In the '90s, Jimbeau Andrews, a founding producer of the Freestyle Motocross Sport had seen friends in California riding stand up PWC in the surf jumping waves. Legends like Randy Lane, Scott Watkins, Mark Tearle, Fuzzy Boyd and others had pioneered the sport which was evolving to have some similarity to the newly created FMX. Andrews, who is always brimming with ideas, began to imagine the show and Watercraft Freeride as sport , the gears began to turn.
Near the end of the decade, that idea would become a reality. In 1999 in California, the FWA (Freeride Water Craft association) was created by Andrews with the intention of regulating a new sport that began to appear internationally, Freeride, which consists of combining jumping and surfing maneuvers with personal watercraft in the ocean. Jimbeau created the statutes of the organization and produced the Red Bull WaveBash held in California, USA for the next four years. Primarily an invitational competition among the top international pilots for cash and prizes. Professional Freeride was born.
As it would happen, also, in 1999, Marcelo “Tchello” Brandão, organized and produced the first PWC Freeride contest in South America, the Jet Waves Competition, and by coincidence, the regulations developed by him were very similar to those of the FWA, a combination of surfing skill and jumping.
Oddly enough, that very same year, the Jet Jump Extreme in France was created, also competing in waves, but with the difference of just judging the aerial maneuvers.
Surf PWC riding was by this time beginning to happen all around the globe in Brazil, Europe, USA, ASIA, Australia, South Africa. In fact, it was legendary pilot Jimmy Visser, representing South Africa and Marcelo Brandao of Brazil that were the first country representatives to join the FWA. Brazil would set the standard for the following decade after in 2002 the Jet Waves event was instated by the FWA as the world championship of freeride.
It was at a historical meeting in 2000, during the Jet Jump Extreme in Montalivet, France, members of the FWA, with Jet Jump organizers Jac Mouazan and Patrick Rolland and representing pilots from various parts of the world decided to unite the regulations, and to create an international entity recognized by the athletes and event organizers worldwide. Joining together to unify the regulations in all of the countries, to integrate them into the association thus strengthening the sport overall, this association would create a world circuit and regulate the competition. The FWA had evolved, the IFWA (International Freeride Watercraft Association) was born and in 2005 the first of an annual World Tour Championship (WTC) with 5 rounds, Portugal, Spain, France, USA and Brazil began.
Since that time the IFWA has seen a great deal in the growth of the sport in both participation, skill, and available locations. Huge advancements in performance technology have helped make it possible for Freeriders today to jump higher and surf bigger waves than ever before imagined! The abilities of our members today rank among the finest extreme sports athletes worldwide.
Today the IFWA, in cooperation of our nation members, continues to provide world class surf locales for our World Tour and maintains the integrity of professional world competition. The IFWA sanctions events in Indonesia, Australia, United Kingdom, North America, South America, Western Europe, Mexico and Japan. A goal for the IFWA besides recognizing a World Champion, is to keep competition exciting both for our Athlete members but also for our fans and spectators. We continue to advance the competition sport but also work to encourage new participation recreationally. The IFWA is dedicated to maintaining respect to Surfing, the ecology and the lifestyle in combination with PWC Motorsport. Freeride continues to grow on every continent and the IFWA is working to open new regions to recreation and official competition thereby providing more great wave locales for our members and recreational PWC enthusiast alike.
Mark Matsuda IFWA President
“O longo areal em forma de meia-lua da praia da Nazaré, e que é também a frente de mar da cidade, é conhecido pela sua grandeza e pelos toldos de cores vivas que decoram a praia de areia branca em contraste com o azul da água. Esta é a praia de Portugal onde as tradições da pesca são mais coloridas e não é raro cruzarmo-nos com as peixeiras que ainda usam as sete saias, como manda a tradição. Num fim de tarde de sábado dos meses de verão é imprescindível sentarmo-nos no paredão a assistir ao interessante espectáculo da "Arte Xávega" em que chegam do mar as redes carregadas de peixe e as mulheres gritam os seus pregões de venda. Se não percebermos exactamente as palavras, não é nada de preocupante. São códigos que muitas vezes só elas sabem.“ (in: www.visitportugal.com)