US Nationals 2016 (Youth Champion ?)

US Nationals 2016 (Youth Champion ?)

I flew to Corpus Christi, Texas straight after my finals to have some time to train. Because of the winter in Montreal, I did not train so much before that. I arrived in CC on may 3rd, welcomed by an amazing place, so big and beautiful. It is the real Texas with one main road and everything to the sides. This place is huge; you definitively need a car.

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The first days, the wind remained light, it was perfect to discover the city, prepare slowly the gear and everything. However, when the wind rises, it rises!! We got some nice 8,4 TR XI Mauisails sessions, but just before the race, the wind reached 30-32 knots in a choppy bay… Sounds amazing except if my smallest gear was 7,0 TR XI with the 107 isonic and 33 IFJU.  Enes Yilmazer, a PWA rider was on the water with me with the same equipment while he has maybe 30 more kgs than me. It was fun but tough sessions; this would be complicated if we were racing a complete day…

Watching is the go pro is still here...
Watching if the go pro is still here…

I even hurt my shoulder during another 7,7 overpowered session. In CC the wind is much stronger than it seems… First lesson to remember!

Thanks to LIFT Sessions, my coach Ben St-Amant prepared me a great warmup activation and it helped the pain to leave in only one day.

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Finally, the competition began. We got a super nice 20 knots on the morning during the opening ceremony but the wind dropped suddenly in the afternoon. We still had two nice eliminations of slalom. I got a great first one where I finished 4th and first youth. I was aiming a top10 but I could have never imagined to be in this position right before the pros. The light wind helped me also as I am lighter than most of them, in fact it has been helpful to all the light guys. Congratz to my Canadian mate Phil Soltysiak who took the lead of the race while he is mostly a freestyler! I used in the morning 7,0 and 107 with 33 and 36 IFJU. In the afternoon, I used my 117 with the 7,7 and 43cm. The best combo ever for me!

On race 2, in the semi-final, I had a really bad start (like 5 seconds late) and despite a good speed, I have not been able to catch back the top4 to reach the final… That gave me a 11th place and a total of 15 points. I was frustrated but we have at least 3 more days of racing so the discard is highly probable, especially with some good forecasts

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Day 2: We got the compiled results of yesterday, I am currently 7 in the US Nationals slalom. No so bad but could have been better without this 11th place… The first hours, pretty light, are dedicated to the formula and Kona’s fleet. After that, we cast the long distance. It should have been 20 miles but the wind is still on the edge, so the race is shortened to 8-10 miles. I made the best start on my 8,4 TR XI Mauisails and 43 cm IFJU fins XS on the isonic 117. However, Enes and Xavier Ferlet overtook me on the first reach with their big 9,5. After a really good fight, Olivier Jallais also overtook me close to the jibe. On the way back, I saw I was a bit faster than Olivier so I pushed as hard as I could to catch him back but it has not been enough. In the meanwhile, I had to take care of Phil behind me too. I finished this one on the 4th position and 1st youth. Super happy with that result too, next time the podium will be mine!!

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Leading the fleet to the jibe

Day 3: Not enough wind for slalom, only the raceboards are on the water. Chilling day.

Day 4: Forecast was good and everything was ready for a decent slalom and finally have at least one discard! I was more ready than ever, I prepared all my stuff and tested different combinations but an unexpected storm coming on us killed the chance of slalom… Time to pack back the gears without the discard…

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escaping by the outside during the first final, leaving this mark in 3rd position

In the end, I am super happy with this result as I aimed a top10 and kick some pros’ ass.  I am heading now to Maui to work with the Mauisails team and improve my consistency. Moreover, I won in the youth fleet for both long distance and slalom, so I should be US youth champion. In fact, we were not enough in youth so the title cannot be official 😦

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On Sunday, we were supposed to have a nice session at Bird Island, a super flat slalom spot, with Tyson Poor and Xavier Ferlet but one more time the storm prevents us…

I left CC at 3am this morning and I would definitively thank Olivier Jallais for dropping me at the airport with an heavy rain, wind…  I received all the night some emergency messages on my phone. Some roads were closed; the sky looked like a night club with all the lightning… I feared I’ll miss my flight. I finally did it but with wet b ags, hopefully it did not exceed 70 lbs…

Thanks also to Monika Caldwell and all the staff that made a perfect event in an amazing place. I will definitively come back one day.  Thanks also to Oliver and Mike for their Canadian, French, Texan hospitality. It was nice to meet you all guys; I hope to see you soon all.

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The Frenchie, F 1100

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Thanks Mike Murphy, Padre surf Island, Terry, Jerome and me for the pictures 😉

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