20 riders signed up for the 20th anniversary of the Surf Worldcup in Neusiedl am See, Austria. Amongst them were the likes of title contenders for the title 2018 Giovanni Passani, Steven Van Broeckhoven (JP/Gunsails) and Tonky Frans (RRD/RRD) as well as local sailors Max Matissek (North/Fanatic) and Max Brinnich (North). Even Surf Worldcup legend Chris Sammer (North/Fanatic), who won the Surf Worldcup in 2003, entered today to take his skills back to the competition arena after several years of absence.
Even though the forecast didn’t look to promising for today, the south wind started to fill in around midday to then increase more and more during the afternoon. The first heat was on the water by 4.00 pm. The wind direction which works best with clear and warm weather is however known to be quite gusty. This led to the decision of extending the standard heat duration of seven to ten minutes. This should provide fair conditions for the riders, even if the wind was too patchy.
The sailors were on their 4.8s to 5.2s and were showing an incredible performance considering the very challenging conditions. One rider especially stood out with his skills in the lighter wind: the Italian Giovanni Passani were going through his moves with a lot of style and could always add some extra height to each maneuver. He dominated in his heat against Chris Sammer, but due to some difficulties in the following heat against Swiss rider Loick Spicher (RRD/RRD) the heat had to be re-sailed after a very close decision that favored the Italian. Passani could take down the Swiss sailor after all in an almost flawless re-sail and moved on to the semi-final.
Max Matissek sailed another super close heat against Tim Ruyssenaars from Holland and afterwards against Sam Esteve, who could take down the Austrian by two points only. This leaves him sitting in a joined 5th place for now and will be eager to defend it in the upcoming eliminations.
Tonky Frans proved to be on form today, taking out Adam Sims (Patrik/Sailloft) and Steven Van Broeckhoven to then face the talent from France Sam Esteve (JP/Neilpryde) in the semi-final. Frans was doing a great variety of moves including sliding maneuvers as well as power moves and will one to watch out for in this competition.
Riccardo Marca (North/Fanatic), who has been a regular on tour for a few years now, sailed some decent heats this afternoon and advanced over Valentin Böckler (Gunsails) and landsmate Mattia Fabrizi (Patrik) to then face Giovanni Passani in the semi-final.
Moves of the day were definitely Adam Sims backloop, Steven Van Broeckhovens double culo and a perfect kabikuchi from Tonky, who seemed to love the sailing today. The mood on the water was a great one in general and the launch of the live scoring system was a success.
With the sun going down, also the wind was dropping. After cancelling and re-starting the semi-final twice, race director Tom Hartmann called it a day.The forecast for the upcoming days looks great and we are looking forwards to run the remaining heats of the single elimination and to start the double.