An aspiring young competitor with a never say die attitude

Maxime van Gent (Fanatic / North / Maui Ultra Fins) is one of the youngest competitors on the PWA World Tour. However, despite being just seventeen years old, van Gent, has already amassed a significant amount of competition experience having made her debut in Bonaire during 2011. With three years of contests under her belt, combined with the motivation, perseverance and drive to succeed, van Gent stands as one of the up and coming young talents that needs to be monitored carefully over the next few years, as she possesses the potential to make it to the very top of the sport. We caught up with Maxime to find out more about her freestyle background - read the interview below:

PWA: How did you move into the wonderful world of freestyle?

MvG: “I learned freestyle before I learned surfing actually, when I started everybody around me was freestyling and I thought it was sooo cool that as soon as I could plane I started popping for vulcans. That made it a bit more difficult I think in the beginning because I didn't know too much about the wind and how to stand on my board but I had a lot of fun :)” 

PWA: How did you feel when you landed your first vulcan?

MvG: “When I first landed my vulcan I was so happy and the feeling was so good that I never will give up and always keep trying.”

PWA: What move did you learn next?

MvG: “After the vulcan came the spock and the spock 540.”

PWA: How do you learn new moves?

MvG: “I always just look how others do the trick and then just try to copy them and see what happens, after that I know what I did wrong or where it doesn't feel good and than I start asking the boys what I am doing wrong and just keep trying till I got it.”

PWA: What moves are you currently trying to learn and how’s it going?

MvG: “Now I am trying funnels, switch kono, e-slider and a lot more.”

“These moves are all switch stance, I think these are much harder to learn but if I just keep training on them I will get them consistently and will never give up:).”

PWA: Freestyle can be a frustrating discipline, what do you do if you get frustrated with a certain move?

MvG: “Sometimes I am really stuck on a move and then I have to leave it for a while, and be not so obsessed by it...then after a while I will try it again and it usually goes much better. Sometimes you can overthink moves.”

PWA: What has been the easiest move for you to learn so far?

MvG: “The easiest to learn I found the grubby, feels like dancing on the water.”

PWA: Do you have any training tips for aspiring freestylers?

MvG: “I personally like to train with friends because it gives you so much more energy to keep going. When you see others landing their tricks and going for new moves it inspires you too push yourself even more, so you progress.” 

PWA: What makes Bonaire of the best places in the world to train freestyle?

“We always cheer when somebody lands their moves, and everybody is so involved that when you are training on Bonaire you will leave the water with energy of all the fun and good feeling. I think thats what makes it so special to live and train here.”

PWA: Thanks Maxime, good luck with the rest of your training and we’ll look forward to seeing you competing again soon.