feature slalom, freestyle and jump ramp competition in its huge pool, with over 30 knots of wind powered by 25 huge fans.
The indoor concept was masterminded by Fred BEAUCHÊNE. He had thought of the possibility for a long time until he spoke to others about his ideas in February 1989. Many thought he was crazy and that the logistics of hosting indoor windsurfing was completely impossible. But Fred Beauchêne, succeeded to convince Denis THOMINET, the chief of the "Palais Omnisport de Paris", to allow him to organize a windsurf indoor event in Bercy in March 1990.
The first indoor event was held the 5 and 6 of March 1990 where French showman, Eric THIEMÉ won the slalom and the overall event while Robby NAISH took the jump contest. For that first indoor event there were over 20,000 spectators who literally went crazy for the action. The event was an enormous success and it was clear that others would follow. By 1991, Eric THIEMÉ, Robby NAISH, Robert TÉRIITÉHAU, Manolo BARLET and Nik BAKER were dominating the indoor tour. The indoor events at Bercy became a highlight of the French windsurfing calendar and were loved by the French crowds until they eventually disappeared off the tour in 1998.
Earlier this year, the London Boat show put indoor windsurfing back on the map hosting its first ever indoor windsurfing championships. After a few teething problems while the sailors learned the art of sailing indoors, the final weekend of the event, the PWA versus UKWA finals, was a fantastic success. Kauli SEADI'S (AHD, Naish) charismatic performance on the ramp was especially notable and he soon became a favourite with the crowds. In the first round he landed a huge one footed forward, something never seen in indoor competition before. Seadi stole the show (and rode away with a brand new motorcycle) after winning the freestyle and placing high enough in the jumps and slalom to take the overall title. Ricardo CAMPELLO (Neil Pryde, JP) made up for his disappointing performance by cleaning up in the jumps landing a sick tweaked ninja kick, while Nik BAKER (North Sails, Mistral) showed everyone why he has been indoor world champion six times winning the slalom final against Douglas DIAZ (Fanatic, North).
With the young guns of windsurfing once again raising the level at the London Boat Show, who knows what the standard will be like by the time the indoor tour hits Bercy. Stay tuned to the PWA web site for all the news, results and pictures when the action takes place.
Tickets information for the shows can be found at the address below.