The first Tow-in qualification round was ran on the second day of the 2023 EFPT Geneva. Coming out on top were Lennart Neubauer (Starboard/Severne/Maui Ultra Fins) and Maaike Huvermann (Severne/Maui Ultra Fins), who secured their place in the Saturday final amongst others. With a big upset in the men’s fleet and some crazy crashes, the Airstyle format once again provided the goods! Check out the video highlights and read the full account of an exciting second day at the Tropical Corner.
With no wind on the forecast, the day was set to host the first qualifier round in the Men and Women of the Airstyle Tow-in discipline. A total of 6 men and 2 women took to the water, with only half of them being guaranteed a place in the final at the end of the session. The now well established Airstyle format would see the riders complete runs in the Combo, Air and Regular category. Combo was all about trying to chain moves together, Air had the judges prioritise height and hangtime, whereas the Regular combo forces riders to perform moves that are normally done in regular stance only.
In the women, Maaike Huvermann was up against Lucie Honegger (Severne). Huvermann kept her form from earlier this year in Vesoul and quickly put herself in the lead. Honegger had no choice but to go all in and sent a big Shove-it. Although going very high, and scoring well in the Air category, she got injured in the process. This means that Huvermann took the top spot and qualified for the final on Saturday.
In the men’s, the fleet was stacked. With only 3 of them being able to advance, and only one discard available, there was little room for error. Tigo Kort (JP/NeilPryde) felt the pressure and unfortunately did not manage to deliver, despite his stellar performance in the practice sessions. Swiss rider Balz Muller (Severne) was in his element, and decided to do Tow-In with a 3.3 sail. Showing off his signature Cheeseroll, he put himself up to 2nd place. Above him, Lennart Neubauer. The Greek, who has become a competitive machine, breezed through the qualification rounds, and is currently sat comfortably in 1st.
It is the battle for that last spot in the final though that spurs the most excitement. Landing a textbook clean Pasko, Yentel Caers (JP/NeilPryde) seemed to be on business as usual. Unfortunately though, his other two runs were suboptimal, flying out of the straps on both occasions. With only one discard, he was now stuck with a score that was only good for 4th. A massive upset for the Belgian, who now does not make it into the final. Caers was a favorite for many, especially considering that he won the 2021 edition of the EFPT Geneva.
The final spot in the final was now up for grabs for the two brits Jamie Howard (Severne) and George Grisley (Duotone). Unfortunately, due to technical problems, their final runs had to be postponed till tomorrow. Grisley will be hoping to do well, as he is currently sat in 3rd on the Tow-In ranking, and a good result here would mean he might make it onto the overall ranking podium. There is also a slight chance both of the riders make it (and knock out Muller in the process) if both pull off an exception Regular move tomorrow.
Rewatch the stream below, and tune in tomorrow for the second round of qualification here at the EFPT Geneva 2023.