The 2023 Tow-In season is officially live! The first day of the EFPT in Vesoul, France, saw quality action as the qualification rounds for both the Men and Women were completed. Sitting in pole position are Yentel Caers (JP/NeilPryde) and Maaike Huvermann (Severne/Maui Ultra Fins) who put in the best scores in the Airstyle competition format. A host of new faces also joined the EFPT for the first time, steadily improving on each run. Read the full report of this exciting first day below.
The advantage of a Tow-In competition is that the starting times can be set and riders are not dependent on conditions. The morning was filled with training sessions, where the adepts of this discipline got to learn the (wake)ropes of Tow-In. Expert in the field, Yentel Caers was giving some pointers as the french novice crew was improving run by run. Arthur Guichardan, Matthieu Fontaine, Louis Fontaine and Anais Gignoux impressed as they all went for Burners behind the wake boat.
Soon it was time for the official qualifying. The Airstyle format kicked into gear with riders having to perform their moves in the Air, Regular, Combo and Send-It category. The judges assigned scored based on the category brief, which means the format incentives move diversity. In the Air category, the only aim is to stay in the air as long as possible. The airtime is timed and scores assigned accordingly. The Regular category forces riders to do regular stance windsurfing moves. This was introduced to discourage the infamous “funnel-fest”, and means that riders will do Culo’s, Kono’s and Spock variations. Combo requires a second pop and the Send-it category is quite self explanatory. With riders getting one discard their final score is the total in each of those runs. Crashes are not penalised as much, pushing the riders to go as big as they can.
In the women’s qualification local Salome Fournier (MB-Boards/Sailloft) impressed with one of the cleanest Spocks of the day to put herself into runner-up position for the final. Lisa Kloster (MB-Boards/Sailloft) showed that she also has a knack for Tow-In, and in the final Send-It run pulled out the infamous Canonball. There was no doubt though that Maaike Huvermann had dominated the qualification round. Doing a stylish One Handed Spock she pointed at the crowds to rile them up. She then continued to send some Burners to top up her scoresheet, claiming the top spot for the final.
In the men’s it was business as usual with Yentel Caers on top. Out of the ordinary though – his incredibly clean Double Air Culo. Scoring perfect 10’s from all the judges, the Belgian propelled himself to the top of the leaderboard. Coming in second was Adam Sims (Sailloft). The British rider was a bit rusty to start with, but quickly pulled out his well known Tow-In finesse. Flying almost as high as Caers in the Air category, he then secured his spot in the final with a massive Culo, rotating through the sun rays in front of the crowds.
George Grisley (AV-Boards) made his debut on the Tow-In with a wake and immediately got the hang of it. During practice he performed what can only be described as a pole-vault Burner, to then take a page from Caers’s book during the Air category. Delaying his rotation while soaring up he managed to best Sims and get close to Yentel in this category. Backing up his score with a flowing Flaka Shaka, the Brit completed the provisional podium. Foivos Tsoupras (Fanatic/Duotone/Maui Ultra Fins) was also on fire and quickly became a crowd favourite.
The last two riders to qualify for the final were Nascimo Fournier (MB-Boards/Sailloft) and youngster Andreas Roessler (JP/NeilPryde) who seriously got the hang of Tow-In at the Surf Opening in Austria a month ago.
The finals are on for today! Starting at 17:00 local time, the best 3 women and 6 men will take on the Vesoul waves once again. Stay tuned to our socials and follow the live scoring on our livepage efpt.net/live !