Maaike Huvermann (Severne/Maui Ultra Fins) and Yentel Caers (JP/NeilPyde) lead the 2023 EFPT Tow-In rankings after winning in Vesoul! Both riders dominated in their respective fleets during the final, putting on an eclectic show for the crowd gathered right in front of their take-off spot. Especially Caers soared above his opponents and the Vesoul landscape, as he collected multiple perfect 10’s during the course of the competition. Read the full event report below.
After an exciting qualifier on day 1, it was now down to 6 men and 3 women in the finals on day 2. Before kicking off though, all athletes got the chance to practice their strategies in the morning. In order to reach the top places, it was essential to do well in all of the Airstyle categories. Trying to innovate, we saw Lisa Kloster (MB-Boards/Sailloft) attempting Shaka’s but getting stuck at Shove-It’s. George Grisley (AV-Boards) on the other hand was trying to line up a Funnel before the wave, to then launch into a Burner off of it afterwards. Although out of the competition, the Fontaine brothers Matthieu and Louis joined the practice as well and got themselves into a Cheeseroll challenge. Nascimo Fournier (MB-Boards/Sailloft) was the standout of the session though, sending it off of the ramp like no one else would. Resulting in some of the gnarliest crashes we’ve ever seen in Tow-In, the local rider was looking for ways to battle his way up to the podium in the final.
As the crowds started lining the beach, the riders took a bit of time to meet them. During a signing session, fans got to interact with their favourites, motivate them to go big in the final and get their paraphernalia signed. The stage was now set for an epic show on the otherwise calm and quiet Vesoul-Vaivre lake.
Hitting the water first, the Women knew they were all on the podium, but their exact placement was still up in the air. Opening the finals was the Regular category. Having to perform what is considered a regular stance windsurfing move, Salome Fournier (MB-Boards/Sailloft) opened with another one of her now signature Spocks. Getting extra close to her home crowd and the judges she collected fine points. Lisa Kloster decided to commit to her practice session plan and launched into a Shaka. This time rotating around most of it, the only thing stopping her from stomping it was catching the rail of the board on the landing. It was then up to Maaike Huvermann to make sure she takes the reigns in a similar fashion to the qualies. Getting into proper regular stance, something she had only learned that morning, Huvermann stomped a flawless Culo and won the roaring approval of the crowd and the judges.
Huvermann continued to dominate in the final, sending it with a massive Burner to fill her scoresheet and claim the top spot. The battle for second was an exciting one, with both Salome and Lisa pushing each other. Kloster went for a Skopu in the Air category, and ambitiously tried to go no-handed on the Send-it round, but unfortunately could not match the advantage that Fournier had already built up with her first Spock. Local star Salome thus claimed second with Kloster in third.
After the Women’s final, the Men went out fully inspired by the commitment they just saw on the water. With 6 riders left in the mix, it was all to play for to get on the podium. The first spot was not really contested though. Yentel Caers absolutely dominated the competition, not even getting his hair wet until the very last run. After the perfect 10 he received during the qualification round, he went for another Double Air Culo in the Regular category of the final. Going off the judges scale, he basically planed out of the move, casually waving at the crowds that erupted. When rejoining the other riders on the waiting platform, his only comment was that “if yesterday’s was a 10, then this must have been a 12!”. Filling up the rest of the scoresheet with equally impressive moves, the Belgian comfortably claimed first place.
Both Nascimo Fournier and Andreas Roessler (JP/NeilPryde) tried to prove themselves and step onto the podium in impressive ways. Pushing their limits, the two riders ended up crashing spectacularly but could not make it up the rankings. Roessler was so committed to impressing the judges, that he ended up crashing into the beach and coming to a halt underneath their table. Although reckless, it did grant him the Biggest Send Award. The battle for the podium was down to a three-way challenge between Adam Sims (Sailloft), George Grisley and Foivos Tsoupras (Fanatic/Duotone/Maui Ultra Fins). Sims was pulling some of his signature moves out, but underperformed. Attempting a Double Culo in the Combo category, he didn’t quite take off for the second rotation, and thus missed out on the podium.
The exciting showdown was now between Greek/German Tsoupras and the British Grisley. With an equally impressive knack for pleasing the crowds, the second place was still undecided until the very last move from Tsoupras. Opening with a clean Double Air Funnel, attempting a Matador in the Regular category and closing with a No-Handed Burner, the British freestyler built a solid case for himself. Tsoupras answered with an impressive Skopu to gain points in the Air category to the send one of the most impressive Kono’s ever seen in Tow-In. When going into his last move, Foivos was tied with George on points, and thus had to improve on a 5.63 to win the tiebreaker. Launching into an Air Cana Brava was the right call, as the judges loved the commitment and creativity, to award him 6.5 points and put him in second place. Getting his first ever Freestyle event podium, Grisley was nonetheless buzzing with the results of the final.
With the crowds warmed up, riders went straight into the closing ceremony where they received their trophies which were custom made by artist, beach announcer and former EFPT judge Colin Hemet. The lake now got to calm down again, still resonating with the incredible talent and moves that were put on display during this weekend. A big thank you goes out to Club Nautique Haut-Saônois Vesoul for their efforts in bringing Freestyle windsurfing in front of this exceptional crowd. The Freestyle Pro Tour is excited to come back next year!