With so many mind-numbing tricks in each heat the new set-up’s intended to raise the bar and allow a less conservative approach to gouging out a victory.
I gathered some of the main players to give their views on the system the board voted in.
Why the big change?
Antxon Otaegui (JP / NeilPryde) - "Because it was getting really difficult to judge and for people who don’t windsurf to understand the format."
Yoli De Brendt (Fanatic / North) - I think because this system should be clearer for spectators, and maybe even more spectacular and fairer for the riders.”
Jose Estredo (Fanatic / North) - I guess there has to be more action and for the spectators the system and moves were too repetitive and too fast. I think it’s gonna be much more exciting for everybody now.”
Taty Frans (Starboard / MauiSails) – “The standard of modern freestyle now is so high that you can’t even expect the judges to really know what's going in the heats. I also reckon the scoring gets too complicated at a point where you have to split the difficulty of one move over another. Some guys find some moves easier than others. I also truly believe that for the people at the beach watching it will be a better experience and they’ll be able to understand what the riders are doing more. In my opinion the ‘show’ aspect will be more spectacular for everyone and that might bring more people in the sport or see more people showing up at the beach - a bit like the Motocross freestyle at the X games. But that’s just my point of view…”
So it’s a good thing?
Antxon – “I think it’s good for the sport. It’s going to be more spectacular, we’ll see more air moves, and be more radical like other freestyle sports, such as snowboarding."
Gollito – “I like it. Now all riders have to show their best moves. It’ll be great!!!”
Yoli – “For me the best move system might make a big difference. I was sailing really inconsistently this season and didn’t show my good moves once in the competition, so this system will favour me since I can risk more and lose less.”
Taty – “If you can do them the big moves always let you win, so I guess it's not a big change in this case. Everyone knows the one who does the best new stuff wins. But now everyone will be hungry to train and come up with new tricks so that they can catch the judge’s eye more with something unique. Remember individually groundbreaking stuff like Kevin’s one-footed one-legged back loop at Pozo? Or signature tricks like Web Pedrick’s Spock 540 in Austria, Ricardo’s Shaka the first time he pulled it out in a comp, or Tonky’s Chacho at the King of the Caribbean?”
Is it more for the top seeds or for the lower ranked riders?
Antxon – “It’s really hard to tell yet. It’s a new system and seriously I don’t know yet.”
Yoli – “I guess the best Riders will perform the best in all systems. The most consistent ones usually have the best moves too.”
Gollito – “I think it’s the best riders who invent the hardest tricks anyway. So the next season is gonna be great, with lots of new sick tricks!!!”
Taty – “It’ll favour most of the lower riders for sure in a way because when you are new you need to get the pressure off you so that you can sail a good heat. But this will also give the high ranked riders a chance to show-off much cleaner and stylish freestyle... I’ve said before that next year we’ll see moves that the judges haven't ever seen - especially in places like Fuerte and Lanzarote. Kiri will be a really good example”
Gonna change your tactics?
Antxon – “No! I’ll continue with my training methods. Obviously I’ll change some aspects of it like practicing more aerial moves as for me that’ll be more fun.
Yoli – “In best moves format I’ll change my tactics and training, but I suppose there are also two more systems probably coming up where consistency will also count - and that’s what I really have to work at.”
Gollito – “I’ll definitely invent a lot of new tricks for sure, but I won’t forget the basic stuff. I’ll just try to make them more technical with some changes and put some more variations in there.”
Taty – “I guess I'll train more on some new tricks but still keep some old moves. You never know - you might have to use the old moves to win yet.”
© PWA / Brian McDowell