Vieste Warming Up – Day 1 at the 2024 FPT Vieste

May 22nd, 2024

The 2024 FPT Vieste is officially up and running! A slow day marked by an ever extended wait for the wind quickly got the athletes, many of whom newcomers to the tour, looking for alternatives to still throw down some moves. With some Tow-In practice sessions in the bag, the day was called off due to insufficient winds for the Foilstyle discipline. Watch the Highlight Video and read all the details about the warm up day in Vieste below.

As customary, day 1 saw a bright and early start for registration. With 40 competitors across all ages from 13 countries, the fleet is stacked for the first event ever to run all three FPT disciplines competitively. Excitement levels were high in the morning with many fresh faces as well as athletes who are making a comeback on tour. Rafael de Windt (FutureFly), back after 6 years said that “it’s like I never left, it’s like one big family and it’s so much fun to catch up with everybody again“. The rider from Curacao is not the only one from the Dutch Caribbean making a comeback on tour. Making an attendance is Bonairian Kiri Thode (FutureFly/GUNSAILS). The past world champion excited to get back into it and has been looking on fine form if his online presence is anything to go by. Another rider that cannot go by unmentioned is Meiky Wieczorek (Severne/Starboard). Being probably the most well known freestyler that hasn’t actually competed yet, the german rider is bound to create some upsets at this event!

With little time to spare the skippers meeting was held swiftly due to a promising northerly wind blowing across the Spiaggia Lunga. Foilstyle was on the menu and with the ladder set and the gear down on the beach, the waiting game could begin. Check out the Foilstyle single elimination ladder below:

Foilstyle Single Elimination draw

What to look out for? Dudu Levi (FutureFly/GUNSAILS), George Grisley (Duotone) and Maaike Huvermann (Severne/Maui Ultra Fins) are all making their Foilstyle debut at this event. Their performance in a heat is a question mark for many, although Grisley has been sharing his progress online and has huge potential to get the crowds going. In the second round the newcomers will go up against the more seasoned riders in the scene. Likely the most exciting matchup there will be the one between Jamie Howard (Severne) and Tim Gerdes (Severne). Howard has been steadily improving on the foil, while Gerdes was already a favourite at last years edition of the event.

Unfortunately we did not get to see the above speculations unfold. With the wind deteriorating steadily across the day the foilstyle fleet was called off. It’s never boring on the Freestyle Pro Tour however, and soon a Tow-In practice session was the new order of the day. Tow-In is the final discipline added to the event in Vieste, making it an official triple discipline event. This means that there will be Tow-In qualifications and finals throughout the week for guaranteed action.

The chance to practice was welcomed by a lot of the newcomers on tour. The Youth&Juniors fleet, also present in Vieste for the first time, definitely maximised on this opportunity. Leander Halm (Starboard/Severne/Maui Ultra Fins) made his first Tow-In attempts just 2 weeks ago at the Surffestival in Fehmarn and was already doing consistent Funnels in front of the gathering crowds. He was joined on the water by a host of local Italian youth talent. Riders like Sergio Bongianni, Cosmo Pezzetti, Ercole Rosso-Chioso and Fernando Sottile all made sure to get their practice runs in. Making sure they catch on quickly were Yentel Caers (JP-Australia/Neilpryde) and Lennart Neubauer (Starboard/Severne/Maui Ultra Fins). Both are veterans in the discipline, but it was Lennart who took the practice session crown when he showed off a beautiful Air Funnel Burner, popped seemingly out of nothing.

The women also took to the water in the practice session. The 2023 Tow-In Champion Maaike Huvermann was spotted practicing her regular stance moves for one of the competition categories. Lisa Kloster (MB-Boards/Sailloft), the current Freestyle tour leader after Cape Town, joined on the water with high hopes of beating Huvermann in this discipline. During the 2023 EFPT Geneva her potential for this expression discipline was uncovered, meaning that the crowds can expect an exciting battle for the win at this event.

The first Tow-In qualification is planned for tomorrow afternoon. Want to know more about whats ahead and who’s in vieste? Check out the Opening Show from today to get up to speed with all the details:

Make sure to follow the Freestyle Pro Tour on our social media channels for instant updates on the event. See you tomorrow!