Steven Max: 2013 IFCA Freestyle Junior World Champion!

This year's IFCA Freestyle Youth World Championship was once again held in Marseille, France during the SOSH Freestyle Cup 2013. The SOSH Freestyle Cup is a local event in the South of France, organized by the Moussilmani brothers (Benoit, Sylvain and Cyril) which attracts thousands of people every year. And once again, the competitors came from all over the globe, including Russia, Israel, Italy, Belgium and Aruba to compete for the title of IFCA Freestyle Youth World Champion... which Steven Max took home! Congratulations!

Day 1 started off with a promising but chilly breeze and competitors took to the water with great enthusiasm, which quickly turned in to disappointment as the wind died almost completely before the end of the first heat and the competition had to be called off for the day. Conditions did not get better on Day 2, leaving the frustrated sailors on hold, on an overall beautiful fun-filled and sunny day. But sadly, no windsurfing could be done due to lack of wind. Day 3 was identical to the first two days and tensions started to rise, as these athletes were getting restless and eager to show off their moves.

Nicolas Akgazcian putting on a tow-in freestyle show

All hopes were up and so was the wind on the morning of Day 4 as the young freestylers took the water once again!
During the first Double Elimination, Steven Max climbed his way up to the Top 4 position, eliminating the 16 year old Italian Riccardo Marca and France's Sam Esteve to face off Israel's champion Jonathan Yagen. The Israeli managed to win the heat as the light winds did not allow Steven to pull out his big moves. Our 15 year old ripper took second place.

During the rest of the day, the organizers were able to complete a second Double Elimination during which Steven Max had to fight his way back during several heats to get to the finals and face off Johnny Yagen again. Unfortunately, Steven's second attempt to conquer first place didn't materialize and it was Johnny who went home with the win, taking advantage of the light-wind conditions once again. This left Steven Max frustrated but very determined to do better on the next and final day of competition, praying for more wind.

Power moves

An early and windy start on the morning of Day 5 got all competitors in a good mood as they continued their battle under great conditions. Steven flew through his first heats, eliminating everyone, even though by then the wind had dropped considerably. After a quick lunch, off they went again. Everyone was eager to see who was going to be the overall winner of the final day's Double Elimination. Again, Jonathan Yagen managed to go all the way to the finals to meet up with the champion of the day Steven Max but he needed to win twice to beat Steven, a complicated feat. Just before the start of the final heat, disaster struck and Johnny was injured. He was taken out of the waters by the medics on site and luckily, recovered quickly enough to keep competing.

In the meanwhile, the Makani Fins Supersession was launched. Steven Max won it by landing huge aerial moves and making good use of the 2 meter swell.

Willy Skipper

Shortly after, the final between Jonathan and Steven started and it was very tense! Jonathan took the lead in the first half of the five-minute heat but then somehow struggled to perform clean moves towards the end of the final heat. Steven sailed much more relaxed, with technical moves and a fluent style. The decision was clear, the competition fierce and very close, but Steven Max scored just above Jonathan Yagen, making him this year's IFCA Freestyle Junior World Champion! A great achievement once again for this youngster from Aruba! Congratulations!

Now on his way back home, Steven is looking forward to the Aruba Hi-Winds from August 2nd to August 8th.

Final Results:

1. Steven Max (ARU-888)
Jonathan Yagen (ISR-02)
3. Kostya Smirnoff (RUS-1)
4. Riccardo Marca (ITA-988)
5. Sam Esteve (FRA-78)
6. Mats Moyson (BEL-159)

- Pictures are courtesy of JP Cecchini / Kathleen Govaerts / SOSH Freestyle Cup 2013 -