Motor Surf & Scramble–Kamisu Beach, Japan-Round 6- The Final
2016 was a really good year for us at IFWA and I hope that our membership feels the same.
We opened in the Mecca of the Big Wave and closed the season in the home of the Big Wave!
It was an epic season in the history of IFWA competition.
Congratulations Mark Gomez #1, Bruno Jacob #2, Abraham Hochstrasser #3 and Jeremy
Bosser #1 SitDown class!
In the course of this season we saw the sport elevated by skills and the addition of Japan as
a member nation. It had been a long-term goal for us to bring IFWA FreeRide to Japan and
through the help of Takaaki Murao, the entire MS&S team lead by Katsunobu Haruta, WSL
Japan, Ben Wei, all the Japanese teams and the participation and invitation of sponsor
Atsushi Hoshino a.k.a. BOSS, we reached that goal.
MotorSurf & Scramble, the event was all that our expectations imagined and more. So
many great riders in Japan! We welcome them into the FreeRide family and they welcomed
us in return to their homeland. Where else but the home of the PWC factories would be
more appropriate for the 2016 final event of the World Tour?
Japanese riders brought their best, skis built with precision, polished, tuned and we saw a
great competition in both stand and sit categories! The participation in the newly re–opened
sitdown/sport category was the highest of the past two seasons only to be match by our
aussie brothers. Stand outs Saturo Ueno, Gou Seto, and Masao(Wrong-way Conway)Ueki
challenged past multi Champion MX100, Euro Champion Jeremy Bosser, Zack Bright, and
Blaster Jay Aslamatzis in dramatic fashion in wave conditions that were well suited to their
styles. Some of you know Ueki from the World finals as the backward rider, yes he even surf
rides and jumps that way in Freeride!
Young pilots Gou Seto(JP) and Hugo Goirre (Ivory Coast Africa) matched veteran riders
through much of the competition showing us all, that future champions are in the making.
Japanese Riders filled the Brackets but it would be Murao, Okutomi Diasuke and Ueno to
battled the other international pilots most successfully for much of the weekend. American
Zack Bright returned to the competition after a weak showing in the USA round competing
in both categories and taking 3rd in sitdown for the event.
A challenging competition between Brazilian Bruno Jacob and Abraham
Hochstrasser(Mexico) had gone on all season. Both winning the #1 position in one of the six
rounds to meet again in the semi-final. Jacob on borrowed equipment would, again
challenge Hochstrasser, who’s personal Edge was running perfectly. It would be Jacob, to
advance to the final only slightly ahead by surf score by finding a sweet spot near the Jetty
Break wall, which left Abraham to moved to the consi to face Murao.
2015 World Champion Mark Gomez(USA) would for the third time, face Jacob for the final.
The horn sounded and the heat went off with both riding in similar strategy. Mixing
variation tricks with a lot of surf rides. The Brazilian round 4 champion, Jacob only falling
to Gomez by a few ticks. So hard it is to beat Gomez when he is in the grove and relaxed on
his own gear. Murao’s best heat of the season would be enough in the consi, putting up high
and super clean barrel roll variations in combinations with surfing, against Hochtrasser’s
stratosphere air, would jump him ahead only in the last moments of the heat. Messy
conditions and very strong winds hamper the riders in the afternoon making conditions a
factor as well. Ho would redeem himself and salvage the day with winning the Big Air
portion on amplitude with ease. Leaving the beach much to talk about for weeks to come!
In sitdown, MX100 debuts on the new RRP product against a full field of local riders,
including Zack Bright, aussie and 2014 class champion Blaster Jay Alazamatis and fellow
Frenchman, Jeremy Bosser. What do you do when you have so many great riders? Watch
carefully and pull out your hair as judging these guys against each other cause a good deal
of stress for the Jury. Forcing them to determine the winners by fractions of points.
Unfortunately Jay would get shut out with equipment failure but he returned in the Big Air
portion with the sickest trick of the day….launching a giant super flip in the first
moments…the decision was unanimous. Mx100 goes on to meet Bosser with Super Surfer
Ueno meeting Bright who turned up the heat to determine 3rd. The result would get logged
as follows: Maxient 1, Bosser 2, Bright 3 , Ueno a very close 4th.
Saturday commences with Baja off road demos and freeride Motorcross between heats, the
Scramble portion of the event. Saturday night the pilots enjoy the hospitality of hosts
Hoshino and Akinori Oyama with a Beach Party BBQ of Giant Clams and Kobe Beef and
plenty of cold Japanese beer. In the tradition of Freeride, the language barriers are no match
for the mutual love of the sport. The entire international field enjoyed a casual and friendly
atmosphere that compared to the old Blowsion party and Pismo freerides in many ways.
Leaving everyone excited and rested for the final day of the weekend.
2014 World Champion Mick Anthony, plagued by ski issues would borrow several skis
attempting to stay competitive. Possibly the best current rider at variation and the
innovator of the Flex Flip, Anthony smiles as he loses to Murao…just happy to be on the
beach with friends. A true sign of a Champion that is as strong a competitor as any in the
world, no athlete likes to lose but Mick is happy to see friends win and ride in a new beach.
Returning to Tokyo the following week would allow everyone even more time to spend with
now close friends and build bonds that will last a life-time.
Eric ‘the Bull’ Forney(FR) returned as well, joined by Brazilian Andre’ Martins and UK #2
Malachy Brown making this event a well rounded international group of very skilled riders
to help introduce IFWA FreeRide to their Japanese brethren.
The Awards banquet of Mandarin Chinese food(?!?)hosted in the hotel was highlighted by
performances of world renowned magician Cyril and a ‘Bay Watch’ costumed dance by a
duo that was far from Kabuki which caused laughter and a great many raised eyebrows.
The only comment to summate that was the hotel has asked us not to return. “No
matter…there are others” I am assured by a laughing Aki….and the power of the FreeRide
This season we had a lot of help around the world, in each locale, a great surf location, hard
working staff and amazing riding my our athletes. Many thanks to our athletes, our IFWA
organizers, (Jason Barry AU, Luis Fragoso PT, VP Jac Mouazan and Patrict Rolland FR,
Stephen Foot UK, Bruno Jacob and Marcello Brandao BR, Carol Anne Guistina USA, Sean Line
JP/Dogtown), the Rescue teams, Videographer Antoine Mortoire, Photographers Chris
Rauen, Luciano Cruz, Jon Currier, Richardo Fuchs, many privateers like Mr & Mrs Sarkilahti,
Pro Rider and World Jet Sports magazines, AIM Sports Paul Hughes, Cold Fusion, Hot
Products, Factory Zero, Hydro Turf, Skat Trak, Jet Deck, AMF, Blowsion, MX100, Nick Webb,
Municipal de Nazare’PT, Lacanau FR, Newquay UK, Salvador BR, Pacific City USA, Kamisu JP,
Big wave Dave Langer, all our friends, fans, family, and countless supporting staff around the
globe! IFWA is growing as Japanese members join the international committee and add a
great deal to the sport with support, enthusiasm and dedication to the pilots and the sport.
Yes, Surf riding is big in Japan getting bigger by the day! Arigato Gozai massu BOSS!
2017 looms in the near future…There is a lot going on behind the scenes….Please, come visit
us on the beach…Catch our Wave! You won’t regret it!