Whilst in Cape Town Boardseeker noticed some fairly radical developments within the freestyle windsurfing scene. In particular the three mentioned in the title; Balz Müller, Steven Van Broekchoven and Yentel Caers. Totally pushing the limits and defying the laws of windsurfing as 99% of us know it, these three were firing through all the latest combinations like they were child's play and then adding some. We'll have more to unveil soon enough but first read our quick interview with these three as we caught up with them at Istanbul International airport terminal whilst on a layover from South Africa to their next destination.
You think you have any idea where freestyle is going, think again...
Photo - Deining Media
BS: Let's jump straight in, Balz you are super progressive with your approach to moves, Steven you are not afraid to try anything new and Yentel you are a mix of the two, could this be the perfect combination to see a sport develop rapidly?
Yentel: Well I guess, I mean we just really enjoyed ourselves on this trip and when I saw Balz or Steven try something I went for it also. The double air culo is something a lot of people have been talking about a few people tried it but never saw any attempts and I'd tried it a bit already, these were just the first attempts captured on video.
Balz: Haha, the whole trip was sick, we were travelling always to the same spots, sailing together, pushing so hard. For sure we worked hard to land new stuff and push new moves. I think training with these guys was what I needed.
Steven: Yes, it was cool to travel with them, Balz was so creative that it pushed me to try new things a lot.
BS: So can you tell us where you see the future of freestyle, can there really be much more new stuff now?
Yentel: For sure everything is going in the air now, big double air moves off chop, just going higher and rotating more than ever before.
Balz: Yeah, what Yentel said, big, higher and more spins with some crazy rotations. For sure it needs to be windy and with some chop but it's often like this where we travel and practice. But for me I want to see more board grabs also.
Steven: What the others said but I think grabs are hard, yeah you can do it in a move for a photo but freestyle moves are so fast and happen so quick that in competition I think judges would miss it, especially if it happens the other side of the heat area but for sure it would be cool to see more of this.
Balz: But in the beginning they even thought grabs weren’t possible in snowboarding, but now they do it all the time. I think Alessio Stillrich could for sure do some sick board grabs in his huge one handed push loops.
Photo - Deining Media
BS: So you think more freestyle in the waves?
Balz/Steven: Totally, more freestyle in the waves would be even more exciting, all the young guys are doing more freestyle in the waves and it looks good. They are doing it more in surfing already, it can only be just around the corner in waves, it is just a matter of what the judges accept as a wave move or not.
BS: So bigger moves, more rotation and grabs, this kind of sounds like you've been working on exactly this, can you reveal anything, what about the shifty, did you stick this yet Balz, you looked close when we saw you on that old sail?
Balz: Style, just styling everything up, none of this fucked up cana brava stuff at the end of moves but just go big and stick it perfect. Haha, yeah you noticed... The shifty is hard because the rotation relies totally on the take off, you can't change it once you start going through the move you just go with the wind. It's crazy and the crashes are harder than anything I have done but yeah let's wait and see if I got one or not already...
All: In our view I think we are still on the surface of freestyle, mainly because there is so much more to come from power moves off chop. We are in a golden age of move progression, freestylers just learnt the basic power moves and now we are taking them to the air.
Steven: I think it’s much better to focus on what we as an individual want to do in freestyle not all about the same moves, not copying each other but progressing individually.