Presenting the Austrian Rookie Class of ’23. Lewis wins a JP-Australia Board! – EFPT Surf Opening 2023 Rookie Camp

May 9th, 2023

A week after the 2023 Surf Opening saw the battle of generations won by rising star Lennart Neubauer, the shores of lake Neusiedl were filled with future talent once again. On the 6th and 7th of May, five aspiring freestyle windsurfers met under the wings of EFPT coach Maarten Molenaar (Starboard/Gunsails) to learn the ropes of competition. Discovering everything about heat strategy, race procedures, freestyle moves and the mental game of competition, the weekend culminated in a practice showdown. To close off the camp, the EFPT was delighted to award promising rookie David Lewis with a JP-Australia freestyle board! Read all the details about this exciting weekend below.

An in-depth look at the heart of each competition – the notice board

With not much wind on the forecast, the weekend was centred around theory. Five promising rookies from around the chocolate lake attended the camp, starting on the early morning of Saturday the 6th of May. Simulating a proper event, each of the participants had to register and get a profile picture taken, before the camp could truly kick off. Next up it was time to set up and sticker up their gear. In the process they learnt about every component of their freestyle gear and how it affects their sailing. Foot straps, fins, battens and booms – no element was omitted as the rookies went to town asking questions to their coach.

Nico Karner carefully placing his yellow EFPT sticker, is he going to be tour leader in the future?

Unfortunately rigging their gear did not bring out the wind, so instead the group sat down and discussed the importance of apparent wind in freestyle windsurfing. Their knowledge was immediately applied during a simulator session, where their currently practiced moves were broken down diligently. Favourites of most participants were the Flaka and the Switch Stance Kono. Ducking the sail was also discussed, all of it in relation to the apparent wind theory from earlier. 

David Lewis practicing his Switch Ducking

Coming prepared, the rookies got advice on their current sailing thanks to the video analysis organised in the evening. Double Spocks, Funnels, Switch Kono’s and Flaka’s were looked at frame by frame, with footage from the pro’s mixed in between for reference. Coach Maarten then gave them some homework in the form of watching some classic freestyle videos, which these upcoming rippers have apparently not yet seen before! They were furthermore asked to study some resources about media presence, which is an essential part of being a professional windsurfer in these times.

Franzi Czech studying the notice board just before the start of the practice competition

On the second day the camp featured an inspiring guest lecture by Max Matissek (Fanatic/Duotone). The local freestyler who has made a name for himself on the professional windsurfing circuit over the years, spoke to the riders about leveraging their strengths and choosing their own path within the windsurfing world. Despite all of the rookies already knowing Max due to his involvement in supporting the local freestyle scene, many new questions arose in the process. With a healthy dose of inspiration, it was now time to get ready to compete!

The competition is on! All procedures are properly simulated – flags, heat watches and scoring

The practice competition ran smoothly with all competitors applying their knowledge expertly. Even an obviously staged heat cancellation didn’t catch them off guard, with all riders knowing what to do next. In the end it was Alex Roessler who took the win. Showing diversity in his flowstyle routine, the brother of the already competing Andreas wowed the judging panel into giving him the victory over the other finalist Moritz Pap.

The Surf Opening Class of ’23. From the left: Nico Karner, Moritz Pap, Coach Maarten Molenaar, David Lewis, Alex Roessler and Franzi Czech

Once again stepping up to support the future of freestyle windsurfing, JP-Australia awarded their Freestyle board to the most promising rookie at the camp. Especially proactive with his questions and engagement, David Lewis showed that he is on track to improve significantly in the near future, and was therefore chosen to receive this prize! We are excited to see David and the other rookies at our events in the coming years, as we are convinced they now have all the tools to make their entrance onto the scene.

A special thanks goes out to the Surf Opening team for ensuring the presence of all elements of the pro competition from the week before!