PWA announces 2006 Rookies of the Year
In time-honoured tradition, the close of season marks a period of brief reflection, and the chance to applaud the most deserving new talents who’ve made the biggest impacts on the elite competitive scene.
Frenchman Florent Renard (FRA-5 JP / NeilPryde), of the cut-throat PWA Slalom 42 Fleet, won unanimous acclaim from all quarters of the pro community for his impressive showing in this year’s tough racing series.
Renard, aged 21, hails from the Isle de Re in France, home of all-round windsurfing legend Antoine Albeau (F-192 Starboard / NeilPryde), and so there’re no surprises in guessing who this lightening fast speedsters mentor and training partner is! And like his colossal role model, Renard loves all facets of windsurfing from Formula racing through to wavesailing at the exciting Gouillaud wave spot – right in front of his house!
Renard actually made his PWA debut back in 2004 and finished a respectable 8th in Super-X, before gaining full support from his sponsors to make this seasons campaign. Finishing 15th in the top flight, Renard has appeared in countless finals, and shown great maturity in this high pressure discipline, filled with names of the highest stature. The word is amongst these names that FRA-5 is the number to watch out for in seasons to come, and that if he puts as much effort into his performance as his Island neighbour, then the rewards are sure to follow.
15 yr old Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / MauiSails) of Aruba, first turned heads back in the 2005 season with a magnificent showing in her first two European events in the Canaries leg of the tour – then aged just 14! Finding the strong winds and rough water a contrast to the smoother Aruban conditions at ‘The Huts’ where she lives and trains, Sarah-Quita also entered the King of the Caribbean event at nearby Bonaire, although sadly no wind showed up to give her a chance to shine in the super flat freestyle location.
What a difference a year makes however, and in 2006 Sarah-Quita rocked up to the opening event in Pozo and immediately had the top ladies worried when they saw how much this charismatic young performer had progressed. A full arsenal of switch stance moves and more, all performed in the hectic waves of Pozo, and furious chop in Sotavento sent fear coursing through their veins. Those fears turned out to be warranted when she finished up 5th in Gran Canaria, and took an historic victory in Fuerteventura, beating fellow newcomer Laure Treboux (SUI-4 Naish / Naish), and legend of women’s windsurfing Daida Moreno (E-64, Mistral/ North) in the process.
Congratulations Florent and Sarah-Quita – we’ve been really impressed with your successes, conduct and professional approach. Here’s wishing you both the best of luck in seasons to come.
© PWA / Brian McDowell