In 2015 Adam Sims (Sailloft/Patrik) from the UK secured the first overall EFPT Tow-In Champion title that was ever awarded. With a minimum of 3.000€ prize-money to count into the overall ranking of the year, the results of two tow-in events were counted: Podersdorf in the beginning and Holland DAM-X towards the end of the season.
The Brit who had a great competition year in 2015 managed to secure third place at the Chiemsee European Tow-In Championship, Podersdorf with a flawless double spock on his first run and another third place at the Brouwersdam DAM-X with a perfect double culo. Podersdorf, which was counted with double points for the overall ranking meant that despite the official European Tow-In Champion being announced in the beginning of the season there was still a possibility for an overall title should an event upgrade, and so Brouwersdam stepped up to the plate later in the season offering this opportunity for an overall ranking. Looking ahead and to motivate more organisers to go for an additional tow-in event at the 2016 EFPT tour-stops, and to add more value due to a tow-in tour-like character, the prize-money and the points in Austria were lowered this year and the fight for the European title will be on until the end of the 2016 competition season.
Since the opening event of the European Freestyle Pro Tour is approaching in big steps with the Chiemsee Tow-In Show in Podersdorf, Austria we caught up with Adam Sims to find out more about his thoughts on the title, the discipline and how tow-in can be transferred into freestyle windsurfing and vice versa.
EFPT: Adam you were EFPT Tow-In Champion in 2015. What does this title mean to you?
Errr well it was not really in my mind to go for this title, of course any title is something any competitive windsurfer wishes for but I always saw tow-in as just a bit of fun on light wind days. To then find myself in contention after my first final run in Podersdorf was something super surreal, I didn’t really know how to react and then on the podium alongside my windsurfing heroes, I felt like a bit of lemon.
Holland was another story, somehow I could double culo all of a sudden, Amado just told me to go try it in a winch warm-up session we had before the comp. I didn’t even think the winch would be fast enough for it and I don’t know from then I was able to land it and used that to get myself to third at this event. I joked to Tom (Hartmann, race director of the EFPT) about an overall title but didn’t really know if there was one, so it was super nice to find out that this was the case and after some calculations I was leading. And yes, it means a lot, I’ve always struggled in competitions, people often tell me my freesailing is above my comp level, it’s not something I’ve tuned into really so I think the biggest thing it has given me is the confidence to go for the bigger moves. I’ll be trying that more then.
EFPT: Which event was your favourite one and why?
Haha why do I have to choose, they are all great in their own right. Podersdorf is a pretty good one for the crowd that show up and the whole ‘grandstand’ feel but Holland has such a cool chilled out vibe, like I’m competing at my home spot or something. Everyone is stoked for each other, the crowd that gathers on the beach are all smiling and super friendly. France is always fun when they have it and offers the same vibe as Holland. Also we had Croatia this year, it didn’t count to anything official but there were some good moves being thrown down there, maybe they can upgrade this year…
EFPT: Where do you see the benefits of the discipline, both from the side of a rider and from the side of an organiser?
Well the obvious answer for the organiser is that you can run a timed show which benefits live streamed events. There is way more that could be made from that. Worst case is it’s too windy, or maybe that is the best case because you can then run a windsurfing super session in it’s place. It’s got all the factors needed to attract a wider audience, high speeds, big moves, bigger crashes, close to the crowd at a particular time of day. For the rider, we gain a lot more exposure from the media resources that opt to promote this discipline, there’s a bit of a mixed feeling out there amongst media channels, some of them rate it and will promo it a lot, others are of a more surf culture and think it’s not true to the sport, but then is Indoor windsurfing, cable wake boarding or wave riding at Pozo? I just see is at a lot of fun, promotion for our sport and the athletes within it. It would be cool to see more push in this discipline but never at the cost of trying to run a true windsurfing event.
EFPT: Did your windsurfing progress with tow-in?
I’m not sure, I don’t think so. I think it helped others power through moves they couldn’t do with true wind, for me it has maybe given some more hours practicing moves that I would have not had anyway. But I didn’t learn anything new from it, except that your body can actually bounce 4 times on the water surface or you can get whiplash from spock crashes, haha.
EFPT: You have been developing a tow-in board with one of the best shapers world wide, Patrik Diethelm. Does the flow of ideas go in both directions? From freestyle windsurfing boards to tow-in boards and vice versa?
That’s true, I had two tow-in shapes by this time last year already and one is two years old. Whilst one has seen the light of day a lot, the other (better shape) has been kept underground.
The tow-in shape was massively shorter than any windsurf board at the time and I saw one or two guys measuring up the board when I left it on the beach, haha… Ironically we now have a few brands developing much shorter boards. I’m not making any claims (or maybe I am) but I also tried these boards in windsurfing and well the version 2 works but it’s too radical, there is no way I would have enjoyed learning to vulcan, spock or flaka on this, on the other hand I could do every move I do now in the air and bounce through double power moves with more height then before, that said I prefer my production 93 for windsurfing way more, it has more control and speed.
A 100l board is the perfect option for learning freestyle, these newer short boards are radical weapons which only one person in the world right now is using successfully, Balz Müller. He produced his own custom board as I didn’t have the version 2 tow-in board in Cape Town, he totally did it off his own back and the board looks sick, it’s below 2m and I have a lot of respect for what he does on it. We’ve been talking a lot and I think this input alongside the masterful Tonky Frans joining the team will give Patrik an absolute weapon of a board in the coming years. I can’t wait to see what comes of this combo.
EFPT: Which moves will we see this season?
It all depends on the conditions, last year at PWA Sylt we had possibly the most perfect conditions imaginable for insane double air moves, the Bonaire guys and Gollito were throwing unreal tricks in one of the super sessions. Off flat water double power moves will be in the final and perhaps even in some qualification rounds, who knows maybe even triple power moves. Steven Van Broeckhoven already nailed the first triple bouncing power move this winter in Cape Town and that was with wind.
EFPT: Who do you think will be your biggest opponents in the race for the title in 2016?
The level is so high that I have no idea if I am even in for the 2016 title race to be honest, but if Van Broeckhoven takes part I’m sure he could easily destroy the fleet. Amado Vrieswijk has some amazing moves, Dieter has incredible talent, Gollito, Kiri, Tonky, Taty, Yentel, Julien, Adrien, Nico, Esteve is looking dangerous, the list is huge and the level between the top and the chasing guys is getting closer and closer. Whatever happens the judges will have their work cut out, I’m sure of that.