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2024 Freestyle Pro Tour Cape Town - Day 1

by Freestyle Pro Tour 11 Feb 07:02 GMT
Jamie Howard rotating through a Kono - 2024 FPT Cape Town © PROtography Official

Jacopo Testa (WeOne/Point-7) wins the single elimination at the first day of the 2024 FPT Cape Town. The season opener was marked by nuclear winds on the Rietvlei lake at the Milnerton Aquatic Club, leading to spectacular action on the water. Lisa Kloster (Sailloft/MB-Boards) won the women's single, putting herself in a great position to secure her first international event trophy. The talk of the day however was Niclas Nebelung (Duotone/Maui Ultra Fins) who claimed the second position in the men after taking out the 2023 EFPT champion Lennart Neubauer (Starboard/Severne/Maui Ultra Fins).

The first day of competition was focused around doing an entire single elimination for both the men and the women on flatwater conditions at the Rietvlei lake. With a stacked fleet of competitors, and winds gusting above 30 knots, all ingredients were present for an unforgettable day of freestyle. In the early rounds it was the Germans Marco Lufen (JP/NeilPryde/Maui Ultra Fins), Sebastian Gux (GA-Sails/Tabou/Maui Ultra Fins) and Felix Volkhardt (WeOne/Gunsails/Maui Ultra Fins) who all impressed and passed their heats. Unfortunately they were all up against the event favourites in the next round, and therefore had to concede for a chance at a comeback in the double.

George Grisley (Duotone) put together a solid couple of heats as well, attempting to put his Flaka/Shaka into Ponch variations on display. His march got stopped however by an on form Sam Esteve (JP/NeilPryde). The flying frenchman had consistent heats cores above 35 points all day, even discarding an almost perfect Double Burner in his heat against Grisley thanks to his other moves on starboard tack. Jamie Howard (Severne) has also once again shown he is a dangerous man to sail against. Taking out Gux, the brit went on to face Niclas Nebelung. Despite a solid heat, Howard could not match the 43 point heat that was put together by the charging german. Nebelung sealed the deal with an excellent Double Air Culo among other moves and then got to go up against Lennart Neubauer who had been quietly making his way up the ladder throughout the day.

Before that heat was sailed though, Jacopo Testa, who had beaten both Lufen and Volkhardt, had a massive crash. Hitting his head with his mast, he needed some emergency medical help which resulted in him showing up to the next heat looking somewhat like a samurai. Despite the injury, he managed to best Sam Esteve to secure himself a spot in the final after an incredibly close heat. Esteve dominated on starboard tack, with an Air Funnel Burner, Air Skopu and an Air Kabikuchi. Testa made up on port tack and was soon waiting to find out who would join him in the final.

It was between Nebelung and Neubauer. Both of them put together a 43 point heat but it was Nebelungs Double Air Culo, once again, giving him the advantage. The german was tipped as an event favourite here in Cape Town, due to the potential he showed at the 2023 EFPT Finals in Brouwersdam a few months back. Still, taking out Neubauer, the reigning champion, was an incredible feat that was surely the biggest upset of the day. Securing himself a final spot, he was now up against Testa, the very rider he managed to take out in Brouwersdam to put him on the map as a potential event winner.

In the meantime, the women's semi's and finals we're steaming ahead. Heidi Jabbari and Amaya Iglesias placed themselves in the the runner up final after both impressing with their sailing in the nuclear conditions. Jabbari edged out in the end, rewarding her the third place in the women, all thanks to showcasing some impressive tactical sailing. In the final Katja Haslinger took second just behind Lisa Kloster. Kloster was unbeatable today, with a diverse repertoire of moves. With powerful Shaka's and Kono's, supplemented by sliding moves like Flaka's, Puneta's and even the odd Gozzada attempt, the 2023 Vice-EFPT champion had the single elimination win in her bag in no-time. She will now get to defend her position in the waves upcoming week.

With the sun setting, the men's final was under way. Had Nebelung put together another 43 point heat, he could've bested Testa. Unfortunately, fatigue was starting to show and the multiple German Freestyle Battles winner started dropping moves. With the wind trailing off slightly, Testa still managed to score over 40 points and thanks to an extremely radical Air Kabikuchi as well as a solid Spock Double Culo he put an 8 point gap between himself and his opponent. The injury did not seem to be stopping the Italian, and his perseverance paid off with the official win of the Single Elimination.

After all this excitement, everyone's appetite has been thoroughly wetted. The good news is that the double elimination will be run on forecast as well, most likely upcoming wednesday, thursday or friday. To mix things up, the comeback round will take place on the ocean. The addition of waves will result in the crowning of the first ever Freestyle Wave champions here in Cape Town, South Africa. How will all the competitors fare, and will we see any multi-heat comebacks? Stay tuned for the second day of the 2024 FPT Cape Town!

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