Monday, August 1, 2011


PWA Freestyle · It's the end of July and the 2011 Freestyle World Champions have already claimed their crowns. Steven Broeckhoven, the 25 year old Belgian who joined the tour in 2008, won the recent event in Fuerteventura, claiming his first Freestyle World Title. With the victory Broeckhoven crushed all hope by making it mathematically impossible for the Tour's final event in Sylt, Germany to make any difference in the Title calculation.  Sarah Quita Offringa, also winning at Fuerteventura, continues to dominate the Tour with this her 4th consecutive Freestyle World Title.

Past Freestyle World Champions
It's been 10 years since a European has won the men's PWA Freestyle World Championship; Fuerteventura was the event that clenched it for the 2001 World Champion, Antoine Albeau. That's right, Albeau was World Champion in freestyle. Look at the list of past champions on the left and you'll see 2 other names that might surprise: Bjorn Dunkerbeck and Karin Jaggi. All 3 are known today for their racing prowess. What does it mean? Not sure, but if you want to be a better racer, maybe learning freestyle will help. What was freestyle like in 1999?

Kuma Movie Blog has become the unofficial videographer of the PWA Freestyle tour this year. The Japanese language Kuma Movie Blog attracts an international windsurfing audience through the universal appeal of video. Freestyle is their passion and it seems they have documented more action than the PWA. Even with live webcasts at 4 of the 6 freestyle events this year, the coin of the media realm is still recorded video. While PWA TV does a very good job at recapping the action from every day of any event, Kuma's passion and subsequent body of work are a welcomed boost of attention. People watch videos. So far, Kuma has produced 11 videos from Fuerteventura this year.

In the just completed 2011 Fuerteventura contest, the men's single elimination freestyle winner was Gollito; the double elimination winner was Steven Broeckhoven. The rules require that if the winner of the single elimination loses in the double, there must be a rematch. Steven, after beating Gollito once in the double elimination, had to do it again. In this heat the judges counted the best 4 out of 7 moves. No moves were scored after 7 attempts. The super or grand final of the men's heat below. Continent Seven has 2 more videos of the same final here.

The Sarah Quita Offringa vs. Laure Treboux double elimination final below. Continent Seven has more videos of the same final here.

On tour, when they finish both the single and double elimination brackets and determine the overall winner, the official event is concluded. If time allows, they do a Super Session with whomever wants to compete. Sometimes they award cash, sometimes merchandise; there is one winner from the men, one winner from the women. A video from the super session day is available at the PWA website (watch out, the volume comes on when you go there). Another video below from the event sponsor.

North America is well represented in the world of freestyle. Not sure who divided up the world and assigned countries but North America scored. We got the Caribbean, which of course includes the Netherlands Antilles which of course includes the ABC Islands: Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao. This could go political...but it is only about geography. Indeed, there are a few European countries that do control some of the real estate over here. Regardless of country, large or small, the one big thing we share in common is where we live: North America.

Everyone who follows freestyle probably knows the famous names from North America. They win World Titles, are in all the videos and smile a lot because they get to sail and train in their tropical home waters. I like 'em all but wanted to spread the good vibrations to a few more.

Bryan Metcalf Perez
Phil Soltysiak
With one more event to go before the PWA Freestyle Tour ends in     early October, 24 year old Canadian Phil Soltysiak is currently ranked 9th overall. Phil started windsurfing at 10 and first competed on the Tour in 2007. Last year he finished 6th overall. Phil's story. Another 24 year old, Bryan Metcalf Perez from Santa Fe, New Mexico says he's been sailing for 18 years, mostly in Baja and the Gorge. This year is his rookie season on Tour and he is currently ranked 23. Bryan didn't compete in Bonaire or Aruba which would have certainly improved his standing.   

Colette Guadagnino
Tyson Poor

2001 Freestyle World Champion Colette Guadagnino, who now lives and works in Miami, raced in the 2011 PWA Aruba Slalom event. Tyson Poor had his first season on the PWA in 2002 but no longer competes on Tour. Tyson won the Freestyle event at the recently completed U.S. Nationals. Does this make Tyson our U.S. National Freestyle Champion? I hope so.

Mike Burns
Mike Burns won the Long Island, NY East Coast Windsurfing Festival Pro Freestyle division becoming King of the East in June 2011. He thinks windsurfing is a drug: "It's not so easy to have a drug addiction. Sure it ruins lives, and could cost the user their family, friends and even their own lives. Not so different from windsurfing really. Without wind, the windsurfer will get cranky, fidgety, and start lashing out at friends and family, kinda like a crackhead that hasn't had his fix. But, at least the local crackhead can go get his fix at will, provided he hasn't spent all his money on heroin." Follow Mike on his blog: Pure Windsurfing

The learners guide to windsurfing has a lot of how to material, links and videos on the Freeestyle Page. In honor of the AWT Cactus Cup, the video below takes us back to yesteryear at Baja with a few faces you're sure to recognize...

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