France with it's long coast lines delivered several freestyle talents in the past years. While Nicolas Akgazciyan (Starboard), Julien Mas, Antony Ruenes and Adrien Bosson (North/Fanatic) are already known names on the EFPT as well as the PWA tour, there are some young riders training hard to climb up to the freestyle ranks. Once again we'd like to present you a big talent who will certainly go far because of his dedication and passion for freestyle windsurfing. We are looking forward to see more of him in the future.
EFPT: Romain can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m 21 and I live in France on the west coast (Ré Island) where Antoine Albeau lives as well.
I started windsurfing when I was 12 at the CNGG sailing club and began taking part in competitions two years later on Techno 290D. I got really good results on 293OD and RSX but I stopped race-boarding for good in 2010. After that I bought my first freestyle board and I started freestyle windsurfing in the summer 2010 on my home spot 'La Couarde Nord'.
EFPT: Why freestyle windsurfing?
Like every child, I had a role model and it was Ricardo Campello with his shakas and air shove-it spocks. Wave-sailing wasn’t my thing at all though. Freestyle has massively improved through sailors like Gollito Estredo and Kiri Thode. My passion stayed the same and it was increased by the enthusiasm of riders such as Steven Van Broeckhoven.
EFPT: Where did you train the past seasons and how was your progress?
Last year I predominantly stayed in France but made a trip to Tarifa in March 2011 and Brasil in November 2011. I went to different events such as 'Le Mondial du Vent' in Leucate where I met Marco Lufen (a young German freestyler - he was also in our Fresh Faces category) or 'Le Défi de la Baule' where I met Julien Mas and Leo Ray. However at this stage I didn’t feel ready to take part in the PWA or the EFPT.
I went to Brasil to Sao Miguel do Gostoso for three months of intensive training and there I learnt the most in freestyle. I concentrated on the kono and the air funnel, leaving the burner and the culo maybe for 2012.
For two years now I’ve been learning moves by reproducing the same motion/gesture as pros, thanks to their videos.
EFPT: What are your role models in windsurfing/ Who do you look up to? And who do you enjoy sailing with?
My models are Steven Van Broeckhoven and Gollito Estredo. I love their explosive style. I also like Kiri Thode's and Davy Scheffer's style, even though they are quite different. At the Bonifacio freestyle project, Steven Van Broeckhoven was there and I really enjoyed spending time on the water with him. His level was above all the other sailors. He never made mistakes and had a beautiful style with a lot of air time.
EFPT: What are your aims for this season?
My challenge for 2012 is to test myself in competition and see if I’m prepared to participate. I think I’m not ready for the PWA yet, which is why I’ll start with the EFPT. I hope I’ll be able to get in the event in Six Fours Les Plages in October, which would be my first big event in freestyle. After this I plan to return to Brasil in order to train hard for roughly 3 months.
Also sponsors are really important and that’s the reason why I put a lot of my energy into communication with producing videos and interviews for the windsurf related press.
In 2013, I’ll probably go to Hawaii with my friend Hugo Guias (a pro kitesurfer) and it’s going to be amazing!!
EFPT: Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
Wooow, that’s a hard question to answer! I see myself on the water, freestyling in Fuerteventura, Dahab, Sao Miguel, Gruissan, etc. Freestyle is my passion, my life! I hope to be successful when I am competing with the best windsurfers of the world, even though it means to train way more.
EFPT: What are your big goals in freestyle windsurfing?
My aim is to go as far as possible in competition. Talking about being a world champion is quite ambitious, but it’s important to set goals and I could set this as a long term goal, you never know! I don’t think I’ll ever be able to be that good, but still with the right training and motivation everything is possible.
Another dream would be to surf Jaws someday, but that’s another story… :D
The EFPT thanks Romain for the interview. We are going to see the young freestyler entering international competition for the first time from the 27th - 31st of October at the EFE/EFPT event in Six Fours les Plages in France.
Watch Romain's latest video below: