As a step in the World Tour, Jet Jump is like a familiar friend, reliable, comforting and great times and memories.
The Jet Jump opens our World Championship Tour this year in a new location for the traveling athletes but familiar to the local pilots, Biscarrosse, France. The Jet Jump Extreme, a massive effort by Jac Mouazan in cooperation with veteran freerider Eric Forney. Mr. Forney hosted the event in his home ville with a style that can only be described as classically French. First opening the event evening with a party for the pilots at a beautiful lakeside restaurant operated by he and his lovely wife Virginie(also a great Freerider). In fine ambiance with glasses for local wine the pilots enjoyed excellent cuisine and chatted amongst each other until the opening commentary by the Staff and Mayor welcoming all participants.
The Jet jump commenced with pre-qualifying on Friday and the beginning of the International Competition on Saturday. Wave conditions varied throughout the Weekend but tended to drop off in the afternoon unfortunately, however our members made a great effort to show their abilities even so. Included this season was the European Championship, French National and Masters portions.
The battle for the #1 position in the International Competition would include two new members coming from Australia, Krash Ind. team members, Ryan Savage and Joel Barry. Both rode well and passed through the brackets with Barry getting knocked out in the ¼ and Ryan in the semi. Brandon Lawlor, USA returned to the Tour to show that he hadn’t lost his game even for taking some time away from competition on his new and innovative plastic fantastic FreeForm watercaft. Lawlor besting the 2nd place vice champion of 2016 Brazilian Bruno Jacob in the quarter final in less than optimum wave conditions for him that seemed to suit the American’s strategy. Fourth place IFWA pilot Francois Lavergne, a local favorite was passed by the Aussie Savage in a heat that was decided by fractions. 3rd place in 2016, Abraham Hochstrasser moved on over Young phenom Hugo Goirre and Joel Barry(AU) had a strong showing getting knocked out by last years Champion Mark Gomez in a close heat. Keep an eye on the on the Aussies this season, much akin to their tour predecessors, former Champion Mick Anthony and Mitch Young, these two represent AU well, have a great spirit and challenge the leaders aggressively.
The Final was Gomez vs fellow RRP team member Hochstrasser, a friendly but intense rivalry with Lawlor meeting Lavergne in the Consi. It would go Ho for 1st with his big air style and Mark dropping out facing successive mechanical gremlins and Lawlor over Lavergne with massive trick combinations repeatedly.
The Event contained the European Championship Round 1 pitting Englishmen against the Frenchmen. Francois Lavergne for 1st over Romain Coureau who was returning from a severe injury last season in Portugal and Hugo Goirre knocking out Brit Ash Mansell, who had a banner weekend for 3rd in the Consi.
In the Women’s category, It would be Katia Monge in 1st, Lucie Lavergne in 2nd and Mary Lavergne (unrelated) rounding out the podium in 3rd.
Monday arrived with near to flat conditions only made useful by wind chop that welled up the small shore break, making competition in the French Nationals difficult if not harrowing in shallow water conditions. The pilots battled on this French Holiday in front of a large remaining crowd touring the Village with Goirre passing Lavergne who rode extremely well but just missed some points while the clock ticked by looking for the right wave to perform SuperFlips that had helped him in earlier heats moved to 2nd. Goirre would take the top step for the first time in his career with European step one champion Coureau taking the podium again in 3rd.
The Last heats for the Jet Jump Extreme were the newly opened Veteran or Masters class. Open to Pilots 40 and over. It was unfortunate that Italian legend Federico Bufacci was unable to attend due to being sidelined by a recent injury while training and Marc the Shark Sickerling, who attended the event on Sunday would not be available on Monday. Nevertheless, Pilots Aurelien Marchand, Romain Gabrielli, Bertrand Bonnin and Gil Beurnier would run, showing the younger pilots and attending crowd that age is little measure in freeride with great performances in the lack luster conditions. It would be Beurnier, Bonnin, Marchand to podium with Gabrielli coming up in fourth.
Best Trick was won by Ryan Savage who took home the New Piranha Hull as his prize.
We bid France adieu as we packed up the event later Monday and began our focus on step 2 of the IFWA World and Euro Championships. A short break for our members to enjoy the local culture of Bordeaux and then proceed to Fistral Beach, Newquay Cornwall, UK for the Battle of the Pilots. A chance for the English to tune their Spitfires to take another shot at the international pilots and meet the French again in the Euro portion. Merci Beaucoup mon amis! Merci Jet Jump! Merci Jac and Eric! Merci Biscarosse! We wish everyone Bon Voyage and Bonne Chance! On to England, Tally-Ho!