KTE finals kick of with freestyle action in Swinemunde
The fifth and final tour stop for the Kitesurf Tour Europe is here in a fabulous new event location, Swinoujscie, on the Baltic Sea, Poland. A stunning long white beach greeted the riders as they gathered for registration this morning for the start of the event.
With events at new locations like Swinoujscie, it opens up the field for riders from more corners of Europe to get involved with the International competition scene. Sure enough there is a great turn out for this event, with 49 men and 13 women in total registered for freestyle, racing or both.
The morning looked promising with wind blowing cross off shore from the left of the beach. Briefing was held at midday by Swinoujscie officials, MarKus, head of the IKA, along with tips from our head judge. As the wind was strong enough the event kicked off with the Freestyle Single eliminations by 12.30.
The conditions grew increasingly variable as groups of clouds came over Swinoujscie beach during the first few heats, making kite size choice for riders very difficult. The men worked as hard as they could to perform as best they could in the testing conditions. In the first heat Jerrie Van de kop finished ahead of Johnno Scholte, Christophe Tack passed through to Tomek Janiak. Poland’s Lukasz Maciejewski and Mike Blomvall won their heat to Schueller and Luppi respectively.
From then on the wind was so up and down all afternoon with the weather fronts that the heat’s had to be stopped and started continually. This is both testing and tiring for the riders and tough on the nerves of the organization! The momentum kept slowing trucking on and they managed to run the first and majority of the second round of the men, along with the first round of the women.
As the afternoon progressed, Stefano Martinelli, Tijn Van Esch, Bram Bast, Mario Rodwald, Stefan Permien, Poland’s Tomek Daktera, Stefan Spiessberger, Marek Rowinski, Victor Borsuk, Poland’s Wojtek Issel and Alberto Rondina all progressed to the next round. Their ability to assess the conditions and adapt as the weather quickly changed paid off, as Rondina hung on to his 14m in gigantic squall as a cloud came over!
In the women’s first round, Kathrin Borgwardt won with some solid tricks against Sofia Lennartsson, Poland’s Michalina
Laskowska won to Czech’s Paula Novotna and Annie de Jong passed to the next round ahead of Nuria Goma.
As the wind continued to wane up and down, Tack, Blomvall, Martinelli, Rodwald, Permian and Daktera all got through to the last eight riders for the men before the wind totally subsided for the evening at around 7pm.
A long day was had by all but everyone was pleased that we could make use of the conditions and get the first rounds completed ready for the better forecast towards the weekend.