The EFPT is  back to the classic season opener at Lake Neusiedl in Austria. The first day saw some decent wind to complete most of the single elimination. 21 riders registered including last year’s winner Jacopo Testa, FPT Bonaire winner Youp Schmit, Steven van Broeckhoven, Yentel Caers, Sam Esteve, Jacopo Testa and Lennart Neubauer. 

At the end of the first day four riders are left standing: Lennart Neubauer, Jacopo Testa, Steven Van Broeckhoven and Sam Esteve.

EFPT Austria - First Skippersmeeting | Pic: Merlin Libicky

EFPT Austria – First Skippersmeeting | Pic: Merlin Libicky

EFPT Austria 2023 – Day 1

With 15-20 knots forecasted on the first day of the Surf Opening, all eyes were on the horizon in the morning in order to see the wind-line approach as forecasted. Around 10 o’clock the first heats were sent out and the action could commence. Most of the riders were on their 5.2m and 5.6m sails. Already in one of the first heats Dutch Bodhi Kempen landed a powerful Pasko 360 and took out Eugenio Marconi. 

Another early encounter was the heat between Lennart Neubauer and Yentel Caers. Back from injury, Lennart Neubauer has still a bad seeding, which means he might meet one of the high ranked sailors and vice versa. A highly ranked sailor might meet Lennart Neubauer early. So, this was the case and it meant an early big heat against Yentel Caers. In similar fashion to their epic heat in Bonaire, Lennart wielded his 5.6m sail to win against the former European and World Champion from Belgium. In what was the closest heat of the day, the two separated by only 0.2 points. Good for Lennart, but disappointing for Yentel, as there is only a very little chance to run a double elimination to climb back. 

Lennart Neubauer - Pic: Merlin Libicky

Lennart Neubauer – Pic: Merlin Libicky

Semi Finals

With the semi’s lined up, it was Neubauer versus Van Broeckhoven and Testa versus Esteve. Conditions were deteriorating with only the first semi final completed. Van Broeckhoven put on a very powerful style today, and this semi final was no different. With less and less wind, he resorted to this signature Barracuda, but unfortunately crashed on multiple occasions. This left him missing a move on porttack, meaning that Neubauer escaped the grasp of yet another Belgian powerhouse. We will now have to wait for the results of the second semi-final between Testa and Sam Esteve until conditions are suitable again. Actually the semi final between them was already completed, but needs to get repeated due to a scoring mistake.

The wind looks very light for Saturday, so, most probably there will be some tow-in action to entertain the crowd. The forecast for Sunday is more promising but it might be a very early start to get a chance to run the final heats of the single elimination.