The future of windsurfing is looking extremely bright with so many talented young riders on the tour. This season we have seen unbelievable performances from competitors as young as fourteen, and witnessed two youth sailors win two of the world champion titles.
The PWA brings together the most talented young windsurfers in the world and we are particularly pleased to announce the stars that have been awarded the youth world champion titles in the categories; men and women’s freestyle under 18’s, men and women’s wave under 20, men and women’s slalom under 22.
Youp Schmit (JP / NeilPryde / Dakine) Mens Freestyle U18
Schmit has really blown the judges away this season, making his first appearance of the year on his home spot in Bonaire and finishing in eleventh place. He holds the ability to pull all the most impressive moves in even the toughest conditions, expect big things from Schmit in the coming years.
“Thank you for this title! It is a big honour to be the PWA freestyle youth champion. This year has been amazing for me, due to getting a great sponsorship deal with JP/NP following the PWA Fuerteventura event in 2010. Thanks to them I have been able to attend a lot of the PWA events, sadly because of school I had to miss the first two competitions (Vietnam and Austria). But now I have graduated I can fully focus on windsurfing and I'll be able to go to all the events and to go train in other countries. I would like to thank my sponsors for making this all possible!”
Maxime Van Gent (JP) Womens Freestyle U18
At just fourteen years old Van Gent is one of the youngest competitors on the PWA, but her windsurfing is up there with the best of them. Living on Bonaire certainly has its advantages, and with the worlds best as your coaches Van Gent will certainly be pulling the most complex moves in no time.
“There has been no wind in Bonaire for two months so I have been quite depressed, but this morning my mum woke me up with the news that I won the youth champion title. I felt so happy; it almost feels as good as waking up when it’s windy! Thank you all so much. I would also like to say to all the girls out there thinking of competing on the PWA please do so, I competed for the first time this year and learned so much. I would also like to say thank you to the boys in Bonaire for helping me, and to my new sponsor JP for my new board (still looking for a sail sponsor), Jibe city and by biggest sponsors my mum and dad. See you all next year”
Philip Koster (Starboard / NeilPryde / Dakine / Maui Ultra Fins) Mens Wave U20
Koster has dominated the wave competitions this season, blowing his competition out the water with his perfect double forward loops and super-technical moves on the waves. As the youngest sailor ever to win the world wave title he certainly deserves to be awarded the youth wave sailor title.
“I am very honoured to win the PWA youth title in waves. I had such a great year and I am very happy to be awarded the title. I would like to thank all my supporters, without them it would be impossible to get this title and the world title too.”
Alice Arutkin (Starboard / North) Womens Wave U20
Arutkin has managed to balance and excel in both the slalom and wave sailing competitions this season, finishing an incredible fourth on the racecourse and seventh place in the waves. Arutkin’s clean riding style and big forward loops caught the judge’s eye in both competitions and she will certainly be charging for the podium spots next season.
“I am very proud and really happy to win this amazing title. You have to work so hard to reach the standard of the Moreno’s, Nayra and Karin and I cant wait to be as good as them, but I am only nineteen and I know how to appreciate the present time. I have concentrated mostly on the slalom events this season with less travel abroad for training as I have made the past few years but I managed to do well in the waves. I wouldn’t have been able to achieve these results without my faithful partners (Starboard / North / Oxbow / Red Bull) who gave me the support and confidence to compete.”
Enes Yilmazer (JP / NeilPryde) Men Slalom U22
The men’s slalom features some of the most experienced and fearsome competitors and making a name for yourself is particularly tough, but Yilmazer has pushed the starts hard all season and managed to challenge even the most deadly.
“I am very honoured to be awarded the U22 slalom youth world tittle. Racing with all the legends, and being able to share the same course with them is a great experience for me. At the same time, having a category that gives the youth generation a chance to promote themselves and get their ability & work recognized is amazing. In the future, I will do my best to improve my skills and I hope that I will be able to make it into the top twenty, then work my way to the very top.”
Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / Gaastra / Mystic / Maui Ultra Fins) Womens slalom U22
With five world titles to her name already Offringa needs no introduction and there is no stopping her. She has dominated the freestyle scene for the last four years and this season she has taken it one step further and claimed the women’s slalom world title. Offringa has recently been nominated for the world sailor of the year award for her amazing sailing, and she is a fantastic ambassador for women’s windsurfing.
From all of us as the PWA we would like to congratulate all of our youth sailors for this season and we wish them the best of luck in 2012. The future of windsurfing looks particularly strong, make sure you keep an eye on these incredibly talented youths in the coming years as they are sure to standout and start winning the top spots.