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Date:  April 22  - 30
Location:  Neusiedler See / Austria
Status:   Grand Prix
Discipline:  Freestyle
Prizemoney:  60.000 US $

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The PWA Freestyle tour began in style today in Podersdorf, on the shores of Neusiedler See in Austria. After the riotous celebrations of the opening ceremony the previous evening, sailors from sixteen countries arrived at the beach to be greeted by sunshine, burning blue skies and just a gentle south easterly breeze.

With the brilliant weather came the crowds and by noon the event site was packed with sun worshipping windsurf fans, who had travelled from all over Europe to see their favourite stars perform in what is widely regarded as the most exciting and entertaining discipline on the tour. Now in its third year, the Neusiedler See event is well known for it's wild parties and excellent Freestyle conditions and never fails to provide a fantastic week for windsurfers of all levels.

The fleet spent the morning relaxing in the exceptionally warm Austrian weather, eagerly awaiting an opportunity to demonstrate what is new in Freestyle this year. Early in the afternoon they got their first chance to sample the warm inland waters as the wind picked up just enough to entice competitors on to the lake. Although not quite consistent enough for official competition, the wind was strong enough to allow the PWA fleet to shake off the cobwebs and start to get tuned in to the conditions, all the time entertaining the massive crowds.

By four o'clock it was clear that the wind was not going to build any more and Head Freestyle Judge, Klaus Michel, called a halt to competition. The party machine immediately began to warm up as the fans mingled with the stars and, as the sun eventually began to set, the public and competitors alike all began to head for the massive party tent to rage the night away.

Some of the biggest names in windsurfing are in town to strut their stuff including current Freestyle World Champion Josh Stone, Matt Pritchard, Antoine Albeau and "Irie Man" Brian Talma.

We spoke to them to here what they had to say about Neusiedler See.

Josh Stone:

"I love the energy, it's going off, everyone is here to have fun and party and it really encompasses the whole feeling of what freestyle is and the crowd is totally getting into it. I got some new moves, we'll see, it depends on how good the wind gets. I have a lot of new gear, some of my secret weapons are working, I've just tested them, and we are definitely gonna see a lot more slidey slidey stuff."

 

Brian Talma:

"So far the event started out nice and sunny and it's been a real beautiful day down at the lake and the festivity and everything's started, started out good, good feeling, good festive feeling, and yeah man, the organisation is superb, and everything is irie!"

 

Matt Pritchard

"I've been out there playing around, had the big stuff out and I'm just getting tuned up and ready for when we get a little bit more breeze going." Stronger South Easterly winds are forecast for tomorrow and with seven days still remaining anything is possible.

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last updated: 01/06/00