After running the famous Surf Worldcup in Austria for many consecutive years in Podersdorf, the venue of one of Europes biggest outdoor festival changed. So did the competition format. A kitesurfing competition was always part of the big happening at lake Neusiedl – this year though, the organisers decided to go for a windsurfing only event and an all new format: the IFCA Grand Prix, featuring slalom windsurfing, foil windsurfing and an EFPT freestyle competition. We spoke to Mike Piechura, CEO of the organisation team and who was the man behind the European Freestyle Pro Tour for many years to find out more about the ‘new’ Surf Worldcup.
EFPT: Mike, you are CEO at the the organisation behind the famous Surf Worldcup in Austria, that attrackts thousands of people every year. This year not only the venue changed from Podersdorf to Neusiedl, but also the competition format changed – how come?
Mike: We always reach for more and want to make the event bigger and better every year and because we are in Neusiedl for the first time and have the Austrian sailing federation on the spot we included slalom and foil too.
EFPT: What do you think are the big advantages of the new format?
Mike: For sure we can attract more riders that want to compete but don’t want or can’t do the PWA or other tours. Let’s see how that works out.
EFPT: You have been working for the EFPT as a tourmanager for many years, what are your best memories of this time?
Mike: These were the best times in my life! The mood on the tour was more like a family traveling together and everyone who was on the road at this time has amazing stories to tell. Also, wherever I travel now to go sailing, I have friends on the spot who share great memories. From what I hear the EFPT is in good hands and you guys keep doing great work. Cheers for that!
EFPT: The windsurfing competition scene has been suffering in the past years, mainly triggered by the economic crisis, with budgets getting tighter and tighter. Where would you personally like to see professional windsurfing heading in the future?
Mike: Where we all would like to see it! I wouldn’t blame just the economic crisis! In my opinion there are many problems and like everyone in our windsurfing world iI keep discussing the issues. It wouldn’t be fair to make a statement here, blame someone. Windsurfing for me is still the best sport in the world and no matter which trouble we all face – as soon as you hit the water it keeps you going on to plan the next trip, the next event the next madness…. one thing I’d like to mention though is: I miss the motivation of young guys trying to organize a small event. It’s these small events that give youg riders the first taste of competition. I’d like to see or hear more of this!
EFPT: Can you tell us some personal highlights of yours for this years edition of the Surf Worlcup?
Mike: 5mins ago I solved a problem in less than a phonecall. Every problem solved is a highlight!
EFPT: What can we reveal program-wise to the riders who are coming to fight for the 10.000€ prize-money?
Mike: EFPT wise I have to say that everyone that puts on the event lycra and heads out is a star. The Surf Worldcup has always been like that and will stay like that. You register, You get the riders band and you’re a hero. To be fair, I haven’t even look who already registered – never do. But I can’t wait to meet all the boys again and meet the new hotshots!!!!
EFPT: Three words to describe the Surf Worldcup 2017?
Mike: New – Same – Epic
The Surf Worldcup in Neusiedl am See, Austria is taking place from the 28th of April through the 7th of May 2017. The EFPT competition is happening from the 4th – 7th of May.
Check out the animation of this years event-site! New – same – epic! We can’t wait!
All pics by surfworldcup.at