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Pro Freestyle is a festival that since 2015 takes place in two locations, Le Hague and Heerlen, organized by a crew of guys like us passionate or practicing freestyle, with the intent to offer young riders the opportunity to show off and maybe reach top-level sponsors, who support this contest with a special eye.
From the first contact with Dick-Jan (the head organizer) I felt at ease, when I explained to him what VFL is and why I wanted to go to their contest they offered to host me!
Let’s say that our philosophies immediately found themselves wonderfully.
So I asked VFL to support me on the trip up to there, not to give up an opportunity to compare with another pro-freestyle reality and not to lose contact with the athletes known in the now distant Fise of Montpellier.
I flew from Venice at dawn to Brussels, from there in Flix to Maastrich and then one last train ride to Heerlen.
Arrived I was immediately displaced, I expected a sleeping Dutch town and instead I found a young city, full of legal and beautiful murals, covering entire facades of buildings.
Even grandparents there are young, among the audience were numerous and all with camera in tow, a show!
The town seems very happy with this festival, with numerous city sponsors and the local shop that served as a free fix-shop for riders.
This year for the first time the crew guys managed to get a Pro scooter contest, helping the athletes to organize the trip (they were almost all English) and find accommodation in the city.
And the guys who arrived did not disappoint, staging a best-trick competition that paid off even for the contest stopped mid-weather.
For the record, Isiah Samms won, but I prefer to tell you the behind the scenes, how these guys push each other and act like they were a single family, I knew a little better (and I enjoyed in doing so) Stan Kelly, Dante Huchinson, Devon Low and I can tell you that they are much older boys than their age, apparently the international competitions make them grow fast in every sense.
In the late afternoon of the first day the UK BMX Freestyle team arrived here for the UCI BMX contest like a hurricane, Kaine Mitchell and James Jones immediately raised the level and the athletes present adjusted themselves as if they were qualifying and no longer practicing.
Good with hindsight, otherwise we would not have brought home photos.
As for the MTB instead I met a couple of promising athletes, we are certainly not at the level of the Crankworx Slopestyle, but somewhere you have to start and these guys already shred.
The second day they performed the qualifications of the contest sponsored by Canyon, one of the most important brands in the industry; qualifications that, in view of the rain, were then found to be fundamental in order to draw up a final classification that reads:
1 Rèmy Carra (FRA)
2 Ludwig Jager (DE)
3 Nicolas Kroffing (FRA)
As you may have seen from direct I stopped to chat with Ludwig and Jannik Pertz who are very passionate about photography and I hope to find them in some other competition.
After the qualifications of the MTB the Scooter qualification started on fire, but halfway through the runs the weather got worse and started the showers that literally will close the contest, from now on indeed the sun will not spotted anymore.
The athletes took it well, disappointed not to be able to put on the show they came for, but Pro Freestyle is “smiling riding” and they have fully understood the spirit.
Athletes of all nationalities share everything for 3 days, in much more intimate way than in bigger and nobler competitions, but perhaps thanks to this they find themselves in ONE big family and the comparison between them is at the top, as well as the progress that each of them brings home from experiences like these.
I will never stop repeating it, if you are a rider that want to go Pro or just have fun, travel around, go to the comps, compare yourself and the growth will not be long in coming.
In closing let me thank again Venice Freestyle and Pro Freestyle, certain events also serve me to grow as a photographer and I met a fantastic family, which I hope to find again from 7 to 10 June 2019 for the edition the Hague!
Stay tuned on VFL