Aruba's Steven Max wins gold during the IFCA Freestyle Youth World championship

Aruba’s Steven Max wins gold during the IFCA Freestyle Youth World championship

Courtesy of: The Morning News
Photos by: JP Cecchini, Kathleen Govaerts and Lucy Zuiderwijk

This year’s IFCA Freestyle Youth World championship was once again held in France during the SOSH Freestyle Cup 2013, and once again the competitors came from far and all over the globe, including, Russia, Israel, Italy, Belgium and Aruba to compete for the most wanted title of Youth world-champion.

Day one 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 within the first heat and the competition had to be postponed.

Conditions did not get better on day two, leaving the frustrated sailors with lots of games and other windless water activities to do on a overall beautiful fun filled and sunny day, but sadly no windsurfing could be done, due to lack of wind.

Day 3 brought no difference and tensions started to get higher, as these athlete’s were getting restless and eager to show off their moves. On Friday, day 3 the wind still did not return and the day was spend much like the days before, on land playing games and waiting for the wind to pick up.

All hopes were up and so was the wind the morning of day four as the Freestylers took to the water once again.

During the first double elimination Steven Max (15) climbed his way up to the top 4 position eliminating the 16 year old Italian Riccardo Marca and France’s Sam Esteve (15) to face off Israel ‘s champion Johnny Yagen, who managed to conquer the heat due to light winds which were in his advantage, while Steven could not pull out his big moves and he took second place.

During the rest of the day they were able to complete a double elimination, in which Steven had to win several heats to get back in the finals to face off Johnny again, winning this heat by landing amazing and high moves, one of them a “Punch”, in the face of the Jury.

Alas in Steven’s second attempt to conquer first place, during a very tight race, it was Johnny who went home with first place, taking advantage of the light wind conditions once again, which hampered Steven to do any power moves and he lost the first place position. Leaving Steven frustrated, but very determined to do better on the next and final day of competition, praying for more wind.

An early and windy start in the morning of day 5, got all competitors in a good mood, as they continued their battle under great conditions. Steven flew through the first heats, eliminating each and everyone, including yesterdays champion in the final heat, even though by then the wind had died considerably.

After a quick lunch off they went again, everyone ready to see who was going to be the overall winner of the final day’s double elimination.

Again Johnny Yagen managed to go all the way to the finals to meet up with the champion of the day Steven Max, he needed to win twice to beat Steven, when just before the start of the final heat, disaster struck and Johnny was injured. He was taken care of by the medics on site, but luckily recovered quick enough to keep competing and after the “Makani-fin” Supersession, the battle continued.

Landing huge aerial moves and making good use of the 2 meter swell, Steven Max won the “Supersession” and the final against Johnny right after that, as well.

The decision was clear, the competition fierce and very close, but Steven Max scored just above Johnny, making him this year’s Junior World Champion under 18, a great achievement once again for this youngster from Aruba.

 Final results overall: 4th place Sam Esteve (France), 3rd place Kostya Smirnoff (Russia), 2nd Place Johnny Yagen (Israel), 1st Place Steven Max (Aruba).
 Now on his way back home, Steven is looking forward to the Aruba Hi-Winds from 2nd-8th of August.