This season started out a little different to previous years; kinda got used to take time out from school to get a few months somewhere else but been having the feeling that I’d get stuck eventually. Perfect timing as Sweden went into a deep freeze pretty much December through April. Got the Wild Card for Podersdorf a few weeks before go time, with training possibilities looking less than optimistic. Had my mind set on this for a while now though, so I figured it was about time to see it through.
Ended up in Vienna with a single solid Shitbay warm up session in the bag, sleeping bag and boardbag in tow, not knowing what to tell my teachers so I kinda just ditched… All good though, stepping into full on summer in Austria I was feeling it.
First impression of the event was huge, literally, in one week 80 000 people hit that small sleepy countryside town to watch the action go down and party. With spotless organization and so much of the industry present it is the perfect proving ground for riders from around the world.
Met up with Kiri and the Bonaire crew, good reunion, having them tell me about their perfect season – best in 10 years – I knew the level would be sky high. They’re always cooking up something new and this year was no different.
Opening day was light, giving all time prepare for the bomb drop the following day. I set my Echo 5.2 & 4.8 up with my brand new Flare 91 next to guys with 4-5 complete sets, keeping it light – had no options really but what can you do – in comparison. With judges posting the first single elimination ladder I knew I’d have to bring my A-game; going up against Quincy Offringa I had to be on point to work it out.
Morning rolled around and some solid 28-35 knots side-off hit the town. Heats had to be done out in the middle of lake. I had a good feeling. During preparations it struck me that my small sail would not be that small after all – big guys going on their 4.2s, and the pipe sized chop on the outside made it clear that this would not be a walk in the park. Nothing to it but to do it though, with just minutes to green flag I was ready to get it in.
At the sound of the horn I came straight out the gate swinging, working the chop with big Shakas, Konos and Air-Flakas, mixed up with some slide combos on Switch. As Quincy opened up with a massive Future flying over me I was enjoying the moment to the fullest degree. Back on the beach the heat-board said keep going, and I did. Flying back out a good 6 extra knots punched in to make sure I was really juiced – as if that wasn’t already the case...
Facing Tonky Frans on form going all out is the least you can do. Still fired up from getting the first heat in the bag I picked up where I left off and had my best heat so far. Apart from safely landing everything I managed to go bigger than before, stopping at 17:th though Tonky went through on a rampage through the ladder.
The double elimination didn’t lack wind either, and a slightly smaller sail wouldn’t have hurt as the conditions got even trickier. Ending my run at 25:th I was content, all things considered. Watching Kiri throw down my hopes were high for him to get the win, even though he had to settle for 3:rd place in the end.
The day ended with a banger party, never seen anything like it, the size alone was just ridiculous. It was all smiles all night after a full day of action and the completion of the first double elimination in Podersdorf in years.
[All pictures courtesy of John Carter, pwaworldtour.com]