It’s ON! The green light for the 2024 FPT Cape Town Airstyle contest has been given for this Saturday. The single elimination of the competition will be ran at the Milnerton Aquatic Club with a first possible start at 13:00 local time. The double looks to be run on the next strongest day of the forecast, which currently looks like Thursday the 15th of February. With a mix of freestylers and wave sailors signed up you can expect some crazy action, especially because the winds are forecast to be blowing over 30 knots. Last year it was Adrien Bosson (Duotone/Maui Ultra Fins) who took the win on the lake, he is however absent this year. Who will it be in 2024 then? Check out last years highlight video and read about the contenders for this year below.
The Rietvlei lake is known to provide exceptionally strong winds with a mix of chop around the lake. Just check out the video above to see the potential carnage. It’s the perfect arena for a freestyle contest, as it will test the riders to their maximum. Once the single elimination is complete, the competition will be put on hold until the next strong wind day on the forecast, currently the 15th of February, to run the double elimination on the ocean. Riders are competing for the best possible starting position for that part of the contest tomorrow.
So who’s in the running? There’s a couple of names, but the favourite definitely has to be Lennart Neubauer (Starboard/Severne/Maui Ultra Fins). The greek just became the 2023 European Freestyle Champion and will be looking to start the new season on a high. He has been seen training around Cape Town for the last few weeks, especially at the Rietvlei lake where the single elimination will be held. On multiple occasions he chose to sail overpowered, staying on a 4.4 when most were hardly holding on to a 4.0 square meter sail. To no surprise, he hardly broke a sweat. Expect double power moves to be his only scoring tricks, alongside the odd Air Skopu or Air Kabikuchi…
So who can challenge him? Also present will be Jacopo Testa (WeOne/Point-7). The Italian, who won the tour in 2022, has made it clear that he means business this season. After a sponsor switch to WeOne Boards, he has been in Cape Town prior to the event preparing to put his new weapons to use. You can never count out Testa, who is extremely skilled in strong winds while also retaining his signature style no matter how gnarly the conditions. He will surely be challenging Neubauer, but before getting there, he might have to take care of another rider who put him in his place during the EFPT Finals in Brouwersdam a few months ago.
Niclas Nebelung (Duotone/Maui Ultra Fins) has proven to be a high wind machine. Whenever the conditions exceed 30 knots, the German pulls out an insane repertoire of moves, which as mentioned above, allowed him to cause quite a few upsets on the tour in 2023. Niclas has been in South Africa for a few weeks as well now, and from what we have seen, he has adapted to the place remarkably well. Especially at the lake heads are turned whenever he is out on the water. Will this be Nebelung’s year on the Freestyle Pro Tour?
It’s easy to write about the potential matchups above, but one should not forget a few of the other riders that can mix things up as well. Especially Sam Esteve (JP/NeilPryde) and Jamie Howard (Severne) are very eager in their respective starting blocks. Esteve has always been a strong wind specialist, which means you can expect countless double moves from the frenchman. Who knows, maybe we will even see some triple combo’s on the judges’ scoresheets. Howard has also been terrorising the lake with some of the biggest Air Skopu’s and Air Funnels ever seen there. The Brit somehow manages to keep the stature of an underdog, despite consistently impressing at all events he attended on the tour in the past. Keep your eyes peeled for these two to cause some upsets! A final rider that can be added to that list? Alessio Stillrich, traditionally a wave sailor, who turned out to have some epic freestyle moves in the bag at last years edition of the contest.
In the women, Lisa Kloster (MB-Boards/Sailloft) is the event favourite. She has been spotted around Cape Town lately, preparing for the event and looking on strong form with her power moves. Will she be able to claim her first ever FPT event win this week? It’s no walk in the park, but the german rider is as prepared as ever.
Want to follow the event? Make sure to tune into our social media channels throughout the day. You can also anticipate the news and video’s on our website in the evening! You do not want to miss this!