Just a few days after the successful German stop of the PKRA 2008 World Tour, the guys and gals of the only kiteboarding authority in the world are back in action. For the first time, the Tour is being hosted by Canada and will be held until September 13 at Green Shore Park, Summerside at Prince Edward Island.
This Tour stop is the only North American venue of the PKRA and is being participated in by professional kiteboarders from seventeen different countries who will be testing the wind and waves of the Canadian shores. The PKRA competition is part of the much larger Summerside International Festival of the Wind which is being held from the 9th until the 13th of September. The festival will also include a visit by tall ships from across the globe, a Round-The-Island race and the top class Summerside Roots Folk Music Festival giving the event an all-week-long showcase of kiteboarding action, fun and entertainment.
Today marks the debut of the PKRA 2008 World Tour in Canada with the men’s Freestyle out to test the Canadian waters first. The day started out nice, sunny and warm. However, fairly light wind prevailed for most of the day plus there was a low tide which prompted a series of postponements before the Freestyle. As the day wore on, the clouds moved in and so did some small rain showers towards the end of the day.
The mandatory skippers meeting started at 12:00 noon. At 2:00 pm, an opening ceremony was held at the park with the Minister of Tourism and other local government officials formally opening the event. After a few wind delays, the men’s Freestyle started at exactly 3:15 pm.
However, since the tide was out and there was no possibility of running the heats in front of the competition event, the game was moved 500 meters down the beach where there was more water plus given the wind direction, it was a more favourable spot.
The heats were run with only two people in the water (man on man) and the plan was to run the women’s heats afterwards but Mother Nature didn’t cooperate as forecasted. Heat #4b between Andy Yates (AUS) and Tour regular Madison Van Heurck (USVI) went first with the young talent from the US Virgin Islands taking the win with regular and switch tricks and some grab moves. The first round was ran in very good conditions although the wind was up and down the entire time. By the time heats 9 and 10 started, the wind became really light and marginal. Heat #10b was started but was quickly cancelled since the wind was too far below standards.
Race Director Erik Troostheide decided to move the competition back to the original location during the wind delay since the tide was moving back in and was possible to hold the competition once the wind picked up again. When the wind came back, heat 10B was started again through a few more heats to finish off the men’s second round. However, the women’s heats had to be postponed due to failing wind conditions.
In heat 10B, Aaron Hadlow (GBR) had an easy heat against Van Heurck with great switch moves while Van Heurck went for some grab moves but missed out on a few landings. Tom Hebert had a decent heat #12 with some solid switch powered moves.
In the last heat of the day, Kevin Langeree (NED) had a close heat against Mario Rodwald (GER) in a 3-2 decision. Rodwald landed some switch moves which gave him the edge but Langeree had more variation and with grabbed moves taking the win. Around the final heats, there were brief periods of rain that dampened the event site and the spectators on the beach but quickly cleared up by the end of the day.
The day was called off at 7:30 pm. The women’s first Freestyle round will open the event tomorrow at 6:30. PKRA officials are hoping to complete the singles and doubles since the wind forecast looks bleak for the rest of the week.
The PKRA 2008 World Tour stop in Canada is presented by PEI’s K-Rock 105.5, Ocean 100.3 FM and partly by Newcap Radio, The Pier Watersports, Sporting Intentions, Pepsi and Amp Energy, funded by the Prince Edward Island Department of Tourism and Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.
[Source: Kiteworldtour.com; Photos: Roberto Foresti/Canon]