White beaches, crystal clear water and stunning landscapes – this is how Sardinia presents itself in travel guides and magazines. Apart from being a famous tourist destination in the Mediterreanean Sea, it has also become a hotspot for freestyle windsurfers. After six years of absence, the EFPT will finally return to the shores of this beautiful island, that has been delivering conditions at the tour-stop in 2010 that were second to none. The event was going down in EFPT history as one of the most intense ones ever. Back in the days Steven Van Broeckhoven (JP/Gunsails) was taking victory over Davy Scheffers (2nd place) and Nicolas Akgazciyan (3rd place). This year promises exciting battles, as the chase for the European Freestyle Pro Tour title continues after the first two events in France and Austria. We spoke to Riccardo Marca (North/Fanatic), Mattia Fabrizi (Patrik) and Giovanni Passani, three of our top ten riders, who all have a really close connection with the island, to find out more about the beauty of Sardinia, local talents, training regimes and precious memories.
EFPT: After some years of absence the EFPT will return to Sardinia in the end of May. What are your thoughts on that?
Riccardo Marca: I’m really happy and looking forward to be in Sardinia for the next EFPT stop. It will actually be my first one in Sardinia, since I was not on the tour back then when it used to be one of the most known stops in Coluccia.
Mattia Fabrizi: I think it’s really nice to have the EFPT back to Italy and especially to Sardinia where I train most of the time. I hope for some good wind and a good show for all the people that will be there!
Giovanni Passani: I’m also super happy and stoked to have the chance to ride in Sardegna for this stop of the tour! I agree with Mattia and also hope for some good wind because the conditions can be amazing in Coluccia!
EFPT: What are the best memories you have about Sardinia and competition?
Riccardo Marca: Sardinia is actually a special island for me, after so many years of travelling the world, I still think that it’s is one of the most amazing and beautiful places on planet earth. The nature and the colors you can find around the island are still surprising me. I moved to Sardinia (Sant’Antioco) and finished my high school studies, so I can say I got to know the island really well. It’s been my home for a while and I’m happy to be back there soon.
Mattia Fabrizi: My best memorie is for sure when I finished 4th in 2010 after three double eliminations in crazy conditions!
Giovanni Passani: I moved to Sardegna when I was 17 years old for sailing and it is still one of my favorite places for windsurfing. I lived there for many years now and of course many amazing things happened! My best windsurfing memory in Sardegna is when I won my first Italian Championship at 18 yo!
EFPT: What is the best spot to sail there and what can we expect from the conditions?
Riccardo Marca: Sardinia is plenty of sick spots, some of them not really known. The most famous ones are Porto Pollo and Sa Barra, I personally really like both. Porto Pollo is located in the North of the island and it’s a pretty choppy one. Sa Barra instead is located in the South and it’s offering really nice and flat water freestyle conditions.
Mattia Fabrizi: There are so many spot around where you can sail in different conditions and with different wind directions. In the last few years I was always training in Porto Pollo but there are some really nice spots in the South as well.
Giovanni Passani: It is difficult to say wich is the best spot. Sardinia is big island and you can find incredible conditions in the South and in the North, you just have to be ready! The spot of the race is really nice, usually the wind is from the left and the conditions are flat water and wind from 4,0 full-on to 4,8/5,2 light-wind.
EFPT: What does connect you personally with Sardinia?
Riccardo Marca: Finishing my high school studies in the island and calling it home for two years is a very close connection.
Mattia Fabrizi: I learned how to windsurf here – so is where all started!
Giovanni Passani: That’s a big question for me, I have great connections with this island and the people living on it. It has been my house in the last years, there are friends, relationships, my love for the sea, my wild life, my food, the landscapes, the smells… everything seems to tell me, that I’m born to be here.
EFPT: In the last two events we couldn’t see a high attendance of ‚fresh faces‘. Are there some freestyle rookies in Sardinia?
Riccardo Marca: Well, the last time I’ve been in Sardinia is already almost two years ago, so I don’t really know that. ..
Mattia Fabrizi: Actually there are some young guys that always come to Sardinia in summer and they are sailing pretty good, but they are still in school so they don’t have much time to train more and attend events.
Giovanni Passani: We have some rookies ripping but is never easy to start and make the first step! I really hope they gonna show up!
EFPT: Do you often train together with other competitors?
Riccardo Marca: Few times though the year it happen to be in the same places where most of the freestylers are, and it’s such a nice feeling to be together and train with the others.
Mattia Fabrizi: Yeah, in winter we spent two months in Capetown. Every year we do a trip all together.
Giovanni Passani: Yess!!! I think it is the secret to get better: training with friends that have your or a higher level. It helps s lot!
EFPT: If you would have to advice fellow windsurfers when to travel to Sardinia, what would your suggestion be?
Riccardo Marca: Sardinia is a really windy island and it’s windy the all year. I personally really like it in spring, since there’s still nobody and the weather is getting nicer and warmer. If you are lucky you can get to crystal water spots with just a few people around and with perfect wind conditions.
Mattia Fabrizi: I also think that spring is the best time. In summer there wasn’t so much wind in the last years but it was perfect for teaching. Then from September onward it can be good again!
Giovanni Passani: I always say if you want to come here, it is better to come far from the high season in July/ August, because it is really crowded and less windy. A practical advice for travelling here is to check flights or ferries early enough in advance to safe money.
EFPT: What do you expect from the event?
Riccardo Marca: I got pretty close to the podium in Austria, so I definitely hope to get on it there.
Mattia Fabrizi: I hope that a lot of people will come to watch the event and then for sure I expect the WIND!
Giovanni Passani: I also really hope for some wind and some people on the beach enjoying the show. Because if it is going to be windy, trust me, we will make a show!!!