Day 2 – Fuerteventura PKRA Kiteboarding Grand Slam 2008
Sotavento, Fuerteventura – After a very successful kick-off games yesterday, PKRA’s Fuerteventura Kiteboarding Grand Slam 2008 moves on to its second day with yet another very windy day and another successful day of kiteboarding contests. Although there were a few lull moments during the morning at the start of the games, everything went on smoothly from 1:00 pm onwards as the wind averaged between 25 and 35 knots. The temperature went to a high of 23 degrees Celsius during the afternoon.
The mandatory skipper’s meeting was held on time at 10:30 am but there was some boat problems which delayed the start of today’s racing events but finally, a second boat was called in and the flags were delivered so the racing started around 12:30 pm. Two back-to-back races were immediately held after the race course was properly marked although in the second race, the wind was lighter which played some havoc at the top marks due to the strong current but the race went very well.
“All went pretty cool. We had a really big upwind leg like the one we had yesterday but it took 13 minutes for each rider to cross the finish line compared to 9 minutes yesterday. The race went smoothly without any protest,” says PKRA judge Carlos Saiz.
The competition then went into a short lunch break then started the Freestyle games with the ladies going out first since they didn’t get the chance to compete in yesterday’s opening events.
The competition wrapped up at 5:00 pm while tomorrows skipper’s meeting is set at 10:30 am with first possible start at 11:00 am.
Yesterday’s difficult conditions brought out some of the best among the PKRA athletes but proved too challenging for some, much like today’s windy conditions demanded extra efforts among the female competitors as proven by an upset heat of the opening salvo in the women’s Freestyle events. Heat #1 saw Naish rider and 3rd seeded Karolina Winkowska (POL) going down against teammate and 7th ranked Jalou Langeree (NED). Langeree stomped a raley to blind, krypt to surface pass, kiteloop, front to blind and vulcan to surface pass winning with higher technical difficulty and variety over Winkowska’s butt-checked blind judge.
Jo Wilson (GBR), another Naish rider then defeated Langeree in heat #5a with more moves and a higher technical difficulty score, landing a high handle pass, vulcan to surface pass, krypt to surface pass and raley to blind against Langeree’s flat 360.
ExtremeElements.tv host Susi Mai (GER) powered her way to win heat #6a using a Cabrinha kite, defeating North kiteboarder and local favorite Angela Peral (ESP) with huge front rolls with tail grabs and a raley to bind. In fairness, Peral worked hard for her butt-checked raley to blind but crashed several moves and had to concede to Mai’s cleaner moves.
Going over to the men’s heats, Mikael Blomvall (SWE) powered by a Nobile kite went up against Sebastien Garat (ESP) of Liquid Force in the 9th heat of the Freestyle singles. Garat was able to take advantage of the local conditions and landed more clean moves and performed more powered tricks, including a front mobe, blind judge with aerial handle pass, s-bend to blind, KGB, regular and switch slim, hasselhoff, shifty-360, late pass mobe and a front side 360. Blomball slightly struggled in the tough conditions but was able to land an s-bend to blind with aerial handle pass, front mobe, back to blind air pass, mobe and a blind judge. Also in the same heat, Alvaro Onieva (ESP) defeated Cabrinha’s Alberto Rondina (ITA) with more powered moves and a greater variety of tricks.
In the 10th heat, Cabrinha rider Petr Tyuskevich (RUS) lost to North’s Reno Romeu (BRA) after winning a heat in yesterday’s events. Petr landed a slim, s-bend to blind, hasselhoff, back to blind air pass, mobe and 313 but his moves were overshadowed by Romeu’s cleaner landings and bigger moves including a blind judge with aerial handle pass, his own back to blind air pass, front mobe to blind, shifty-360, slim, mobe 5 and front side 360. World champion and Flexifoil’s ace rider Aaron Hadlow (GBR) had more like a warm up heat against Airush’s Jo Ciastula (ESP) also in the same heat that proved to be a no contest as the young Spanish rider was no match for the world champion.
In the 11th heat games, Cesar Portas (ESP) powered his way one step up the ladder defeating Tom Hebert (New Caledonia) who was not in tune in this heat. Controlled by a North kite, Portas’ blind judge with aerial handle pass, front mobe, mobe, back side 180, mobe, blind judge and slim were the winning factors for the heat. Meanwhile, Sebastien Catellan (France) lost his Genetrix kite in the same heat against Naish rider Alex Pastor (ESP) giving Pastor a free run thru.
