2002 PWA Freestyle Qualifier Neuesiedler See Austria Recap
There was one thing I kept in mind 25 years ago, when I started to follow windsurfing events around the world as a journalist. It was Hoyle Schweitzer's statement: "In our new sport we want to have 50% fair competition and 50% parties and socializing events." A quarter century later, windsurfing (and professional windsurfing) is almost another sport, but a breeze from the past eventually came back here in Podersdorf (Austria) at the kick-off of the Freestyle season.
The parties of course, but also a new judging system that integrated the new hot stuff moves, with the old freestyle moves keeping the board planning in the water. Freestyle is the discipline closer to the public, easier for the organizers, perfect for the sponsors. Gerhard Pollak (DMG event organizer) wanted to have a show more understandable for the public, this relates also to maneuvers everybody can do. His crew performed an excellent job in promoting the event with a huge participation of public and media. It was a different kind of competition since it was only a qualifier event, but a lot of things were similar to the best Grand Prix.
This new system was well interpreted by guys like Alex Humpel (Neil Pryde/JP) and Michi Schweiger (Naish/Naish), able to perform clean heats without mistakes and a good combination of both moves. While other top guys like Web Pedrick (North Sails/AHD) and Raimondo Gasperini (Fanatic) might have felt underscored on their most difficult performance. Never-the-less two great guys like Remko de Weerd (Gaastra/AHD) and Diony Guadagnino (Neil Pryde/JP) were able to perform the hardest tricks with the old moves and went one step above the others in a repeated final.
Their first final of the double elimination was nearly perfect. On our scoring sheet we had hard time deciding on the winner, since neither man made any mistakes. Let's keep the fun time alive, like in Podersdorf!
See you around the tour during the year.