Last week I got back from a great event in Russia at the Aqualeto Hotel in Yeysk. For me it was the first time I’d ever been to Russia and I really had no idea what to expect when we arrived, like everyone else I just assumed we would be met by a guy in a Russian fluffy hat with a bottle vodka, although Vladimir did his best to greet us like this he was dressed in his boardies with bottles of water when he met us at the airport. Actually this couldn’t have been better as it was just way too hot! After a three hour bus transfer we arrived at the hotel where we were met with a fully prepared camera crew and all the hotel staff and organisers. Over the next 24 hours the rest of the competitors and EFPT crew arrived and we were set for competition. There are a whole stack of images from the event so I will now try to update all the highlights in images/galleries/videos.
The first highlight had to be the climbing, the hotel was fully kitted out with plenty of light wind activities, including a really nice outdoor climbing wall. So with our wait for wind we all had the chance to compete in the DIFFERENT European Free-Climbing Championships… (a.k.a a race up the wall against all the other EFPT competitors). In the end I found that I should consider a free-climbing carrier as I shot up into first place and won myself a pair of very cool DIFFERENT Sunglasses.
The second highlight was the tow-in, I quite enjoy it, it is something to do when the wind is light and it gets more and more fun as I start to land some of the harder moves. Whilst in Russia we had a lot of practice at it, from the normal flat water to being towed at a boat wake for an extra boost. To wrap it all up we then had an official competition for €1000 prize money. After the first round I was stoked to sit on the podium and in the money with the move in the video below. With Steven crashing out on his first run I was already fairly convinced I wouldn’t stay there and thought about what to do next… The top 3 all landed triple funnels so it would either have to be a better one of those or something else that I had never tried as well. After some thought at what would be easier to try I decided that out of a triple funnel, an air funnel into burner and a spock culo, that the spock culo was something different and worth a try, to be honest I’d never tried any of them and the spock culo was the move I could land the most in wind. After a fairly good try (from what I’m told) although it felt pretty uneventful, I scored the highest on technical difficulty but without the landing I equalled that of my first move and Fabrizi managed to get ahead of me by half a point so I ended up 5th. Still pretty happy with that and it leaves me wanting more.
Without realising it Fabrizi was now two up on me after he also beat me in the Poker competition on the second night where we were awarded free cocktails and medals that we couldn’t quite get around our heads, thanks for the photo Rafa… (apparently the gay spanish footballer look I was going for worked a little too well)…
With Fabrizi already two up on me I decided I had to do something about this when it came to the competition as we were head to head in our first heat. I think we’ve sailed against each other once or twice before and he had also beaten me, however, I’d practised one or two moves in the lead up to the competition and managed to land a competition heat that I was happy with. Advancing to the next round I was pretty motivated until I saw Dieter on the ladder… I knew my chances were slim but this was even more so when the wind died in our first attempt at the heat and nobody could really get planning after about 2/3 minutes. Obviously a re-sail was needed as nobody could actually do moves, again the wind was light and gusty and there was a lot of luck as to where you were when the gusts came down. So again we had to re-sail but this time after completing the full heat, but I felt like I’d not had a fair chance at all and it was the right decision. We sailed again, this time I had some time to change to a bigger sail and this time it felt like a fair heat, Dieter still won but I think that switch shaka he did in front of me kind of said it all, good work. So in the end we sailed two full heats against each other.
In the double I got pretty unlucky again, I just couldn’t find the gusts on one tack and despite pumping across the whole heat area I couldn’t get planning enough to do anything better then a sliding upwind 360, the worst flaka attempt of my life because I physically didn’t have enough speed to pop the board out the water. Anyway that heat counted for some reason and I lost out bad because I was in that point of the ladder where you lose once and you drop 4 places! Gutted! From then on the wind got worse and worse but the double was completed, just, and Steven won with some impressive moves in really no wind at all. I think EFPT Head Judge Tom Hartmann did a great job at getting the double finished and really had some hard decisions to make when it came down to the final heats, in the end everyone was impressed we finished it and for sure the judges didn’t have an easy time either, there were some really really close heats!
I really enjoyed Russia and will for sure go back next year, hopefully I can flip my tow-in result with the windsurfing result and get the 5th I wanted! We also had a lot of fun at the opening and closing ceremony as well as some pretty amusing evenings with all the competitors, I think everyone enjoyed the whole atmosphere, relaxed, fun and professional, especially when we had the press conference, was really good to do something like that. I was also pretty stoked when the hotel manager came in to my room and asked me to sign a poster so that it would become the Adam Sims room.
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EDIT: Almost forgot to add this in, the song of the trip… well for Fabrizi anyway, great singing dude 🙂 #inspired