International Freeride Watercraft Association
In 1999, the very first professional Freeride Watercraft events began in the United States with the inaugural Red Bull Wave Bash produced by 4 Leaf Entertainment. Athletes from around the world were invited to this prestigious event in Oceanside California. This made for television event introduced the world to the exciting sport of Freeride Watercraft
Also in 1999, the first sanctioning body, the FWA (Freeride Water Craft Association) was created by Jimbeau Andrews and 4 Leaf Entertainment with the intention of regulating a new sport that consisted of performing jumping and surfing maneuvers with personal watercraft in the ocean. A judging and points system was created and a new sport was born.
These athletes amazed the live viewing and television audience with their both their aerial maneuvers and their incredible surf riding skills. These maneuvers were based on the emerging sport of freestyle motocross and technicality of surfing. Athletes performed backflips, heel clickers and other tricks similar to freestyle motocross. Athletes used the power and amplitude of the ocean's waves to surf and utilized the waves as ramps. With all the structure in place and the willingness of the pilots to perform, this new sport started to excel and grow.
At about the same time, the Jet Jump began in France by organizer Jac Mouazan. While both events were similar, the Jet Jump format focused more on tricks than surf maneuvers. This elite group of athletes thrived in both environments.
In the same year, by coincidence, organizers in Brazil created a similar event called “Jet Waves”. Creator Marcelo Brandaõ brought athletes to exotic locations in the South of Brazil and the sport began to grow.
Freeride was also alive and well in South Africa with athletes like Jimmy Visser and Ricky Sneeden. South Africa together with Brazil they were the first countries to become a part of the FWA. Starting in 2002 the Jet Waves Brazil became considered by the FWA as the World Championship of Freeride.
In 2004, organizers came together and agreed to blend their rules and formats and a new association was born, the IFWA, International Freeride Watercraft Association. This combined the aspects of surf riding and tricks with a consistent format and judging criteria. This new association attracted new members and interested other countries in the organization.
The first IFWA Freeride World Championship Tour began in 2005 and consisted of events in Portugal organized by Luis Fragoso, Spain organized by Bruno Roselli, France hosted by Jac Mouazan, USA produced by CarolAnne Giustina and the final hosted in Brazil by Marcelo Brandaõ. Athletes accumulated points based on their results in each country. The first tour concluded in Brazil with the crowing of the first IFWA World Champion, Pierre Maixent. The world had been exposed to the sport of Freeride and the sport’s growth surged.
Each year has seen different affiliates and locations. The IFWA Freeride World Championship Tour continues until this day and the level of competition improves every year. Events have been held in all corners of the world including the USA, Portugal, France, Spain, the UK, Australia, Bali, Japan and Mexico. This emerging sport has become a passion for many riders and fans across the globe. The level of talent continues to grow and with the growth of social media, it reaches more audiences than ever. Unique to the sport of freeride is the incredible spirit and talent of the athletes and the warm camaraderie they share.
The IFWA Freeride World Championship Tour for 2018 will visit host locations in: Nazare Portugal, home of the famous big waves; Biscarrosse France near the wine region of Bordeaux; tropical and lush Ixtapa Mexico, the quaint beauty and strong surf in Pacific City Oregon and ending with the final in the famous surf location of Sunset Beach Japan just outside Tokyo. Each year brings new innovation to the sport and the incredible camaraderie of the sport of Freeride.
IFWA World Tour Champions
2019 - Joel Barry, AUS 🇦🇺
2018 - Abraham Hochstrasser, Mexico 🇲🇽
2013 - Jake Montandon, ZA 🇿🇦
2012 - Pierre Maxient, France 🇫🇷
2008 - Ross Champion, USA 🇺🇸
2007 - Pierre Maxient, France 🇫🇷
2006 - Pierre Maxient, France 🇫🇷
2005 - Pierre Maxient, France 🇫🇷