A close battle then ensued in the next heat with some nice moves from North Kiteboarding’s Tom Court (GBR) but with greater variety of moves and some cleaner switch moves from JN Kite’s Michael Schitzhofer (AUT) who took the win with a blind judge with aerial handle pass, shifty-360, regular and switch slim, hasselhoff and front to blind over Court’s mobe, blind judge, shifty-360 and front side with aerial handle pass. Again, proving the difficulty of the conditions, top ranked Kevin Langeree (NED) had a free pass into the next round powered by a Naish kite after Silvester Ruckdaschel (ESP) broke a leash and lost his Liquid Force kite in the waters.
Both rounds of the 13th heats were also tightly fought given the difficult conditions and leniency on landings. In a 3-2 decision, Garat managed to win by a narrow margin and was able to climb another step up against Onieva with greater power, more technical difficulty score and more variety of moves.
“I’m a little bit disappointed but that’s how it is. The judges with the most experienced gave the heat to me but the other judges probably they went for technical stuff,” lamented Onieva. He also talked about the day’s conditions, “The waves did not cause any problems. The wind is not bad this year and we have good swells which we can use for kickers which makes it more fun to ride in the waters.”
Meanwhile, Romeu really threw down everything he had on this heat in an attempt to beat Hadlow. A blind judge with aerial handle pass, front mobe, back to blind air pass, s-bend to blind with air pass, slim, mobe 5, front side 360, and a 313 were not enough though. Against Hadlow, an opponent really needs power and variety that few can do. Hadlow landed a blind judge, front mobe, s-bend to blind, back to blind air pass, blind judge with aerial handle pass with grab, regular and switch mobe, s-mobe, kite loop handle pass, slim, front side 5 and a hooked to unhooked kiteloop 360. With this technical variety and difficulty plus power, it would be extremely hard to move in against the world champion.
In the last heats, Portas crashed heavily after a huge kiteloop, tangling his kite lines and had to change kite in the process loosing precious seconds. He goes down to Pastor who landed a few more moves with greater variety, power and higher technical difficulty score.
Probably the best heat of the day was the final heat between Schitzhofer and Langeree. The Austrian rider was on the verge of an upset as the winds came in stronger and even gustier than earlier in the day. Landing powered moves fairly clean including a blind judge, front mobe, s-bend to blind, shifty-360, and slim, he had Langeree on the ropes who crashed several moves and got caught up each time he went for a trick with a huge gust or a lull. Landing a blind judge with aerial handle pass and 313 5 and having only a minute on the clock, the top ranked PKRA athlete had it all to do. Landing a hasselhoff, s-bend to blind, front side 360 and a huge late pass mobe, he narrowly took the win with more powered moves making it into the next round.
Course Racing Highlights
North Kiteboarding’s Charles Deleau (FRA) and Sean Farley (MEX) are still on the top two positions respectively regarding the men’s races with Deleau pretty much dominating today’s races once again. Best kiteboarding’s Sami Gali jumped one notch up after finishing 3rd and 2nd in today’s races. The biggest mover was Takoon’s Bruno Sroka (FRA) jumping from number 12 yesterday to number 4 after four races unseating North’s Dirk Hanel (GER) who dropped to 5th place with 13 points.
In the women’s division, Angela Peral (ESP) dropped to 4th place overall after being unable to finish today’s 2nd race giving Gina Esteva (ESP) to move one notch up the standings after finishing 3rd and 2nd in today’s two races. The top two spots are still being held by Fabienne D’Ortoli (FRA) and Steph Bridge (GBR) who won both of today’s races.
“Today was all about a lot of stuff. I think I pumped 6 kites by which time we started the race two hours late but I noticed a little bit of a non-event going on for the girls since there were only 4 or 5 girls there in the race and it’s not quite fun when there’s really 4 or 5 of us here. Fabienne is really going very fast when it’s windy. Gina is also doing well when it’s windy. Angela didn’t do so well today, she was on a twin-tip,” commented Bridge when interviewed by ExtremeElements.TV.
“I was the winner in the first race and then I kicked ass in the second race. I think I was powerful because I had the Rhino and I had a big board as well. I was really on a 9m but I probably needed to do a lot more,” continued Bridge before finishing the interview.
Race results after FOUR races:
1. Charles Deleau, 2.1 points
2. Sean Farley, 7 points
3. Sami Gali, 8 points
4. Bruno Sroka, 9 points
1. Fabienne D’Ortoli, 3.4 points
2. Steph Bridge, 3.4 points
3. Gina Esteva, 9 points
4. Angela Peral, 10 points