Freestyle windsurfing can be a hard sport to stand out from the crowd in, but when you do, it is a windsurfers style, power and innovation that prevails. Without a doubt, Yarden Meir has one of the most powerful, innovative and progressive riding styles on the tour. What’s more his home training spot isn’t the flat waters of Bonaire or the idyllic training grounds of Egypt and Brazil, but instead choppy, light wind waters in Eilat, Israel.
You may well have seen his video online recently but for those that missed it, here it is again, but this time with an interview and some action shots from the man himself. Yarden Meir is our Rider of the Month’.
Name: Yarden Meir
Date of birth: 17/11/1991
First year you windsurfed: 1999
First year you landed a freestyle move: I landed my first Air jibe when I was 12
First competition: EFPT Mykonos 2006
Best result: 7th PWA Lanzarote 2011
Favourite move: Hard choice but I guess Shaka
Favourite kit setup: 4.2 Simmer Blacktip, 100L Fanatic Skate
We caught up with Yarden Meir to find out more about his home-spot, his plans for the future and how he funds his tour from an aluminum factory.
Boardseeker: Yardi, once in a while we get a sneak peak of you in a video and you seem to quietly shred, tell us a little about your home-spot and some of the hardest moves you have pulled off?
YM: Eilat is located at the southeast point of Israel. We have a small piece of the Red sea inside our borders. It’s a pretty quiet town, not to big and not to small, surrounded by desert and has some nice places to hike and mountain bike around it. Good parties and from time to time good periods of wind. The wind comes at different times every year... It’s a cool place to live and grow up in, with some nice freestyle conditions from time to time. About the moves... Ermm I try a lot of new stuff every day, I would say the hardest ones were maybe some tweaked old moves and double pop stuff...
Boardseeker: Other than Eilat, what other locations do you have near-by, can you tell us a little more about each spot, what type of conditions, etc..?
YM: There is the Mediterranean coastline which has some nice waves on the right forecast. Also Kinneret lake, which is windy all summer long! Bump and jump conditions, good chop and good ramps. Also there are some fishponds around which you can freestyle in.
Boardseeker: You've been to a few PWA events and EFPT events, how were they for you and what were your highlights?
YM: Getting to travel around is the best ever. All the events were fun. I had a lot of highlights on and off the water. The best maybe was lanzarote. I loved the conditions and was learning new moves even during the heats. Also Vietnam was amazing for travelling, incredible sights. Finally, Sylt, going inside a bar, which is choked up to 40 degrees and then leaving it to 5 degrees was quite a highlight.
Boardseeker: Do you find it hard to get to the events, is there much support from brands for a rider from Israel or does the support come from elsewhere?
YM: It’s not so hard to find flights from Israel to wherever... It’s just hard to pay. Its well known how f***ed the windsurfing industry is, so I won’t start crying about it. The brands do help me, but most of the help I get comes from an Israeli aluminum factory called Alubin, a huge thank you to Yossy and Gal.
Boardseeker: During the winter months you were seen training in Brazil, do you have any other plans to go somewhere else or will you continue to practice at home?
YM: I was in Brazil for some time and since I got back I’ve only managed to sail twice, I really want to go somewhere soon for training but I’m really not sure where to go.
Boardseeker: What are your plans for the coming season?
YM: Compete as much as I can and try to do new stuff.
Boardseeker: Do you have any involvement in the R & D process for your sponsors, if so what do you help with?
YM: I helped designing the new Simmer Whitip. A pure freestyle sail for high performance. Let me know if you like it.
Boardseeker: Does any particular sailor inspire you, by their style and power or do you have other ways to motivate yourself to continue to push the level?
YM: Mark Angulo, Ricardo Campello, Tonky Frans, Boujma, Antony, Polakow, Phillip Koster, ... These guys I really enjoy watching! I keep in my mind that you can always do everything higher faster and more radical, even if you already do it the best and I try to make my heart drop to my pants as many times possible within the session. That’s the best feeling no? Mostly it comes from trying new stuff.
Boardseeker: Video is an important part of the future of our sport, do you agree with this and if so do you think we need to see even more high budget movie productions?
YM: For sure! Videos are super important, but with the industry we have now they will take all the budget and make some high quality piece of crap for 60 year old lawyers from Germany. I think there should be a really major change of how windsurfing is presented.
Boardseeker: Thanks for the interview, any last words?
YM: Fanatic, Simmer, Alubin, Ultrafins Thanks allot for the help! For all the people who read this, I hope its windy tomorrow :)
More at: www.yardenmeir.blogspot.com
Sponsored by: Fanatic, Simmer, Alubin, Ultrafins